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Wikis, Blogs and Other Technology in IS Classes

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Like other media, blogs often focus on a particular subject, ... Some blogs function as ... students to engage in a directed discussion through the blogs ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wikis, Blogs and Other Technology in IS Classes


1
Wikis, Blogs and Other Technology in IS Classes
  • Vicki L. Sauter
  • Professor of Information Systems

2
Range of Courses
  • I teach information systems courses
  • Introductory MBA course on IT
  • Systems Analysis (MS and BS level)
  • Decision Support Systems (MS and BS level)
  • Doctoral Seminar on Systems Analysis and Design
  • Internship Requirements

3
Overview of Technology Use
  • Class pages
  • Syllabus
  • Schedule
  • Contact Information
  • Semester Projects
  • Homework
  • Readings Pages
  • Forms
  • The Current Page

4
Assignment Pages
  • Normal Statement of the Assignment
  • FAQ pages from previous students
  • Client Information
  • Weekly Progress Report Forms
  • Weekly Rating Forms
  • End of the Semester Evaluation Form

5
Readings Pages
  • Summarized and indexed
  • Some materials I have provided
  • Some materials provided elsewhere on the web
  • Linked from the Syllabus and the Schedule

6
Schedule
  • Weekly topics to be covered in class
  • Assignments
  • Special features (guests, videos, etc.)
  • Campus events of relevance to students

7
The Current Page
  • Topics to be covered in class
  • New readings/news about topics covered in class
  • Corrections and announcements

8
Additional Technology
  • Email list on outlook so I can email them
    wherever they are
  • Discussion board in mygateway for group
    discussions
  • Post final grades for the students to see late in
    the semester grades

9
The Internet vs. My Gateway
  • My material was available prior to the
    introduction of MyGateway
  • I have too much material to move
  • Students rely on the materials in later courses
  • My students rely on the materials as references
    in their careers
  • Students from around the world are using my
    materials both in their classes and just because
    they find the materials there

10
Decision Support Systems Course
  • Course Goals
  • Make them more aware of how decision makers act
  • Translate that decision making knowledge into
    awareness of how to use models to support
    decision makers
  • Teach them to build software that includes models
    and support for understanding those models

11
Motivation for Technology Use
  • Need students to focus on decision making and
    modeling since it is a critical component in
    decision support systems
  • They have a rudimentary modeling background and
    no experience in applying those models in real
    world situations
  • Students never really understand what a model is
    outside of a textbook question

12
What is a Blog?
  • Wikipedia A blog is a website in which items
    are posted on a regular basis and displayed in
    reverse chronological order. Like other media,
    blogs often focus on a particular subject, such
    as food, politics, or local news. Some blogs
    function as online diaries. A typical blog
    combines text, images, and links to other blogs,
    web pages, and other media related to its topic.

13
What is a Blog?
  • Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal
    (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and
    intended for general public consumption.
    www.bytowninternet.com/glossary
  • A short form for weblog, a frequent and
    chronological publication of comments and
    thoughts on the web. They usually include
    philosophical reflections, opinions on the
    Internet and social or political
    issues. www.epolitix.com

14
What is a Blog?
  • The name "blog" is a truncated form of "web log"
    according to Rebecca Blood's essay "Weblogs a
    history and perspective." Blog is used to refer
    to sites that can best be described as mini sites
    or mini directories, populated with the site
    owner's personal opinions. Blogs are now popular
    for business use as well. www.thewebdivision.com/g
    lossary.html
  • Blog is short for Web log and is a Web page that
    has short, frequent updates made to it. Similar
    to a Web journal or "what's new"
    page. www.cougarcreationsinc.com/web_definitions.h
    tm

15
Blog Assignment
  • Emphasize discussion of the models, their
    impacts, and their assumptions
  • Find examples of models
  • Critique those models
  • Requiring other students to engage in a directed
    discussion through the blogs
  • Worked through an article in class explaining
    what should be addressed and how to review the
    article

16
Specifics of Assignment
  • Each student must identify an article each week
    that discusses decision making
  • An entry provides a link to an article that
    discusses decision making and/or modeling and
    provides a critique of the use of the model and
    the approach to the decision making.
  • Each student must comment on other articles and
    the students critiques of the assignments

17
Example of their Work
18
Problems from the Students View
  • Navigation of MyGateway to look at all blogs is
    tedious
  • MyGateway screen does not resize nicely
  • Not everyone keeps up, so it is hard to go back
    and comment on others discussion
  • The assignment is too vague (undergraduates)
  • It takes too much time (undergraduates)

19
Problems from the Students View
  • People dont engage in discussion there is the
    original comment and then they never come back
    (graduate students)
  • People late in the alphabet do not get comments
    (graduate students … they only need to comment on
    3 other articles per week)
  • Blogs do not thread nicely

20
Problems My View
  • There is a wide range of attention to this
    assignment
  • Especially at the undergraduate level, there are
    often not quality comments
  • Since I do not require people to go back and
    respond, there really is not discussion
  • No obvious improvement in conceptualization of
    decision making or modeling

21
Changes
  • Designate one or two students to find and review
    an article each week
  • Require discussion on the article (at
    undergraduate level, this may mean requiring x
    postings)
  • Instructor post comments
  • Instructor start process with a review in the
    blog format

22
Systems Analysis Class
  • Class Goals
  • Provide students with the skills to develop a set
    of managerial and technical specifications to
    address business need
  • Analyze business processes
  • Critically examine problems and opportunities
    from a variety of perspectives
  • Examine technology as a tool to address those
    problems
  • Construct specifications for someone to build
    technology to address those problems and
    opportunities

23
Systems Analysis Class
  • Develop team skills to address technology
    problems
  • Developing a group perspective on the problem
  • Keeping a technical journal
  • Brainstorming of solutions
  • Evaluating solutions
  • Sharing a vision of a solution
  • Selling that solution

24
Motivation for Technology
  • Student groups are not always cohesive
  • Some students opt out
  • Some students over control
  • Students miss many of the steps in the systems
    analysis process
  • Documentation of work often is not at an
    appropriate level

25
What is a Wiki?
  • Wikipedia A wiki is a type of website that
    allows users to add and edit content easily and
    is especially suited for collaborative writing.
  • The name is based on the Hawaiian term wiki,
    meaning "quick", "fast", or "to hasten".
    Sometimes the reduplication (wikiwiki) is used
    instead of wiki.

26
What is a Wiki?
  • It also sometimes refers to the collaborative
    software itself (wiki engine) that facilitates
    the operation of such a website
  • In essence, wiki is a simplification of the
    process of creating web pages combined with a
    system that records each individual change that
    occurs over time, so that at any time, a page can
    be reverted to any of its previous states.
  • A wiki system may also provide various tools that
    easily allow the user community to monitor the
    constantly changing state of the wiki and discuss
    the issues that emerge in trying to achieve a
    general consensus about wiki content. Wiki
    content can also be misleading as users may add
    incorrect information to the Wiki page.

27
Wiki Assignment
  • Students are required to keep a technical journal
    of their work on a semester project
  • Only students in the group have access to the
    document
  • Students have the ability to add documents and
    edit documents (including group members work)
  • Instructor has seeded the group wikis with
    outlines and suggestions

28
Examples of the Seeding
29
More Detailed Seeding
30
Problems
31
Problems
  • The system has been very unstable
  • Students often can see items in other students
    wikis
  • Students work gets saved in the wrong wiki
  • Students wont use the tool
  • We spend too much time in class trying to
    troubleshoot

32
Changes
  • We now have a solution to the problem
  • The students continue to be hesitant to use the
    tool because of concerns about other groups
    seeing their material and/or losing their
    material
  • I have taken a very hard position they MUST
    post their notes or flunk the class
  • Next semester perhaps provide seed
    information outside the wiki (time intensive to
    create) and they can import if they want

33
Comments
  • My students are usually technology-proficient
  • They already have some experience with many tools
    we use in class
  • They are less tolerant with kludgy tools
  • They are better able to trouble-shoot problems
  • They will tell you what you should be doing

34
Comments
  • Problems in the classroom are part of the
    learning experience for MIS students
  • They need to learn what CAN happen
  • They need to learn how to respond
  • They need to learn coping strategies

35
Sauters Laws
  • First Law --
  • Never attempt to do something that someone else
    has not already done successfully
  • At least do not attempt it alone
  • Second Law --
  • If it is technology, it will break

36
Questions?
  • Email address vicki.sauter_at_umsl.edu
  • Home page www.umsl.edu/sauter
  • DSS (undergraduate class) home page
    www.umsl.edu/sauter/DSS/3843start.html
  • DSS (graduate class) home page
    www.umsl.edu/sauter/DSS/6833start.html
  • Analysis (undergraduate class) home page
    www.umsl.edu/sauter/analysis/ba3810start.html
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