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A Course Sequence For Integrating Problem Solving And Critical Thinking In A Hybrid Outcome Based Is/It Curriculum

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computer-Oriented Programs

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.27.1 - 13.27.10



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Paper Authors


Azzedine Lansari Zayed University

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Azzedine Lansari received a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1992. From 1993-1998, he was a senior researcher at MANTECH, NC. He joined the College of Information Systems at Zayed University in 1998. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Technology. His research interests include systems modeling, educational technology and curriculum design in Information Systems.

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Akram Al-Rawi Zayed University

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Akram Al-Rawi is a Sun certified Java Programmer and a Professor of CIS at Zayed University, UAE. He has
worked at several academic institutions of which the last two were the University of Missouri-Columbia and
Columbia College, MO. His teaching interests include programming languages, logic design, and computer
architecture. His research interests include computer simulation, web-caching architecture, and curriculum design.

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Abdallah Tubaishat Zayed Univeristy

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Dr. Abdallah Tubaishat received his PhD degree in Software Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He is conducting research that spans two main areas, one is technical: software engineering and the other is non-technical: e-learning. He is conducting both types of research in parallel and has presented his work at both regional and international venues. He has a total of eighteen conference and journal publications since he started his professional carrier in 1994. He served as a program reviewer for nineteen international journals and conferences.

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Faouzi Bouslama Université Laval

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Faouzi Bouslama received a PhD degree in Electronic Engineering from Shizuoka University, Japan in 1992. From 1992-1994, he was a researcher at Toshiba Co., Tokyo. From 1994-2000, he was Associate Professor of Information Systems, Hiroshima City University, in Japan. He joined Zayed University in August 2000 as an Associate Professor of IS. Currently he is an adjunct faculty at Laval University. His research interests include Neural Networks, Fuzzy Logic and Curriculum Design.

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A Course Sequence for Integrating Problem Solving and Critical Thinking in a Hybrid Outcome-Based IS/IT Curriculum


In this paper we propose a curriculum for the information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) fields that follows the ABET criteria and the IS 2002 recommendations. The proposed curriculum is driven by two sets of learning outcomes: the university learning outcomes, which are a set of higher level outcomes and the college learning outcomes which are embedded in all core courses. A course sequence was developed to facilitate student learning of problem solving and programming concepts. The sequence includes courses in problem solving, algorithm design and development, solution modeling and coding. VB.Net, a visual programming environment, was the language of choice to introduce object oriented programming. The master course syllabi for the sequence provide clear details about learning outcomes covered in that course as well as the piece of evidence for that outcome. The master course syllabi with clearly defined learning outcomes can help instructors focus their lessons. The proposed course sequence can help students learn problem solving concepts naturally and facilitate the programming learning process. It is anticipated that such a curriculum will reduce students’ fear of programming and renew their interest in the computing field in general as well as the IS/IT field in particular.


Academic institutions in the US and elsewhere aspire to generate an IS/IT curriculum that can produce graduates with critical skills required by business and government as well as provide the needed general education1. Currently, the IS 2002 recommendations form the blueprint for curriculum development of IS majors2. An important part of the IS curriculum is problem solving and programming. As a matter of fact the IS 2002 recommendations not only acknowledge the importance of problem solving in the curriculum but it requires an embedded approach to introducing problem solving in all core courses. Many students however still encounter difficulties in understanding the concepts of programming. These difficulties become more pronounced when students attempt to use the syntax and semantics of a programming language and develop real world applications.

Colleges and universities worldwide use various approaches to teach problem solving and programming. There is, however, disagreement on how to integrate problem solving and critical thinking in IS/IT courses. In fact only a few IS/IT courses touch upon the topic of problem solving. Furthermore, there is no standard approach to integrating concepts in problem solving as a whole. Most courses which claim to introduce problem solving mainly focus on programming concepts. These courses seem to be challenging to most students and as a consequence, after taking these courses many students change their major. This has created a difficult situation for IT colleges as the number of entering students, particularly females, continues to drop3. Most faculty members believe that the issue lies in choosing the appropriate programming language. This has prompted a number of colleges to focus on the programming languages that need to be

Lansari, A., & Al-Rawi, A., & Tubaishat, A., & Bouslama, F. (2008, June), A Course Sequence For Integrating Problem Solving And Critical Thinking In A Hybrid Outcome Based Is/It Curriculum Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3938

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