Designing an information technology curriculum: The Georgia Southern experience.
The chronic and severe shortage of skilled Information Technology (IT) workers is well documented. At the same time, many regional and national governments have made the provision of information technology services an important element in their economic development strategies. It is against this background that Georgia Southern University established a School of Information Technology in March, 2001, and started a baccalaureate program in Information Technology in August of 2001. Unlike many other baccalaureate programs in Information Technology, the program at Georgia Southern University did not grow out of existing programs in Information Systems or Computer Science, but was designed de novo. The process that Georgia Southern University used in designing its curriculum included extensive consultations with representatives from companies that were either directly involved in the IT industry or employed large numbers of IT professionals. The result of this consultation was the formulation of a set of skills that industry representatives agreed they would like any entry-level graduate in Information Technology to be able to demonstrate. The curriculum was then designed in such a way that it ensured that successful graduates would indeed possess such skills. The paper describes the curriculum offered at Georgia Southern University, and shows how the various courses in the curriculum contribute to the graduate’s acquisition of the relevant skills. It pays particular attention to the inclusion of so-called second disciplines, a feature that distinguishes Georgia Southern University’s curriculum from Information Technology curricula offered elsewhere. Second disciplines are 21 credit hour programs of study that give students an in-depth exposure to an IT application area and were included in response to the complaint made by many IT organizations that they have difficulty recruiting entry-level staff with both a good grounding in IT and in the particular application area of interest to the company in question. We believe that the process that Georgia Southern University used in the design of its IT baccalaureate curriculum in general and the inclusion of second disciplines in it, in particular, will lead to graduates who are more likely to meet the human resource demands of companies with a large IT workforce.
Informing Science Institute
Reichgelt, H., Price, B., & Zhang, A. (2002). Designing an information technology curriculum: The Georgia Southern experience. Journal of Information Technology Education. 1(4). 213-221.
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