Information Systems Education for the 21st Century: Aligning Curriculum Content and Delivery with the Professional Workplace

Information Systems Education for the 21st Century: Aligning Curriculum Content and Delivery with the Professional Workplace

Glenn Lowry (United Arab Emirates University, UAE) and Rodney Turner (Victoria University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-479-8.ch013
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Abstract

In this chapter, we consider how information systems educators might revise curriculum content and adopt student-centered/active learning pedagogical approaches to achieve a better fit between the workplace and the university ‘studyplace’. In considering What to Study, numerous research findings suggest a repertoire of ‘soft’ skills that are seen as essential to success for new IS professionals. The research findings discussed in this chapter present evidence that traditional business subjects such as Marketing, Economics, or Finance do not equate to the ‘other’ or soft business skills that employers of IS graduates are seeking in new hires. Soft skills are cultivated elements of professionalism that derive from example, reflection, imitation, and refinement of attitudes, personal capabilities, work habits, and interpersonal skills. Soft skills are seldom taught in dedicated subjects in tertiary information systems curricula. Somehow, the soft areas such as teamwork, communication skills, ability to accept direction, and others are expected to be picked up along the way through an unspecified, osmotic process. Turning to How to Study, a critical and contentious issue is determining the appropriate learning environment to best help new graduates develop soft skills and higher order thinking. Course delivery paradigms may be characterized as traditional, passive ‘teacher-centered learning’ and active ‘student-centered learning’. We argue that student-centered/active learning approaches may be more effective in helping students to cultivate and refine soft skills than those currently in use. The chapter concludes with a discussion of IS curriculum reform issues and strategies for reducing confusion, overcoming tradition and inertia, finding resources, and neutralizing vested interests, to meet the educational needs of students.

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