Journal of Information Systems Education


This paper reflects on the experience of developing and teaching an innovative, experimental undergraduate module in Information Systems Development. The module aims to give first year students a rounded experience of systems development from feasibility to evaluation. Students produce a series of analysis and design products that lead, finally, to the implementation of a distributed 3-tier web-based prototype system. Many staff regard this as overambitious, since most of the students are completely new to systems analysis and design and are concurrently learning the rudiments of programming and web development in other modules. The paper discusses the institutional and educational pressures that led to the conception and development of such a demanding module. It describes the process of negotiation and compromise through which the module came into being. And it explains the support mechanisms that have been developed to make it possible for students to succeed. Results are presented that indicate the module succeeds in several ways. It lays a useful practical foundation for later studies and work. It gives scope and encouragement for abler students to excel. And its support mechanisms help weaker students to exceed their own expectations by acquiring skills and understanding that they think at first are beyond their reach. The paper closes by summarizing the key lessons learned by the author, which include insights into the use of scaffolding and formative assessment to motivate students, and a greater willingness to experiment.



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