Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

A Curriculum Model Based on the SIGITE Guidelines

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

A Curriculum Model Based on the SIGITE Guidelines

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper describes a process for developing an outcome based objectives model (Helps, Lunt, & Anthony, 2005) for implementing an undergraduate computer information technology (CIT) curriculum. Outcome based objectives are an integral part of the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation guidelines. The literature supporting information technology education (Aasheim, Lee, & Reichgelt, 2005; Dark, Ekstrom, & Lunt, 2005; Hazem et al., 2004; Said et al., 2004; Stockman, Chaytor, et al., 2004; Stockman, Christopherson, Said, & Nyland, 2004) and supporting using outcome based objectives (Abernethy, Treu, Piegari, & Reichgelt, 2005; Longenecker Jr. & Feinstein, 2005) to define the graduating student, then the specific requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) of the student's primary focus area. A graduate of the program should have specific sets of KSA's spread across the curricula.

Utilization of this process model allows the specific academic unit (department, school, discipline) to easily identify and address accreditation goals. We first decide what skills the students will need for a given program, which, in turn, defines the specialization for the discipline. Courses are developed within the specialization to teach the specific skills. The implementation is a matter of selecting the appropriate courses within the specialization that teach the desired skill set for the discipline. Designing a program is the last step in the process since the idea is to provide a flexible framework around which an individually tailored student major can be customized.

The Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education (SIGITE) is an accreditation development group comprised of academics, professionals, and industry within the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) who are responsible for creating the guidelines and requirements contained in the Information Technology Education volume. For those readers who are aware of CC2001 ("Computing curricula 2001", 2001) and previous volumes of the Computer Science education accreditation guidelines this is a similar effort on the part of SIGITE. The process of creating the SIGITE guidelines are integral to a larger effort to update all of the volumes of engineering and technology education (Shackelford et al., 2004). When completed these guidelines will be accepted and utilized by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) for accrediting programs.

The concept behind an outcome based objectives curriculum model is analogous to reading a story backwards. You end up defining the conclusion before constructing the plot. Based on the requirements of "what must be accomplished" we define what must be taught. Stepping sequentially through the process, a story of what a student needs as KSA's emerges.

The Curriculum Development Process

The process (see Figure 1) of creating the curriculum included meeting with specific industry subject matter experts, and reviewing the needs assessment of those industry experts and hiring agencies. Specific requirements for hiring graduates of the program were assessed by the industry panelists and cross referenced with the SIGITE knowledge areas. These diverse groups became the stake holders for the curriculum project. These knowledge areas were then adopted and incorporated into the curricula (Lawson, Lidtke, & Price, 2004). Where appropriate current courses were adapted, or modified to create a seamless adoption of the curriculum. However, where required, new courses were created to satisfy the needs of the stake holders.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Each of the outcome based learning objectives of the courses was processed for level of skill based on the Bloom Taxonomy (Anderson, Krathwohl, & Bloom, 2001; Bloom, Krathwohl, Masia, & Emgelhart, 1956) for education. The objectives were then looked at for areas of expertise as applied to the individual curricula guidelines. …

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