Engaging Information Systems Students in a Practicum-Based Project: Employers' Perceptions and Comparison

Engaging Information Systems Students in a Practicum-Based Project: Employers' Perceptions and Comparison

I. Lavy (Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley College, Israel) and R. Rashkovits (Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley College, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2019010105

Abstract

This article presents the research related to the work integrated learning (WIL) model. The objectives were to explore their characteristics and the techniques associated with them. The focus is models linked to the IT industry or IT department in non-IT industries. A systematic literature review (SLR) was applied as the methodology. The authors collected data reported from 2006 to 2016 from eight databases. There were 24 articles which matched their search criteria. The WIL models reported can be separated into four groups. The two key features are activities created by universities, and activities offered by industry. The model techniques are knowledge, methods, and tools for acquiring research problems and developing solutions. The authors found that the models offered are very broad and need to be narrowed down so that prospective careers and the needs of the digital workforce are prioritized. They suggest future trends in WIL models in the digital economy.
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Theoretical Background

This paper presents a brief theoretical background on preparing IS students for vocational careers during academic studies and on industry practicum for IS students.

Preparing IS Students for Vocational Career During Academic Studies

Technical and non-technical skills are key factors in developing successful career in the IS field (Gillard, 2009; Cappel, 2002). During their academic studies, IS students study various courses concerning applied computing and business, and are supposed to be able to identify and analyze problems, design solutions, and implement these designs into a working application (Bishop-Clark, 1995; Lunt et al.,2008). Also, due to the rapid new development in the computing discipline students are expected to learn and apply new technologies with minimal assistance. Furthermore, they have to be able to work as part of a team, as computer applications have become too complex for one programmer to deal with (Hazzan & Kramer, 2007). IS workers who facilitate business activities by introducing and operating information systems, have to possess, in addition to technical skills, oral and writing skills in order to better communicate with peers, users, managers and other stakeholders (Silva, et al., 2016; Sanahuja Ve´lez & Ribes Giner, 2015; Virolainen et al., 2011; Gorgone, et al., 2003; Capretz & Ahmed, 2010). Moreover, the graduates are expected to organize their work efficiently and provide proved products under time constraints and budget limitations (Lilienthal et al., 2005).

One of the activities during a workshop course, in the college where this research took place, includes the specification and the development of a small information system. The instructor “plays” the customer’s role and the teams have to communicate with him to analyze and design the solution, and to present the developed system. Via the course activities, the students have the opportunity to develop oral and writing skills for the communication with their peers. Though the simulation provides the students with a glance of software development in a real work place, it cannot be considered as a substitute to continual experience in the industry.

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