Teaching 21st Century Information Systems Students In A Developing Context.

Riana Steyn, University of Pretoria
Machdel Matthee, University of Pretoria


In this paper we investigate the results of efforts to address poor class attendance and enhance classroom participation of first year Information Systems students at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The group we studied consisted of 780 students enrolled for a System Analysis and Design course. The students are from different faculties, different cultures and different socio-economic backgrounds. We determined the typical profile of our students before the course commenced after which we introduced some measures to increase class attendance and class participation and enhance the classroom and learning experience. Despite the diversity of the group, we drew mainly upon the literature about the 21st century student (which sketches a homogeneous picture) in determining which measures to implement. A survey was conducted at the end of the course in which we evaluated our efforts. The findings show that the 21st century student, in our context, shares their experience with regard to familiarity with mobile technology but not access to PCs. In general their learning preferences are traditional but with some indication of an increasing emphasis on visual representations and digital media. Their main motivation to attend classes remains the traditional reason of “getting marks”.