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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Information technology has been recognized as an essential component of business strategy and major business processes in today’s business environment. In order to generate measurable business value, information system professionals must possess a set of capabilities that expand beyond technological areas. Many information system programs have incorporated system development projects in advanced technical courses, expecting that the experience students acquire through these projects would enable them to connect what they learn in class with the real world challenges that await them. These projects mostly are either based on hypothetical textbook cases or well-bounded, localized real world projects. They generally fall short in complexity and difficulty, compared with the kind of projects students have to deal with when they work in the real world. As a result, there is minimal pressure placed on students to exercise such important capabilities as critical thinking, creative thinking, strategic thinking, ethical thinking, and team-working abilities as they work on these projects. The challenge of preparing IS students for the new business environment is especially daunting as businesses in all sectors are now trying to transform their enterprises into innovative and adaptive organizational systems in the Internet era. This article describes an approach taken by a comprehensive university in Taiwan to address this challenge. These projects allow students to acquire serious experience in developing real world systems and running real businesses. The accumulative nature of the systems also provides opportunities for students to learn about system maintenance, an important capability usually ignored in other types of student project assignment.

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