Technology Transfer - The Human Side of IT

Edward P. Holden
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
Information Technology (IT) is fundamentally a people business that involves integrating technology into human processes in order to solve problems and create new capacities. These integration skills are not often taught in undergraduate computing curricula. The Galisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has been offering a course in the diffusion of innovations for several years now and considers the communication needed to diffuse an innovation core to IT’s mission. The course, called Technology Transfer, is the study of the "flow" of technology from its creation through adoption to implementation and eventual effects. Our BS in Information Technology has one of the few courses that address these issues directly. Many students are skeptical of the reality of organizational life and fail to understand the way that change actually occurs. The course provides a framework by which students can interpret and understand their roles as change agents in the organization. This paper provides an overview of RIT's Technology Transfer course, explains its rationale within the curriculum and its contribution to professional practice. It also discusses some of the techniques used in teaching these skills. The paper concludes with feedback on the value of the course to our graduates.
Technology Transfer, Diffusion of Innovations, Innovation, Communication
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