Introductory Information Systems Course Redesign: Better Preparing Business Students

Gina Harden, Robert M. Crocker, Kelly Noe
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 17  •  2018  •  pp. 113-126

The dynamic nature of the information systems (IS) field presents educators with the perpetual challenge of keeping course offerings current and relevant. This paper describes the process at a College of Business (COB) to redesign the introductory IS course to better prepare students for advanced business classes and equip them with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills demanded in today’s workplace.

The course was previously in the Computer Science (CSC) Department, itself within the COB. However, an administrative restructuring resulted in the CSC department’s removal from the COB and left the core course in limbo.

This paper presents a case study using focus groups with students, faculty, and advisory council members to assess the value of the traditional introductory course. A survey was distributed to students after implementation of the newly developed course to assess the reception of the course.

This paper provides an outline of the decision-making process leading to the course redesign of the introductory IS course, including the context and the process of a new course development. Practical suggestions for implementing and teaching an introductory IS course in a business school are given.

Focus group assessment revealed that stakeholders rated the existing introductory IS course of minimal value as students progressed through the COB program, and even less upon entering the workforce. The findings indicated a complete overhaul of the course was required.

The subject of technology sometimes requires more than a simple update to the curriculum. When signs point to the need for a complete overhaul, this paper gives practical guidance supplemented with relevant literature for other academicians to follow.

Students are faced with increasing pressure to be proficient with the latest technology, in both the classroom where educators are trying to prepare them for the modern workplace, as well as the organization which faces an even greater pressure to leverage the latest technology. The newly designed introductory IS course provides students, and eventually organizations, a better measure of this proficiency.

Future research on the efficacy of this new course design should include longitudinal data to determine the impact on graduates, and eventually the assessment of those graduates’ performance in the workplace.

curriculum design, course development, IS core course, technology
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