Volume 3

Volume 3, Number 19

August 3, 2005

23 pages1389 K bytes

Teaching Soft Skills in a Systems Development Capstone Class

Jack Russell
Northwestern State University
Natchitoches, LA 71497, USA

Barbara Russell
Northwestern State University
Natchitoches, LA 71497, USA

William J. Tastle
Ithaca College
Ithaca, New York 14850

Abstract: Industry recruiters have been telling the same story for many years about the importance of interpersonal communication skills and teaming within the classroom. The most important attribute new college graduates can bring to the workplace is their ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written format. Unquestionably, industry views the student's ability to communicate, ability to cooperate, and ability to work in diverse environments as very desirable and necessary skills. A more rigorous approach to the teaching of soft skills within the information systems curricula is needed if IS educators are able to adequately prepare the IS student for the future. The soft skills most frequently enumerated by industry are the ability to: 1) demonstrate effective interpersonal relations, 2) demonstrate self-management strategies, 3) work within teams, 4) solve problems creatively and 5) make decisions. The authors have described a Model IS Capstone Systems Development Course addressing soft skills. The course is modeled after the IS 2002 Model Curriculum IS 2002-10 course. The authors propose a course content that emphasizes the soft skills needed by the new IS professional. Course Objectives along with a set of behavioral outcomes are presented. An outline of team presentations is highlighted describing the sequence of the presentations. The authors describe how teams are formed and how the team leaders are chosen. The authors also discuss how both team and individual performance is evaluated. The authors recommend that a capstone class include a set of objectives similar to those presented to better prepare the IS graduates of today and tomorrow for a career that requires much more than technical prowess.

Keywords: soft skills in IS, interpersonal skills in IS, communication skills in IS, capstone IS Course

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Recommended Citation: Russell, Russell, and Tastle (2005). Teaching Soft Skills in a Systems Development Capstone Class. Information Systems Education Journal, 3 (19). http://isedj.org/3/19/. ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2004: §2224. ISSN: 1542-7382.)