AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS) COURSES

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1 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS) COURSES Elizabeth Kemm, Cetral Michiga Uiversity, Hogjiag Xu, Cetral Michiga Uiversity, Zheyu Huag, Cetral Michiga Uiversity, Moica Holmes, Cetral Michiga Uiversity, ABSTRACT Egagig studets iterest i courses that are required outside of the studets major field is sometimes a difficult task. This is especially true whe the courses have a large umber of erollees. This research-i-progress studies udergraduate maagemet iformatio system (MIS) courses at a AACSB-accredited school. The scope of material i these courses is extremely broad. MIS is the eabler for a large percetage of curret busiess practices, yet for may busiess studets this is the oly time they will be egaged i this material. Therefore it is especially importat for studets to get a good uderstadig of the material i this MIS course before they cotiue their academic ad professioal careers. For this research the methodology is quasi-experimetal with data collected from studets by survey istrumets ad examiatios. This Research focuses o immediate studets learig outcomes, log-term learig outcomes, satisfactio with the active learig process, perceptio of learig with the active learig process ad studets preparatio for class. Results of this study should beefit istructors ad researchers i the MIS area. Keywords: MIS, active learig, learig outcomes INTRODUCTION Itroductory MIS courses are ofte difficult to teach. Whe these courses are outside a studet s major field the studet s iterest is sometimes hard to egage ad maitai. Whe udergraduate classes are very large ad admiistratio of these classes is miimal, keepig studets egaged to the poit of attedig class, preparig for class by readig assiged material ad applyig the kowledge gaied from readig the assiged material has bee less tha successful. Traditioally, these classes are taught by a professor lecturig o the assiged material. This, however, is the circumstace i may istitutios where large umbers of studets must be serviced ad where budgets limit the available istructors. This research-i-progress focuses, specifically, o udergraduate maagemet iformatio systems (MIS) beig taught i oe AACSB-accredited school of busiess. The scope of topics i these courses is extremely broad providig studets a itroductio to such subjects as iformatio system developmet, database theory ad desig, hardware ad software cocepts, the use of iformatio systems i decisio makig ad iformatio systems i e- commerce. The scope of the subjects makes it difficult for some studets to uderstad the itegratio of the topics, i.e., how do they all fit together. For may busiess studets this course is the oly time they will be egaged i this material. Because MIS are the eablers for a large 185

2 IACIS 2003 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT percetage of curret busiess practices it is importat that studets are well-grouded i MIS cocepts before eterig the professioal world. I recet years the cocept of active learig has bee champioed by may educators as a superior techique for egagig studets i the learig process. This study looks at the use of active learig i a compariso betwee the outcomes of a active learig project ad a traditioal lecture that would be used i large MIS courses. ACTIVE LEARNING The theory of active learig suggests that studets should do most of the work of learig which icludes studyig ideas, solvig problems, ad applyig what they lear. It requires persoal egagemet. Active learig helps studets to hear, see, ask questios about issues ad problems, ad have the opportuity to discuss them with others. (6, 1, 2). Studets i active learig experieces are geerally see to take a greater resposibility for their ow learig, which, therefore, makes them take a more dyamic role i decidig how ad what they eed to kow, what they should be able to do, ad how they are goig to do it. Studets roles exted further ito educatioal self-maagemet, ad self-motivatio becomes a greater force behid learig (4). Examples of active learig methods iclude: collaborative learig, problem-based learig, case methods, course projects, simulatios, ad techology uses. Studets ivolved i active learig processes have differet learig experieces tha they have i traditioal learig process (see Figure 1). Active learig is based o the premise that studets have read the assiged material ad are prepared to use that material i a project or discussio to be doe durig the class period. Therefore, the studets must be pro-active before comig to class so that they are able to participate i the project. Studets must be prepared ad ready to fiish projects with their team mates durig the class time. Ay istructioal lectures will be provided by istructor o a very limited scale. From the learig process (Figure 1) we ca see that i a traditioal teachig eviromet, studets passively participate i class activities (primarily coducted by istructor oly, such as lectures). Studets have limited iteractios with the istructor ad their peer fellows iside ad outside classrooms. Studets are asked to buy i to the course without beig give a mechaism for doig so. For the studets who are o-mis majors i the class (marketig, fiace, maagemet, accoutig, etc.) ad who do t recogize a eed for a MIS course the iterest i learig is limited. 186

3 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT IACIS 2003 Traditioal Teachig lectures Outcomes : quizzes ad exams Role Ivolvemets Istructor oly Studets Teachig with active learig focus Pro-active preparatio lectures I-class projects Outcomes : projects, quizzes ad exams Role Ivolvemets Studets Studets, Istructor Studets Compariso Betwee Traditioal Teachig ad Teachig with Active Learig Focus Figure 1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS At least five research questios are asked: 1. What are the immediate learig outcomes of courses taught usig a traditioal lecture method whe compared with courses taught usig a active learig techique? 2. What are the log-term learig outcomes of courses taught usig a traditioal lecture method whe compared with courses taught usig a active learig techique? 3. What are studets perceptios of their learig outcomes of courses taught usig a traditioal lecture techique whe compared with courses taught usig a active learig techique? 4. How do studets satisfactio levels compare betwee courses taught usig a traditioal lecture techique ad courses taught usig a active learig techique? 5. How does studets preparatio for class differ whe preparig for a active learig project ad a lecture class? 187

4 IACIS 2003 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY This study is doe i a itroductory MIS course at a AACSB-accredited school. Subjects for the study are studets i three large class sectios (over 100 studets) taught by three differet istructors. The study is doe i three phases with each phase coverig a differet segmet of the course material. For the active learig sessio a project is desiged to cover a segmet of the course material. The project is desiged to be doe by a team of studets workig together durig the class period. At the ed of the project developmet studets are give a form o which they ca evaluate their colleagues cotributio to the project. Studets who are ot prepared whe they come to class are ill-prepared to participate i the project ad, geerally, do ot receive high marks from their peers for cotributios to the project. Studets participatio is measured as a average of their teammates evaluatio. Additioally, at the ed of each class sessio, studets are asked to evaluate their perceptios of learig i the class ad to describe the preparatio that they had doe before comig to class. For the traditioal learig sessio a lecture is desiged to cover the same segmet of course material ad is preseted to other groups of studets. As i the active learig sessio, at the ed of each class sessio, studets are asked to evaluate their perceptios of learig i the class ad to describe the preparatio that they had doe before comig to class. At the ext class sessio a evaluatio istrumet is give to all studets: the oes who participated i the active learig sessio ad those who were i the lecture class sessios. outcomes of the studets who participated i the active learig sessio are compared with outcomes of the studets who were i the lecture class sessios. This compariso is to measure differeces betwee the material that was leared by each group ad the relative merits, to the studets, of each istructioal techique. Later, studets are oce agai give a examiatio over the same material i order to measure ay differeces betwee the outcomes of studets who participated i the active learig process ad the studets who were i the lecture class. The purpose of this examiatio is to determie whether or ot there is ay differece i the log-term retetio of the material covered. The outlie for these research sessios is show i the table i Figure

5 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT IACIS st segmet of course material 2 d segmet of course material 3 rd segmet of course material 1 A L 2 T R 3 T R Eval Eval Eval Logterm Logterm Logterm TR Eval Logterm AL Eval Logterm TR Eval Logterm TR Eval Logterm TR Eval Logterm AL Eval Logterm Leged: 1...Class/group Class/group Class/group 3 AL...Active Learig TR...Traditioal Learig Eval... Outlie of Research Sessios Figure 2 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS Itroductory MIS courses are ofte difficult to teach because of the size of the classes ad the varied backgrouds ad iterests that studets brig to the class. It is expected that the required preparatio that studets must do for a active learig experiece would ehace the studets participatio ad make the active learig experiece more satisfyig to the studets. It is also expected that the active learig experiece promotes learig at a deeper level thus icreasig log-term retetio of the course material. REFERENCES 1. Bea, J. C. (1996). The professor s guide to itegratig writig, critical thikig, ad active learig i the classroom. Sa Fracisco: Jossey-Bass. 2. Bowell, C. C. ad Eiso, J. A. (1991). Active Learig: Creatig Excitemet i the Classroom. Sa Fracisco: Jossey-Bass. 3. Brow, David G. ad Curtis W. Elliso. (1995). What is Active Learig? i The Seve Priciples i Actio. Susa Rickey Hatfield, editor. Bolto, MA: Aker Publishig Compay, Ic. 189

6 IACIS 2003 AN ANALYSIS OF ACTIVE LEARNING OUTCOMES IN LARGE MANAGEMENT 4. Glasgow, N. A. (1996). New curriculum for ew times: A guide to studet-cetered, problem-based learig. Thousad Oaks, CA: Corwi Press. 5. Ragachari, P.K. (1996). Twety-up: problem-based learig with a large group i Brigig problem-based learig to higher educatio: theory ad practice. LuA Wilkerso, Wim H Gijselaers, editors. Sa Fracisco: Jossey-Bass. 6. Silberma, M. (1996). Active learig: 101 Strategies to Teach ay Subject. Ally ad Baco: Needham Heights, MA. 7. The Challege of problem-based learig. David Boud ad Grahame I. Feletti, editors. Lodo: Stirlig (USA) : Koga Page (1997). 190

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