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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Information systems development needs to be taught using an experiential approach. This is difficult when introductory classes are large and the students have no knowledge of the complex social and business environments in which information systems are developed. This paper presents a teaching approach called a role played case as an experiential tool for large classes of introductory IS students. These cases involve students behaving as systems analysts confronting an actor who role plays a client from a real business organisation environment. The role played case approach is compared and contrasted with the traditional written case approach and is shown to have significant advantages, particularly in allowing direct interaction between the student and the complex personal and social environments associated with information systems development. A phenomenographic research technique was used to investigate the students' perceptions of the learning context associated with a role played case. It is considered highly desirable to provide a learning context in which students attempt to understand the material being presented and relate the new material to the rest of the curriculum. This is known as a deep learning approach and is associated in the phenomenographic view of learning with conceptually significant learning. The investigation showed that a majority of students perceived the learning context associated with the role played case as requiring a deep learning approach. As a result of the investigation an enhancement to the role played case approach was developed with the aim of increasing the proportion of students who are able to apply a deep learning approach. Finally, the paper recommends the further use of phenomenographic techniques in information systems education (ISE) research.

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