Special Interest Group on Education for Information Science: SIG/ED

SIG/ED Sponsored Sessions at the 1996 ASIS Annual Meeting, Baltimore

Planning Curricula for the Information Professionals of the 21st Century


Katherine W. McCain

College of Information Science & Technology

Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA


Global Complexity: Information, Chaos and Control -- the theme of the 1996 ASIS conference reflects the challenges faced by information professionals who will be designing, implementing, and managing services and systems to meet the rapidly changing needs of society in the 21st century. Programs at all levels, undergraduate, masters and PhD, are reinventing themselves, often with substantial financial support from foundations, professional associations, and government agencies, and developing new, innovative curricula to educate the "new" information professionals. The speakers in this session will discuss four current curriculum planning efforts that represent significant departures from the "status quo."


Development of IS*96: The ACM--AIS--DPMA Model Curriculum for 4 Year Programs of Information Systems.

Herbert E. Longenecker Jr.and David L. Feinstein, School of Computer and Information Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; Gordon B. Davis, John T. Gorgone, and J. Daniel Couger.

Model IS curriculum were developed previously by the DPMA (1981,1986,1990) and by the ACM (1982). These models have been significant in the development and maturation of IS programs, and perhaps the discipline. IS*96 is the first comprehensive model developed jointly by key information systems societies. The goals of the model are to enable IS faculty to educate students who will become capable of developing information systems which help people meet their goals through the application of information technology. IS*96 is based on a computing body of knowledge which Information Technology, Organization and Management Concepts, and Systems Theory and Development. Depth of knowledge expected of graduates is specified in behavioral terms.

A sequence of 127 cognitively paced learning units help faculty to develop explicitly defined student competencies in primary areas of information systems: theory, development and deployment. These learning units are packaged into 10 courses. They could be rearranged to provide the descriptions for many institutions existing courses. The body of knowledge exit competency levels as well as the composition of learning units are based on national surveys of academics and industrial IS shops, as well as on the experience of the IS*96 task forces.

In addition, the model contains explicit statements descriptive of desired exit characteristic behaviors of program graduates. The work reflects effort from many hundreds of IS faculty and practitioners spanning a three year period.

Drexel's Curriculum Initiatives in Information Science and Technology

Thomas A. Childers, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa.

The College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, is in the midst of two initiatives that address the educational needs of information professionals of the 21st century.

Three main forces drive the need for considering changes in the content and method of delivery of education for information professionals: rapid change in the landscape of information services and systems, fueled by the emerging information technologies and reflecting new social configurations among information handling stakeholders; alternative technologies for delivering education that remove or diminish the dependency on the traditional same-time, same-place mode; and increasing competition for students through those alternatives.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation is supporting the College as it seeks to define the information professional of tomorrow and design an appropriate curriculum. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supports our delivery of the master's degree in information systems through a computer-based asynchronous environment. This paper describes the current status of the major pieces of these two multi-year projects, emphasizing the Kellogg Project. Major topics include (1) the curriculum design methodology that is being tested, based on a systems engineering model; (2) the progress of curriculum design, including a job niche-by-competency matrix used in isolating learning units and an ongoing program of market analysis; (3) several approaches to modeling the competencies of information professionals; (4) a groupware application that supports the faculty and administration in the curriculum design and maintenance effort, linking course descriptions and syllabi, marketplace competencies, and various sources of job market information to each other; and, briefly, (5) our experience with and findings from delivering courses through a Lotus Notes environment in a time-independent and place-independent mode. Plans for further development conclude the paper.

Reinventing Education for the Information and Library Professions of the 21st Century

Daniel E. Atkin and Karen M. Drabenstott, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation has enabled the School of Information at the University of Michigan to embark on a radical change of its instructional program. The impetus for taking this bold action is our vision of the ongoing revolution in technology, networking, and information and the changes it is likely effect across the broad spectrum of human life. We are responding by building a national, multidisciplinary collaborative consortium to define new professional specializations to serve society's needs for information access in the rapidly emerging age of digital data, information, and knowledge. We aspire to educate new information professionals with broad competency and a holistic view of information systems. We want our graduates to understand users of information and to be committed to using and shaping current and emerging digital systems technologies to solve problems of information access, organization, and preservation in hybrid environments that feature both print and digital forms of human communication. We expect our graduates to be leaders in transforming the products, services, and processes of organizations in fundamental ways with the aid of information technology. This project overview will feature our progress to date in terms curriculum planning for an integrated core and content specializations, pilot projects (the development of "living specifications" of future-oriented, information-intensive environments), and teaching innovations such as distance-independent learning, project-based learning, and experiential learning opportunities.

The UC Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems Curriculum

Ray R. Larson, School of Information Management & Systems, University of California, Berkeley, CA

In 1993 the UC Berkeley campus administration appointed a committee of faculty, administrators, and outside experts to make recommendations regarding how Berkeley could best address the educational and research challenges in the areas of information management and systems. This "Information Planning Group" proposed creation of a "School of Information Management and Systems" (SIMS) as a separate professional school offering a Ph.D. and Master degrees that "will advance through teaching and research, the organization, management, and use of information and information technology, and enhance our understanding of the impact of information on individuals, institutions, and society." This talk will describe the curriculum planning process for the new School of Information Management and Systems and the progress towards approval of the new degrees.

(c) 1996, American Society for Information Science

Last updated 7/17/96