Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Integrating Research and Teaching in the IS Classroom: Benefits for Teachers and Students

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Integrating Research and Teaching in the IS Classroom: Benefits for Teachers and Students

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The nexus between research and teaching has been drawing the attention of academics from a range of scientific fields. The ways in which research could enrich the learning experience has been extensively debated (Barnett, 2005; Brew, 2001, 2006; Jenkins et al., 2003; Kreber, 2006). Nevertheless, there is an overwhelming consensus among the academic community that such an instructional approach could have multiple benefits for both the educator and the student. Research from various disciplines has over time contributed to an extensive and ongoing discourse on this topic, ranging from motivational aspects of educators and students, to particular tools and methods that facilitate research-driven education. Arguably, creating an effective nexus between research and teaching in the classroom can be more challenging for rapidly changing domains. Information Systems (IS), being at the intersection of technology, business, and management, is greatly affected by the waves of scientific and technological innovation. This creates a twofold challenge for the IS academics that have to play both the roles of researchers and educators.

First, similar to many other domains, teaching in IS has been affected by emerging and innovative pedagogies. Technological and instructional advancements have contributed greatly to the development of new types of education in formal (e.g., universities), informal (e.g., open courses), and non-formal (e.g., social networks) settings (Schroeder et al., 2010). Massive open online courses (MOOCs) that extend the typical classroom to a wide audience (Saadatdoost et al., 2015) and flipped classroom approaches that deliver the instructional material outside the classroom hours (Mok, 2014) are only two examples that have spread across the educational landscape recently. Similarly, service-learning approaches provide the opportunity for the students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings (Lee, 2012). The rise of social media has also affected learning and gave birth to a new category of learning paradigms. McLoughlin and Alam (2014) explore the potential of Pedagogy 2.0 in scaffolding students in Social Informatics. IS educators, bound by the nature of their field, have to stay on top of these developments, while ensuring the quality of student learning.

Second, in relation to IS curricula, the rise of the digital society, characterized by ubiquitous connectedness and new forms of technological interaction, often pushes the boundaries of established IS teaching plans (Dreher et al., 2009; Harris and Rea, 2009). Working in academic environments in which resources (structural, organizational, financial, etc.) are often limited, IS educators experience the need to carefully design curricula including both introductory domain knowledge as well as recent research breakthroughs. Moreover, as digital innovations follow a more rapid, often disruptive pattern, IS educators face increased risks of falling behind current advancements (Fichman et al., 2014, Obwegeser and Bauer, 2016). The potential benefits of integrating research activities and findings into higher education courses is increasingly attracting the attention of academics. In this paper, we aim to build on this growing volume of literature in order to inform the research-driven design of IS education. Doing so holds the promise to support both aforementioned challenges, by integration of contemporary research outputs to stay connected with on-going developments, as well as by active engagement and discussion of research processes and problems.

The remainder of this article is structured as follows. First, we introduce the reader to the state-of-the-art of the ongoing scientific debate on the link between research and teaching in higher education. Second, in order to apply the theoretical approach into practice, we present a case study of a graduate IS course to propose a course design that integrates teaching and research to a high degree. …

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