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Information Systems Curriculum Optimization For Effective Learning Of Problem Solving

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.732.1 - 9.732.10



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Paper Authors

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Azzedine Lansari

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Akram Al-Rawi McKendree University

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Faouzi Bouslama Université Laval

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

Information Systems Curriculum Optimization for Effective Learning of Problem Solving

Faouzi Bouslama, Azzedine Lansari, and Akram Al-Rawi College of Information Systems, Zayed University P. O. Box 4783, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abstract-The Information Systems (IS) field is witnessing a rapid change due to the continuous advances in technology. Consequently, academic institutions need to frequently update the IS curriculum to remain current. An important yet unpopular part of the curriculum is problem solving and programming. As students encounter difficulties in understanding the concepts of programming, a number of colleges attempt to solve the issue by introducing different programming languages. Currently, Java is the programming language of choice for industry and academic institutions. However, Java is not easy to learn even for non-novice programmers. In this paper, we propose a sequence of IS courses that emphasizes the problem solving component prior to introducing the syntax and semantics of programming languages. The proposed sequence includes courses in problem solving concepts, algorithm design and development, solution modeling, and finally coding. We anticipate that the proposed course sequence will provide insights on the development of a framework to teach not only programming but problem solving in general. The proposed framework will make students appreciate the usefulness of problem solving and will facilitate the use of appropriate programming languages to develop solutions.

1. Introduction

The last decade has witnessed an ever increasing demand for IT professionals. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an increasing demand for high level IT professionals. For instance, system analysts will see 110 percent increase for the period 1992-2005 averaging eight percent annually1, 2. This trend is also being witnessed all over the world as the US is outsourcing a number of entry-level IT positions to countries in Asia and elsewhere. Universities and colleges worldwide are struggling to keep up with the strong demand for IS graduates and to frequently update the IS curriculum to respond to the needs of government and industry. The IS degree major remains attractive to many students looking for better job opportunities. Also, a strong demand for the IS minor by students in other disciplines who need IS expertise in their work is being witnessed.

Academic institutions in the US and elsewhere aspire to generate an IS curriculum that can produce graduates with the skills required by business and government while providing the needed general education. Currently, the IS 2002 recommendations3 form the blueprint for curriculum development of IS majors. An important part of the IS curriculum is problem solving and programming. In fact, the IS 2002 recommendations acknowledge the importance of problem solving in the curriculum and require an embedded approach to introducing problem solving and critical thinking in all courses. However, many students encounter difficulties in

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Lansari, A., & Al-Rawi, A., & Bouslama, F. (2004, June), Information Systems Curriculum Optimization For Effective Learning Of Problem Solving Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14000

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