Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Synergistic Strategy for MIS Curriculum Development: Response to Rapidly Advancing Information Technology

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Synergistic Strategy for MIS Curriculum Development: Response to Rapidly Advancing Information Technology

Article excerpt

Training and education of Information Systems (IS) professionals by both business organizations and educational institutions are critical in the pervasive Information Technology (IT) advances and utilization by end users. Due to rapid changes in IT, educational institutions have to constantly upgrade their training for providing appropriate education to their graduating students who along with their employers will be the end users of IT. It also makes these students more marketable in the competitive environment. The present strategy of MIS curricula seems to be broad and focuses more on concepts versus specific IT tools. This study addresses key issues with the existing strategies and proposes a synergistic approach to MIS curriculum development to augment the current strategies. A synergistic approach calls for a four-way partnership between Information Systems faculty, software developers, business and education faculty, and corporate management. The proposed strategy is based on a technique similar to integrated IT planning in organizations suggested by several researchers.

Introduction

The advent of foreign competition, increased efficiency, and the spread of postindustrial revolution have forced business leaders to regard training end users as a major part of their total expense. The postindustrial revolution is an era in which there is a widespread retraining need by white-collar, college-educated employees in contrast to traditional blue-collar workers retraining (Sims, 1990). These white-collar, college graduates are the future end users of information technology (IT). The prime objective of training end users is to help achieve the goals of business leaders through the optimum use of personnel. Training can reduce, if not eliminate, the difference between actual and the desired end-user performance (Agresta, 1992). This implies that organizations should provide special attention in formulating effective training mechanisms. Business leaders have also realized the importance of retraining the end users of IT rather than replacing them (Sims, 1990). Since the knowledge base of science will expand and each new wave of technology will embody more knowledge than its predecessor, training for new technology will continue to grow in importance (Rosow and Zager, 1988). By 1996, more than half of U.S. firms of over 100 employees provided computer programming training and over 70 trained people in PC applications. (Training, 1996). It is possible that end users' computer skills could become obsolete in a short period of time due to fast changing Information Technology (IT). Thus, trainers and designers of training programs should provide effective training methods to retool end users' computer skills to use new IT (Chang, 1994). IT itself is enhancing training opportunities, as corporate intranet use expands for this purpose. (Croft, 1996).

New technology designed to process and transport data and information has been developing at an exceptional rate for more than four decades (Frenzel, 1996). This has resulted in increase in end-user-computing (EUC), need for proficient end users, and end-user training. For many, the growth of IT has been a blessing. "New" technology was a major part of their formal education that forms the basis of their employment, and serves as a platform on which their future depends (Frenzel, 1996). While, as noted above, most large organizations provide IT / Computer training to their end users, most of it is delivered by outside groups. This implies that educational institutions can have an important role as a provider of IT training. In turn, they face a major challenge of retooling the skills of their staffs so that they can better serve the needs of the students and trainees (Hadidi, 1996; Pick, 1996). The end result is to create end users with good IT skills, such as ability to apply the techniques they learned in the training to their present tasks

This paper proposes a synergistic (model) approach in formulating MIS curriculum that requires a close partnership between business faculty and IS faculty. …

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