Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Online IS Education for the 21st Century

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Online IS Education for the 21st Century

Article excerpt


Online learning has become an important way to deliver courses in higher education. According to a recent SLOAN-C annual report (Allen and Seaman, 2013), over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course and 32% of current higher education students have taken at least one course online. Furthermore, over 69% of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy (Allen and Seaman, 2013).

In the area of information systems, more and more information systems (IS), information technology (IT), and Management Information Systems (MIS) (collectively referred to as IS/IT) programs in the world are offering online courses to their students. About 14 year ago only 2 online programs existed that did not have a campus attendance requirement. At that time email was the primary communication method that was supplemented with web sites, electronic bulletin boards, web boards, listservs, and chat rooms. (Reif and Kruck, 2010). A current internet search indicates that many universities (such as Washington State University and Oklahoma State University) are offering their IS/IT programs completely through online formats. These online programs offer IS/IT students the opportunity to earn degrees without having to come to the physical university campus location (Chong, et al., 2012; He and Yen, 2014).

As online learning becomes more prevalent and higher educational institutions continue to expand their online programs, more and more educators and organizations have become concerned with the quality of online courses (Abdous, 2010; Rovai and Downey, 2010; Yang, 2010). In 2007, the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) had recognized the growing importance of distance learning, in particular online courses and programs in business schools and had formed a task force to develop guidelines. Currently, one of the items they look closely at during their accreditation visit is if the school has adequate financial resources to provide technology support for students and faculty appropriate to its online programs (AACSB, 2013).

Designing, developing, teaching, and assessing an online IS/IT course effectively is often a challenge. Many IS/IT instructors are new to online teaching and need orientation and training for their own readiness in designing, developing, teaching, and assessing IS/IT courses. It is recognized that effective faculty are key to student success in online courses and to the success of online programs (Meyer and Jones, 2012). Therefore, it is imperative that instructors and administrators in schools of information systems learn more of the best practices and issues of designing, developing, teaching, and assessing online IS courses and programs.


As more and more administrators and instructors are interested in developing and delivering online courses or programs, the awareness of the quality of online learning is getting more and more important. There are substantial concerns with the quality of online education compared with face-to-face classes (Abdous, 2010; Rovai and Downey, 2010; Yang, 2010).

Jahng, Krug and Zhang (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of student achievement comparison-related research and did not find any significant difference between online courses and face-to-face courses in terms of student achievement. Larson and Sung (2009) assessed the effect of three delivery methods (i.e., face-to-face, blended, and online) on student grades in an introductory MIS course taught by the same instructor. They found that student grades were not significantly different across the three delivery modes. Carrol and Burke (2010) compared the final exam and course evaluations of two sections of an MBA course: an online section and a face-to-face section. They only found trivial differences in the final exam scores and student course evaluations. …

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