The Need for a Systematic Approach for Updating an Online IS Course
Philip Kim Walsh University
Abstract One of the ongoing challenges for information systems (IS) faculty is to ensure that technology-based courses are relevant and consistently up-to-date. While many of the foundational IS theories may remain, the in-class articles, readings, literature, and other assignments must be informed and reflect present-day examples. For instance, a recent edition of a popular Management Information Systems textbook published in 2015 referenced Second Life as a viable virtual reality business model and introduced Twitter as a newer technology. Due to the rising costs of required course material, some faculty are reluctant to adopt new textbooks too often (Smith & Muller, 1998) and yet, in the field of IS, it becomes difficult to find a viable textbook that is sustainable beyond its publication date.
In some cases, adopting the newer edition of the textbook cannot be avoided. But beyond the primary text, there are other areas in which a faculty member should consider updating the curriculum. This is especially true in the online course environment. Online students have different preferences from traditional on-ground students and are more likely to be affected by outdate course materials. The purpose of this report is to describe the process we as a faculty have undertaken to update our online courses beyond selecting a new textbook.
The course updates should begin with a review of the current literature of the field. In this case, an IS course review should include an evaluation of the top academic journals and conferences. Google Scholar provides a listing of recent journals and select conference publications based on its h-index which measures the productivity and impact of that particular publication. Similar to academic journals, there can also be an overabundance of journal review resources. We have found the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) to be useful for our purposes.
In 2007, ABDC established an ABDC Journal Quality List for use by its member business schools. The initial list aimed to overcome the regional and discipline bias of international lists. An independent chair and discipline-specific panels reviewed the ABDC Journal Quality List in 2013 and 2009. (ABDC, 2013, para. 1)
A review of the relevant journals and conferences will lead to current research topics and subtopics in their call for submissions. Perhaps even more pertinent is a review of practitioner journals, conferences, and vendor expositions. Often the burgeoning commercial and consumer market will impact the direction of academic research streams (Cohen, Nelson, & Walsh, 2002).
The review of the extant literature should inform the assigned articles, assignments, and discussion forum prompts. As this is an online course, the discussion prompts are an integral component of the student learning experience. Finally, the course should also have some built-in flexibility within the schedule that allows for students to research and present current technologies relevant to their field of study or profession. There should also be a built-in process to make necessary adjustments based on student learning outcomes and feedback.
ABDC. (2013). ABDC journal quality list. Retrieved from: http://www.abdc.edu.au/pages/abdc-journal-quality-list-2013.htm.
Cohen, W. M., Nelson, R. R., & Walsh, J. P. (2002). Links and impacts: The influence of public research on industrial R&D. Management Science, 48(1), 1-23.
Smith, K. J. & Muller, H. R. (1998). The ethics of publisher incentives in the marketing textbook selection decision. Journal of Marketing Education, 20(3), 258-267.
Recommended Citation: Kim, P., (2017). The Need for a Systematic Approach for Updating an Online IS Course. Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference, (2017) n.4456, Austin, Texas