The Role of Service-Learning in Information Systems Education

Tana Feyt, Gwamaka Mwalemba
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 18  •  2021  •  pp. 103-119
Aim/Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore the role of service-learning in Information Systems (IS) education.

Background: While the use of modern technologies presents many operational benefits, such as the lowering of the costs, it may also aggravate social-economic is-sues. IS professionals should account for these issues as well as exhibit the skills demanded by modern-day employers. Hence, why there is a need for IS educators to adopt a new pedagogy that supports the development of more holistic and socially responsible IS graduates.

Methodology: In this qualitative exploratory case study, two IS service-learning courses at a South African university were studied. Interviews, course evaluations, and reflection essays were analyzed to gain insight into the implications that service-learning may have for students.

Contribution: This study contributes to IS education research by advancing discussions on the role of service-learning in providing learning outcomes such as the development of important skills in IS, civic-mindedness, and active participation in society.

Findings: The findings showed that the courses had different implications for students developing skills that are important in IS and becoming civic-minded due to the variation in their design and implementation.

Recommendations for Practitioners: It is recommended that IS educators present their courses in the form of service-learning with a careful selection of readings, projects, and reflection activities.

Recommendations for Researchers: IS education researchers are advised to conduct longitudinal studies to gain more insight into the long-term implications that service-learning may have for IS students.

Impact on Society: This paper provides insight into how IS students may gain social agency and a better understanding of their role in society.

Future Research: It is recommended that future research focus on mediating factors and the implications that service-learning may have for IS students in the long-term.
information systems, service-learning, education, reflection, critical thinking, social awareness, teamwork, community
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