Design and Delivery of an Online Information Systems Management Course for MBA Programs

Xihui "Paul" Zhang, Ming Wang, M. Shane Banks, Qiunan Zhang, Colin G. Onita
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 19  •  2020  •  pp. 047-074

In this paper, we present our experience in design and delivery of a graduate Information Systems Management (ISM) course in an online MBA program. Also presented are a detailed examination of the design and delivery of the online course, survey results of students’ perceptions and backgrounds, course evaluation results, best practices and lessons learned, and potential changes and future actions.

This graduate ISM course needs to not only cover a broad range of dynamic technology and business topics, but also strike a balance between the width and depth of the content. Effective course design and delivery are critical to improved teaching and learning, especially when the course is delivered online.

We provided a comprehensive review of the related literature to develop guidelines for the design and delivery of our ISM course; we collected survey data to evaluate the students’ backgrounds and their perceptions of the course; we used data analysis and content analysis methods to assess the course evaluation results.

A review of the related literature indicates that IS researchers and educators have not adequately studied online graduate education. Given the importance of the graduate ISM course in most MBA programs, and the lack of attention from the IS community, it is critical to address this gap in the research. We believe we have done so with this paper.

The paper’s major findings are embedded in a detailed examination of the design and delivery of the online course, survey results of students’ perceptions and backgrounds, course evaluation results, best practices and lessons learned, and potential changes and future actions.

Even though our experience may not be fully applicable to other institutions, we hope our IS colleagues can learn from the design and delivery of this online course, as well as our best practices and lessons learned to improve the teaching and learning effectiveness in IS online graduate education, in general. Furthermore, we provide instructors with an actionable framework onto which they can map their current course offering, and compare their current pedagogical offering to literature driven best practices for ISM courses, in particular.

It is our hope that the design and delivery of this online course, and our best practices and lessons learned can inspire our IS colleagues to search for innovative ways to improve the teaching and learning effectiveness in IS online graduate education. In addition, we distill a literature driven framework for ISM courses design and delivery that can help researchers frame their pedagogical research questions.

The online course in this study prepares students for more efficiently and effectively delivering IT systems in organizations. Many MBA students work for non-profits and other socially-focused organizations and are able to use the skills learned in the course for the betterment of society.

We will continue to monitor the impact of the changes on student learning effectiveness and attempt to identify additional innovative ways to improve the design and delivery of this online ISM course.

course design and delivery, information systems management course, MBA program, online education
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