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Information Technology Courses Changing Constantly: A Case Study Model

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Emerging Information Technologies

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.874.1 - 22.874.15



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Paper Authors


Richard G. Helps Brigham Young University

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Information Technology BYU. Research interests in embedded systems, user interaction and technology curriculum design. Member ASEE, IEEE, IEEE-CS, and ACM (SIGITE). ABET Commissioner.

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Information Technology (IT) courses change frequently. These curricular changes followthe frequent changes in the underlying technical discipline. Implementing coursechanges is made difficult by several exacerbating factors. Firstly, current technology isoften used as a medium for instruction as well as a learning topic, so changes affectmany parts of the course. Secondly, IT is relatively young as a separate discipline atuniversities, and thus lacks a deep pool of educational resources. Finally highereducation reward systems often favor research and direct teaching for promotion andtenure, and do not usually reward course re-design and updating, even though theredesign effort is significant. As a result updating curricula frequently places a significantload on already-busy faculty.A research study was undertaken to analyze and describe the process of changingcourses. Causes, motivations, effects and methods of change were identified. Theprocess of change was described in terms of a model of instructional design. The modelis in terms of instructional design domains and identifies and discusses relationshipsbetween design decisions, and the underlying structures, functions and activities incourse design. (Related to Structures, Behaviors, Functions (SBF) analysis).The model helped to explain both positive and negative outcomes in IT course designand provides a theoretical foundation for more effective design in the future. Designsthat impact multiple model layers are likely to require more effort from faculty.The research was based on a collective case study, using thematic qualitative analysisof interviews from several faculty at two different institutions, representing three ITprograms. The research methodology and validity is discussed in the report.

Helps, R. G. (2011, June), Information Technology Courses Changing Constantly: A Case Study Model Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18166

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