Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Enterprise Architecture Specification Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Enterprise Architecture Specification Case Study

Article excerpt


Developing enterprise architecture (EA) specifications for an enterprise is a non-trivial task, especially in the ever changing business and technology environment of today. In the case of health care organizations the complexity of their business operations have escalated as new legislation has been introduced, and there is increasing demand for improved quality of health care services including Medicare services, and reduction in health care expenditure. Health care organizations are also challenged by their competitors, and must leverage all their assets to survive and prosper. Emerging information technologies offer opportunities to achieve such goals, but there are also significant challenges such as disparate systems in use, concerns such as ease-of-use, transparency, accountability and security, to name a few.

Project-Based Learning (PBL) engages students to apply academic knowledge to applications in the real world. It has been found that PBL stimulates student learning by using acquired knowledge for applied learning (Rivet & Krajcik, 2004; Steenkamp, White & Kakish, 2002). Team based student projects have become common in coursework in the field of Information Technology (IT), as reported by many authors including Meyer (2005) and Stephens (2001). In a literature survey of student team effectiveness Stephens (2001) has found that there is a need for effective teamwork management in the academic context. A standards-based approach to team projects has been followed by the senior author over many years, where teams are informed by international standards and best practices in IT projects.

In this paper a case study format was used, after Cappel and Schwager (2002), to report on experience in a team project for a graduate course in enterprise architecture (EA), and falls in the category of a project-based case. For background, the goal of the graduate course was to provide a comprehensive perspective of enterprise architecture within the context of the global business environment of a competitive enterprise. Intended outcomes for the course were that students are able to

* Identify, interpret and adopt the best practices in the field of IT architecture design and deployment as promoted by international standards organizations.

* Lead and manage the process of IT architecture design within the organization.

* Participate in architecture design project as lead designer.

* Define the viewpoints and views relevant to stakeholders, and design models of the enterprise architecture.

The course was offered in blended mode of delivery requiring that teaching and collaboration be done in both face-to-face and virtual modes. The pedagogy was designed to incorporate various didactical methods suited to the adult learner, and requiring higher-order cognitive skills such as the application of concepts and theories, analysis of the business case, synthesis of concerns and principles as relevant for the deliverables of the project, and evaluation of alternative models (Bloom et al., 1956). The pedagogy also recognizes the importance of problem solving and interpersonal skills and communication that are valued by academia and practice alike (Tang et al., 2001). The course started with covering the theory and best practices of EA, during which students executed individual home assignments as part of the course requirements. Orientation was provided for these assignments and detailed feedback on student papers followed after grading them. Part of the course involved an industry sponsored team project which commenced after a substantial part of the EA syllabus had been covered. The team project exposed students to a real-world situation, challenges and concerns and a "learn by doing" experience. Team members were required to collaborate in various roles relating to the architecture process, starting with the interpretation of the business case, the project charter and project requirements. …

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