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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Information Systems (IS) undergraduate student numbers in the UK have reduced by half in the last five years. An increasing number of researchers have been pondering the possible relationship between the modernity of IS curricula and its attractiveness to potential students. To support the debate about IS curricula in the UK and elsewhere, this study provides a comprehensive review of the provision of IS courses across the UK which has not been carried out before on such a large scale. The review focuses on classifying IS courses using two separate classification methods, one of which draws on the UK Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Subject Benchmark Statement for Computing (SBSC), and a second that is based on the well established IS 2002 model curriculum. Results are compiled by attributing subjects to categories that have been extended to ensure the accurate reflection of the content of courses, taking into account the variations that exist in terms of module sizes, naming conventions and core/option module relationships. Overall, programming, project management and database design are shown to be the most popular IS subjects offered in the UK. The analysis of the results incorporates limitations that affect the interpretation of the data by highlighting the inherent complexities that exist in trying to measure wide-ranging curricula that borrow subjects from different fields. The findings presented should support IS academics, researchers and course designers in their quest to improve curricula and the IS discipline whose future prospects are tied to the recruitment of adequate numbers of students.

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