Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

The Systems Analysis and Design Course: An Educators' Assessment of the Importance and Coverage of Topics

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

The Systems Analysis and Design Course: An Educators' Assessment of the Importance and Coverage of Topics

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

A Management Information Systems (MIS) curriculum should reflect the needs and expectations of industry, as this helps to ensure that students are adequately prepared for their employment. It is often quite difficult, however, to achieve this (Anandarajan and Lippert, 2006; Tang, Lee, and Koh, 2000). The "IS 2010 Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Programs in Information Systems," established by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Association for Information Systems (AIS), are designed to help with this alignment (Topi et al., 2010). The IS 2010 guidelines represent numerous perspectives of faculty and practitioners alike. Furthermore, they are developed with careful consideration of industry requirements and an understanding of organizational needs and expectations. Importantly, the IS 2010 Curriculum Guidelines identify the Systems Analysis and Design (SAD) course as a core in an MIS undergraduate curriculum Topi et al, 2010). Indeed, the suggested catalog description provided within the IS 2010 guidelines (Topi et al, 2010), shown below, amplifies the significance of the SAD course:

   This course discusses the processes, methods,
   techniques and tools that organizations use to
   determine how they should conduct their business,
   with a particular focus on how computer-based
   technologies can most effectively contribute to the
   way business is organized. The course covers a
   systematic methodology for analyzing a business
   problem or opportunity, determining what role, if
   any, computer-based technologies can play in
   addressing the business need, articulating business
   requirements for the technology solution,
   specifying alternative approaches to acquiring the
   technology capabilities needed to address the
   business requirements, and specifying the
   requirements for the information systems solution
   in particular, in-house development, development
   from third-party providers, or purchased
   commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) packages (p. 48)

In addition, employment projections are seemingly reflective of the importance of systems analysis and design.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), employment of systems analysts is projected to grow significantly between 2008 and 2018 as compared to the average growth of all other occupations. In fact, employment of systems analysts is projected to increase by 20% during this time frame. As more advanced technologies continue to emerge and as increasing numbers of organizations seek to embrace these new innovations, the demand for these workers is expected to continue rising (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). It is necessary for IS professionals, and those training to become practitioners, to understand the complexities and uncertainties that exist in the utilization of these new technologies and applications for systems development. Thus, it is important for MIS students to have a good understanding of the systems development process, with sufficient knowledge of various methodologies, strategies, and techniques pertaining thereto.

What topics should be the focus in the SAD course? Presumably this question is important to those who teach the SAD course, as well as those who ultimately hire MIS graduates. This study examines instructors' perceptions regarding the skills and topics that are most important in the teaching of a Systems Analysis and Design course and the amount of class time devoted to each of the more traditional areas. This is an important step in determining if educational objectives related to SAD are in line with current industry needs. This paper begins with describing the motivation for the study, reviewing the literature on this topic, and presenting the research questions. The analysis, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations for future research follow.

2. MOTIVATION FOR STUDY

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Information Systems professionals seem to express more of an interest in using object-oriented modeling and analysis in the workplace. …

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