Using Technology to Engage Business Students in Information Systems Education Dr. Craig K. Tyran Department of Decision Sciences College of Business and Economics Western Washington University CBE Teaching Scholarship Day October 26, 2007
Overview • Background • Business IS Education: Challenges • Educational Objectives • Teaching Approach • Example of Teaching Approach • Hands-on exercise • There will not be a test!
Background • My teaching area • Information systems (IS) • My students • General business undergrads and MBAs • IS concentration students • Two of my teaching goals for CBE students • Learn how to apply information technology to support people and organizations • Recognize the opportunities – and pitfalls – associated with the application of information technology in organizations
Good News in the E-Mailbox! • E-mail message from a former CBE student (working for a consulting firm): • “After looking over the mounds of data which were compiled on Excel sheets, I suggested to my project manager (who then passed it on to the partners) that we convert a lot of the data to an Access database. After I told them how easily the data could be transferred and manipulated through queries and reports, they were very pleased with my suggestion and want me to run with it. I'm confident I will be able to use the skills I've gained in my classes and can apply them successfully.” • Brian (Class of 2005) • Note: Brian was a “Management” student (Not an “Information Systems” student)
Business IS Education: Challenges with Students • Fear factor • “Uh oh, what do all those acronyms mean?” • “I’m not a nerd!” • Initial lack of interest • “I’ve never enjoyed computers” • Been there, done that • “I built my own PC. I learned Excel in 5th grade. I already know everything about IS.” • Need a teaching “game plan” to help overcome the challenges!!! Image from jimwcoleman.com
Educational Objectives • What can guide the game plan? • Identify educational objectives • Devise teaching approach to attain objectives • Match teaching techniques to objectives • “Bloom’s Taxonomy” of educational objectives (Bloom, et al., 1956) • Evaluation • Judge value of material • Synthesis • Put parts together to create something new • Analysis • Break a problem/situation into component parts • Application • Use learned material in new ways • Comprehension • Understand meaning • Knowledge • Recall, but no understanding High-level skills Low-level skills Image from http://sports.espn.go.com/media/pg2/2001/1113/photo/huddle_i.jpg
Use a Stepping-Stone Approach to Achieve the High-Level Educational Objectives Analyze an information system or IS strategy for enhancement, Design and create/synthesize an information system or strategy to support self/organization (e.g., decision making, communication), Evaluate quality Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation Apply understanding of information technology and/or IS concepts to support specific tasks / business objectives Application Understand and interpret the meaning of IS-related terms, concepts, functions Comprehension Recognize and recall IS-relatedterms, concepts, functions Knowledge
Teaching Approach: Use Technology to Facilitate Progression from Low to High-Level Educational Objectives Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation Teaching Case Analysis, Comprehensive Project, and/or Field Project Integrate Skills/Concepts “A” and “B” Application Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology Skill or Concept “A” Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology Skill or Concept “B” Comprehension Readings and Preparation Assignments Skill or Concept “A” Classroom Lecture Time Skill or Concept “A” Readings and Preparation Assignments Skill or Concept “B” Classroom Lecture Time Skill or Concept “B” Knowledge
Teaching Approach: Einstein’s Advice “Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.”Albert Einstein Image from http://johnstodderinexile.files.wordpress.com/2006/04/einstein.jpg
I’d Like You to Get a Feel for How This Works! • Classroom Example • Class scenario • Class topic • Example of how we use technology to support learning • Caveats • My knowledge of audience background is limited • Not much “teaching time” today • I’m used to building on past topics in the class • Nonetheless, let’s give it a try!
Example of Teaching Approach Topic: Enterprise 2.0 • Classroom scenario • MBA course: “Current Topics in Information Systems” • Students: Limited IS background • A class topic: Enterprise 2.0 • Dr. Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business School • “Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration” (MIT Sloan Mgmt Review, Spring 2006) • Developing into a hot issue • What is Enterprise 2.0? • Application of Web 2.0 tools within an enterprise to generate, share, and organize information • Huh ?! • Web 2.0 tools (“Social computing”) • Weblogs • Wikis • Social Networking • Social Bookmarking & Tagging • RSS Feeds & Newsreaders • Huh ?! • View: “Meet Charlie” slideshow by Scott Gavin (short version)
Example of Teaching Approach (cont.) Topic: Enterprise 2.0 Example learning objectives Gain an understanding of Enterprise 2.0 Develop an ability to apply selected E2.0 tools in the workplace Develop an ability to critically evaluate the opportunities and pitfalls for E2.0 in a specific workplace environment How to help students learn about this topic? Follow the teaching approach described earlier Use of technology plays a key role See figure
Teaching Approach: Use Technology to Facilitate Learning about Enterprise 2.0 Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation Teaching Case Analysis, Team-Based Comprehensive Project Integrate Skills/Concepts Application Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology Social Bookmarking & Tagging Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology RSS, Weblogs, Wikis Comprehension Readings and Preparation Assignments E2.0, Social Bookmarking & Tagging Classroom Lecture Time E2.0, Social Bookmarking & Tagging Readings and Preparation Assignments RSS, Weblogs, Wikis Classroom Lecture Time RSS, Weblogs, Wikis Knowledge
Example of Teaching Approach (cont.) Topic: Enterprise 2.0 Time for an in-class exercise! Focus on one type of tool: Social bookmarking del.icio.us Again: Very little “class time” for us today Goal: Provide a taste of how technology may be used to support learning of IS topics
In-Class Exercise • Twenty laptops are available • Do we need to share? • Login to a laptop • See instructions – Two parts to login process • Take a “virtual field trip” to del.icio.us • See handout • For the next few minutes, the instructor will serve as the “Guide on the Side” (not “Sage on the Stage”) • Need help? Let me know! • Discussion questions • Instructor’s comments
Discussion Questions: Social Bookmarking • What is a “tag”? And why are tags useful? • What does a “cloud” of tags show? • How does social bookmarking lead to an “emergent organizational structure” for information? • What is “social” about social bookmarking? • What are the benefits of the “social” aspect? • Can we leverage off one another’s discoveries? • Can we learn who is interested in similar topics? • Can we determine the current “hot” topics? • How to reap benefits?
Teaching Approach: • Instructor’s Reflections on Using Technology in the Classroom Applied Exercises o Customize to student group based on background survey o Useful to integrate into the classroom o “Virtual field trips” can be very effective o Students learn IS-related concepts (not just skills) through technology Instructor’s role o Recall Einstein quote Gift = Contents + Package o “Guide on the Side” (not “Sage on the Stage”) Students o Often are ready to run shortly after being taught to walk! Technology o Very useful to have a “portable computer lab” o At mercy of technology! Teaching Case Analysis, Comprehensive Project, and/or Field Project Integrate Skills/Concepts “A” and “B” Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology Skill or Concept “A” Applied Exercise(s) Using Technology Skill or Concept “B” Readings and Preparation Assignments Skill or Concept “A” Classroom Lecture Time Skill or Concept “A” Readings and Preparation Assignments Skill or Concept “B” Classroom Lecture Time Skill or Concept “B”
Wrap-Up • Questions ? • Thanks for Attending and for Supporting CBE’s Teaching Scholarship Day !!!