Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

An Examination of the Introductory MIS Course

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

An Examination of the Introductory MIS Course

Article excerpt


The introductory management information system (MIS) course is a business core course for all business majors at most business schools (Ives et al., 2002). It is a common phenomenon for this course to have multiple sections taught by a mixed group of instructors each semester, including tenure track faculty, full-time visiting instructors, and part-time visiting instructors. The course syllabi and assessment instruments used by individual instructors are often highly diversified. Consistent pedagogy, uniform assessment, and coordination among multiple sections of this course often do not exist (Foltz, O'Hara, & Wise 2004). The lack of consistency across all sections diminishes students' learning potential and fritters away faculty resources (Stephens & O'Hara, 2001). Because of the constraints of the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) curriculum structure (AACSB, 2007), this course is usually the only required MIS course for business majors in most business schools. To improve the overall teaching-learning quality and coordinate multiple sections of this course, a comprehensive pedagogical design and methodical assessment are needed to engage students in active learning.

This paper reports an analysis of the topics and learning outcomes of the introductory MIS course. It presents a design of the modules that unify the teaching-learning approaches, and proposes an assessment scheme for this course.

Literature Survey

There has been a wealth of papers on MIS education in general. Forty prominent MIS scholars (Ives et al., 2002) strongly express their opinions on the importance of information technology literacy in the business education. Noll and Wilkins (2002) have developed an IS curriculum development model based on the IS professional skill requirements. Johnson, Bartholomew, and Miller (2006) conclude that improving computer literacy of business majors is crucial for the success of business education.

These general discussions have raised issues of pedagogical design and assessment for the introductory MIS course (Stephens & O'Hara, 2001). In addressing the pedagogical design, Holmes (2003) suggests that, given the mixed majors in the class, the instructor must focus on the students' needs and opinions during the entire course. Student surveys could be useful for the instructor to adapt class dynamics through soliciting students' input. Sirias (2002, 2005) recommends that writing MIS mini-cases, or analyzing mini-cases with conflict resolution components, can enhance cooperative learning for students with different expectations and levels of knowledge related to MIS. Grenci (2005) proposes a system development life cycle based framework of teaching e-commerce in their introductory MIS course. Mukherjee (2005) uses class exercises to magnify student interest in the introductory MIS course. In addressing the assessment methods for this course, Wehrs (2002) provides the interesting field experiment result that cooperative learning has a pervasive negative effect on individual student learning outcomes in their introductory MIS course. It raises a warning sign for instructors of the introductory MIS course that cooperative learning does not automatically improve student learning outcomes.

Surprisingly, regardless of the commonality and importance of this course in business education and the rich literature about information technology education for business majors, few articles in the literature have discussed integrated pedagogy and assessment design beyond teaching techniques for this course.

In summary, the literature survey indicates that teaching of the introductory MIS course for all business majors is a demanding and challenging task. While a few papers provide specific teaching techniques and suggestions for this course, the literature on systematic design of the pedagogy and assessment schemes for this course is virtually unfilled. …

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