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Teaching Information Systems Development via Process Variants

By Wee-Kek Tan and Chuan-Hoo Tan


Acquiring the knowledge to assemble an integrated Information System (IS) development process that is tailored to the specific needs of a project has become increasingly important. It is therefore necessary for educators to impart to students this crucial skill. However, Situational Method Engineering (SME) is an inherently complex process that may not be suitable for students to apply in a classroom IS development project. SME is defined as the systematic creation of new methods from parts of existing methods, i.e., the method fragments, by taking into account the specific business situation of each IS development project. A less complex pedagogical approach is to teach students how to design an IS development process variant that incorporates the building blocks of various existing processes in order to leverage the advantages of each individual process. This paper first proposes a framework for teaching students the designing of process variants, followed by a preliminary empirical study conducted in a genuine classroom setting to determine whether the framework benefits students. Through the preliminary study, we discuss how the student IS development project teams had successfully applied our framework to design and use their own process variants. The initial observations obtained from the study also suggest that students who designed their own process variant appeared to consistently outperform those who did not, i.e., students which opted to use the traditional waterfall model

Topics: Information systems development, System process models, Curriculum design
Publisher: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Year: 2010
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