Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Using a Wiki to Collaborate on a Study Guide

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Using a Wiki to Collaborate on a Study Guide

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

An introductory Management Information Systems class is taught at many institutions as a required course for all business students. The course serves many purposes, including serving other majors, and introducing Information Systems students to the major. Recent textbooks for this course contain concepts on collaboration as a way to work and Web 2.0 as a set of technologies. In class, collaboration is introduced as individuals working together and building on each other's work to produce a useful result, or as the old adage puts it "two heads are better than one." However, the definition of Web 2.0 varies but it generally refers to using the web as a platform "harnessing collective intelligence" (O'Reilly, 2005.) The concept includes services that improve with more users such as Wikis and Blogs.

1.1 The Setting

In a university in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the introductory Management Information Systems course is taught primarily to sophomores and freshmen in the college of business. The course contains a lecture component as well as a technology component. The lecture component is a broad survey of the information systems field including organization information systems, hardware, software, competing using information systems, and systems development.

The course is taught by many professors in many sections. The course has shared objectives across all professors and sections. These objectives are in the form "by the end of the semester, the student will be able to ..." with detailed objectives ranging from "Create a database using a relational DBMS such as Access. Demonstrate the ability to create reports, queries and join three tables in the DBMS" to "Explain the difference between data and information" or "Be able to apply Porter's Five Forces Model."

1.2 Collaboration as an objective of the course

For several years, the course included an objective for students to be able to create a simple webpage using a tool such as FrontPage. In the last few years, that objective was removed and we debated what technology should replace it. Faculty members experimented with various technologies including wikis, blogs, project management software, and some simple programming. In the 2008-2009 academic year, the decision was made to include a collaboration objective which has two parts:

1. Understand what collaboration is and why it's done

2. Be able to use technology to collaborate

There are many reasons why collaboration was chosen as an objective for this class. First, the premier business school accreditation association, AACSB, requires business faculty members to encourage collaboration among students and to help students develop skills in collaboration (AACSB, 2009.) As a reflection of this, our college of business has a core learning objective that students can work cooperatively in teams. We suggested that the introductory Management Information Systems class be used to teach team collaboration using technology tools. Similarly, many Information Systems programs, including ours, seek accreditation from ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. ABET requires that students "demonstrate an ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal," (ABET 2009-2010, p. 5.) This program chose to introduce the team work concept in the introductory course.

A second motivation for adopting collaboration as an objective was part of a general move from the traditional teacher-centered educational philosophy to a more learner-centered philosophy. In the learner-centered philosophy, students' internal motivation to learn is tapped by giving them more control over how they learn and more of a role in constructing their knowledge (Weimer, 2002.) Weimer identified five key changes that must take place in the move to learner-centered education. The two changes relevant for this study are:

* The role of the teacher must change. …

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