Information Systems Education Journal

Volume 12

V12 N4 Pages 29-39

July 2014

In Search of Design-Focus in IS Curricula

Jeffry Stephen Babb
West Texas A&M University
Canyon, TX 79016, USA

Leslie Waguespack
Bentley University
Waltham, MA 02452, USA

Abstract: Curricula in information systems embrace a broad range of topics that leave the identity of information systems as a discipline somewhat in flux. In the spirit of “the first among equals,” we posit that design should have preeminence in the education of information systems professionals. Design frames problem understanding and defines what system’s quality means. It behooves our profession to prepare designers who deliver systems that not only “work,” but also deliver systems that society will recognize as “working well.” The research community recognizes this as reflected in a renewed interest in design science research and in information systems design theory. While our discipline has been recently reshaped by offshoring, outsourcing, and service-oriented architectures, which provide myriad options for managing information in organizations, design persists as a central aspect of the discipline. This is so as information systems design remains close to stakeholders because design materializes an organization’s core business model and strategy. This paper contemplates a design-focused IS curriculum and postulates a perspective on design that values the subjective sensibilities of stakeholders as well as an objective, algorithmic depiction of computing. The latter has shaped the classic education of a developer as a master of technology while the former nurtures an aesthetic awareness that captures nuances of stakeholder satisfaction and a more inclusive conception of system quality. The skillset of designers is a superset of that of developer, and as such, a designer must be craftsman and more, a reflective practitioner skilled in the art of generative metaphor.

Keywords: Information Systems Curriculum, reflective practice, Information Systems Design, Mastery learning, Thriving Systems Theory

Download this article: ISEDJ - V12 N4 Page 29.pdf

Recommended Citation: Babb, J. S., Waguespack, L. (2014). In Search of Design-Focus in IS Curricula. Information Systems Education Journal, 12(4) pp 29-39. ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2013)