Dynamic Information Systems in Higher Education

Dynamic Information Systems in Higher Education

Juha Kettunen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch058
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Abstract

The management of creative knowledge work presents great challenges in higher education, where individuals and information systems play a significant role in attaining the strategic objectives of a higher education institution (HEI). It is argued in this article that an analysis of the information systems (IS) of an organization using the concept of information environments (IE) activates the organization’s awareness of the development needs of intellectual capital and ISs. A classification of information environments is introduced, developed, and successfully applied to the core processes of an HEI. The purpose of this article is to show that the ISs can be classified according to the IEs and the core processes of an organization. An analysis of information environments helps the educational management to develop the institution’s information systems in an innovative way. In particular, dynamic ISs are analyzed for the purpose of managing the intellectual capital in HEIs. A case study on the E-Learning Unit at the Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) is presented. The findings of the study are useful for educational administrators, project managers, software developers, and usability specialists. The article is organized as follows: First, the IE approach, useful for analyzing an organization’s ISs, is introduced. Next, the concept of IEs is used to analyze the ISs used in the core internal processes of a HEI, which is the main focus of the article. Thereafter, a short case study of a dynamic IS is presented, including future trends. Finally, the results of the study are summarized and discussed in the concluding section.
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Introduction

The management of creative knowledge work presents great challenges in higher education, where individuals and information systems play a significant role in attaining the strategic objectives of a higher education institution (HEI). It is argued in this article that an analysis of the information systems (IS) of an organization using the concept of information environments (IE) activates the organization’s awareness of the development needs of intellectual capital and ISs. A classification of information environments is introduced, developed, and successfully applied to the core processes of an HEI.

The purpose of this article is to show that the ISs can be classified according to the IEs and the core processes of an organization. An analysis of information environments helps the educational management to develop the institution’s information systems in an innovative way. In particular, dynamic ISs are analyzed for the purpose of managing the intellectual capital in HEIs. A case study on the E-Learning Unit at the Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) is presented. The findings of the study are useful for educational administrators, project managers, software developers, and usability specialists.

The article is organized as follows: First, the IE approach, useful for analyzing an organization’s ISs, is introduced. Next, the concept of IEs is used to analyze the ISs used in the core internal processes of a HEI, which is the main focus of the article. Thereafter, a short case study of a dynamic IS is presented, including future trends. Finally, the results of the study are summarized and discussed in the concluding section.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Management Information System (MIS): A proper management information system presupposes modeling the entire management process and tailoring all necessary components of the information technology support system to meet the needs of the organization. The management information system should include a description of strategic objectives and of measures to achieve them.

Dynamic Information Environment: The virtual surface of the organization for links to the world outside. The main idea of the dynamic information environments is a strategic awareness of the possibilities of virtual learning, interaction, and communication.

Higher Education Institution (HIE): Higher education institutions include traditional universities and profession-oriented institutions, in Finland called universities of applied sciences or polytechnics.

Knowledge Management (KM): A term applied to techniques used for the systematic collection, transfer, security, and management of information within organizations, along with systems designed to assist the optimal use of that knowledge.

Information Environment (IE): A mechanical, organic, or dynamic area of information management consisting of different interrelated and/or isolated information systems.

Social Capital: The social relations between individuals in the organization establish the basis of the social capital of the organization.

Information System (IS): A system, whether automated or manual, comprising people, machines, and/or methods organized to collect, process, transmit, and disseminate data that represent user information.

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