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The Perceived Impact of Information Technology Experiential Learning on Career Success: A Pilot Study

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Cooperative & Experiential Education Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1563.1 - 26.1563.10



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Paper Authors


Dalton Bishop Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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Dalton Bishop is an MS Tech graduate student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He works as a full-time IT Systems Administrator for KSM Consulting in Indianapolis, Indiana. His primary areas of interest are server operating systems, data communications, and IT education.

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Connie Justice Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Connie Justice is a Clinical Associate Professor in Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and a faculty member of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. Professor Justice has over 20 years experience in the computer and systems engineering field. Professor Justice is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CISSP. She created the networking option and security option for CIT majors and a Network Security Certificate Program. She has also designed and modified many courses in networking and networking security. Professor Justice is noted for her creation of the Living Lab, an experiential learning environment where students gain real world experience running an IT business.

Professor Justice takes extreme pride and is a great innovator in the area of experiential learning and service. Experiential learning and service contributes to the integration of theory and application by creating an environment where the students learn by doing or apply their theory in service learning projects, practica, internships, games, and simulations. The Living Lab for CIT was created out of the need to provide a business environment for students to give them a taste of a “real” IT environment. A secondary purpose is to provide service to internal and external clients. The Living Lab has served many internal and external clients.

Professor Justice has consulted for and managed IT departments in small and medium sized businesses. Her areas of research include: experiential and service learning, information and security risk assessment, risk management, digital forensics, network security, network and systems engineering, network and systems administration, and networking and security course development.

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Eugenia Fernandez Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

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Eugenia Fernandez is an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Technology and Chair of the Department of Computer Information and Graphics Technology in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She is a Fellow of the Mack Center at Indiana University for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning and an Editor of the Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning related to learning with technology.

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The  Perceived  Impact  of  Information  Technology  Experiential  Learning  on  Career   Success   Employers  in  the  Information  Technology  field  place  significant  value  on  the  amount  of  real-­‐world  experience  prospective  employees  possess.  Recent  IT  graduates  face  a  competitive  job  market  against  seasoned  professionals  with  years  of  experience.  Students  must  build  a  solid  experience  base  from  which  they  can  advance  professionally.  This  cannot  be  done  without  first  holding  an  IT  position.  The  key  to  solving  the  experience  paradox  is  experiential  learning  –  the  process  of  learning  by  doing.   The  Living  Lab  at    is  a  non-­‐traditional  undergraduate  course  based  on  the  concept  of  experiential  learning  in  the  field  of  Information  Technology.  The  Living  Lab  is  structured  similarly  to  a  corporate  IT  department,  with  students  playing  the  role  of  IT  personnel.  Students  learn  to  apply  their  previous  course  material  and  gain  resume-­‐worthy  experience,  while  working  in  teams  to  complete  IT  projects  for  their  university  and  local  businesses.    Projects  are  fully  documented  and  reported  on  throughout  the  course  with  a  final  presentation  at  semester  end.   This  study  investigates  what,  if  any,  benefit  graduates  gain  from  the  Living  Lab  experience.  Graduates  who  were  involved  in  the  Living  Lab  were  electronically  surveyed  about  their  professional  careers  after  college.  Questions  focused  on  how  the  student  felt  their  time  in  Living  Lab  helped  them  gain  employment  and  enhance  their  ability  to  perform  as  an  employee.   Results  will  be  used  to  gauge  the  validity  of  the  Living  Lab  program  and  experiential  learning  as  an  effective  tool  in  terms  of  IT  education.  Data  from  this  study  can  be  used  to  improve  the  program,  and  help  prospective  students  to  make  an  informed  decision  when  considering  the  Living  Lab.    Ultimately,  other  institutions  may  be  encouraged  to  consider  implementing  a  Living  Lab  or  similar  IT  experiential  learning  environment  of  their  own.      

Bishop, D., & Justice, C., & Fernandez, E. (2015, June), The Perceived Impact of Information Technology Experiential Learning on Career Success: A Pilot Study Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24900

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