Information Systems Education Journal

Volume 14

V14 N1 Pages 15-27

January 2016

How an Active Learning Classroom Transformed IT Executive Management

Amy J Connolly
University of South Carolina Upstate
Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA

Michael Lampe
University of South Carolina Upstate
Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA

Abstract: This article describes how our university built a unique classroom environment specifically for active learning. This classroom changed students’ experience in the undergraduate executive information technology (IT) management class. Every college graduate should learn to think critically, solve problems, and communicate solutions, but 90% of students are not prepared for white collar jobs. Active learning pedagogy, which involves students directly in their own learning, improves these skills, but active learning exercises are difficult to implement in traditional rank-and-file classrooms. Students are accustomed to passive lectures and they tune out or stare at screens, further frustrating overworked faculty. In this article, we showcase the impacts of creating a modular space to support multiple arrangements and new activities, particularly group discussions. This room included state-of-the-art collaborative tools to support group work and writeable tables to encourage creative expression. Creativity is essential to discovering new solutions to difficult problems. Students reported that this combination of environment plus pedagogic change broke them out of their stupor. It forced them to think more critically and to become involved in class, which increased faculty satisfaction with the course. This article contributes to the literature on how to teach IT management to undergraduates. It also contributes to the sparse literature on how the classroom environment affects student learning, engagement, and critical thinking.

Keywords: active learning , Critical Thinking , IT Management, learning environments

Download this article: ISEDJ - V14 N1 Page 15.pdf

Recommended Citation: Connolly, A. J., Lampe, M. (2016). How an Active Learning Classroom Transformed IT Executive Management. Information Systems Education Journal, 14(1) pp 15-27. ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of EDSIGCon 2015)