Journal of Information Systems Education


Learning technical computing skills is increasingly important in our technology driven society. However, learning technical skills in information systems (IS) courses can be difficult. More than 20 percent of students in some technical courses may dropout or fail. Unfortunately, little is known about students’ perceptions of the difficulty of technical IS courses and how students cope with the perceived difficulty of technical content in IS courses. This paper explores how students perceive the difficulty of technical IS courses and how difficulty perceptions influence learning outcomes and perceptions. Learning technical topics may be particularly difficult for students from non-IS majors, yet this is only speculative. The extent to which non-IS majors are disadvantaged in technical IS courses is also explored. To explore these issues, this paper adopts a mixed-method approach. First, a grounded theory is developed from secondary data to explain difficulty perceptions and the successful management of those perceptions. Second, a quantitative test is conducted to validate the grounded theory. Finally, the grades of IS and non-IS majors are compared.