Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Using Web Technology to Teach Students about Their Digital World

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Using Web Technology to Teach Students about Their Digital World

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

In the Spring of 2008, The College of New Jersey awarded a grant to our team to develop an interactive and collaborative learning environment for business students enrolled in our Management Information Technology (MIT) courses. This grant provided funding for student services from our Interactive Multimedia program and assistance from the User Support Service (USS) department to help with building a blog that took advantage of Web 2.0 technology. This technology not only allowed us to create an environment where students could learn about cyberspace and its potential effects on them but also allowed our students to influence their peers and shape the culture they lived in.

The Website provided our students with articles that were written by our team of faculty, staff, and students, as well as videos and links to outside stories about Cyberspace and the social issues surrounding it. We centered our discussion on a series of six broad topics that focused on how people could affect change through the Internet or be affected by the changes the Internet created. While reading articles or watching videos on the site, students were able to rate articles and comment on them. Students were also able to respond to their peers' comments by providing responses to these comments and/or by giving them a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" rating. Students answered polls to gain insights to how their Internet activities compared to their peers, they were asked to contribute articles and/or ideas and to share with us their thoughts about how technology should and should not be used in our culture.

This article will describe our vision for this interactive learning environment built on Web 2.0 technology. We will discuss the process we undertook to develop it, the technology we employed, the implementation and assessment process, and, some of our initial findings regarding student feedback and student learning. We will also share some of the lessons we learned along the way and our strategy for the second phase of this project.

2. DEVELOPING AN INTERACTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

2.1 The Vision

It has never been more important to teach students about ethics, security, and responsibility relating to our digital world; not only for their sakes, but for the safety of our own communities. Without knowledge and good IT practices, we leave our systems and the systems we work with open to threats. Our college and our accrediting agency are recognizing the potential of these threats. In addition, we can't open a paper or turn on a news station without learning about some imminent threat to the Internet, our personal computers, or some organization.

Our team believes that we need to develop responsible citizens; those who can work and play sensibly in the cyberspaces we have created. Our vision was to build a Website to address this educational need in a manner that is interesting, self-perpetuating, and cost efficient. In addition, we needed to support the accreditation efforts of our school.

2.1.1 The Accreditation Need: The School of Business requires that we develop socially responsible citizens who are able to assume positions of leadership in a complex and technological world (The School of Business, 2008). This mission is aligned with TCNJ's core beliefs, which states that "we prepare our students to be successful, ethical, and visionary leaders in a multicultural, highly technological, and increasingly global world" (The College of New Jersey, 2008). We also support the school's efforts to maintain accreditation through AACSB by not only teaching our students how to use technology but also teaching them how technology may affect the world we work in (AACSB International, 2008). We address these ideals in our MIT core courses by teaching students some of the ethical behaviors that are expected of them in both their professional and educational careers. Finally, a secondary, but equally important, benefit of teaching students about ethics, security, and responsibility with technology is that we support the efforts of our IT department to secure campus resources. …

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