CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie P. Dringus

Committee Member

Martha Snyder

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

Approximately half of the information systems (IS) projects implemented each year are considered failures. These failed projects cost billions of dollars annually. Failures can be due to projects being delivered late, over-budget, abandoned after significant time and resource investment, or failing to achieve desired results. More often than not, the failure of a project is not due to technical issues, but due to social and business-related problems. These issues can include a communication breakdown and lack of participation by project stakeholders; lack of a business case and success criteria for a project; failure to review project status, delays and revisions; and unrealistic schedules.

While educators cannot address the issue of project failure in information systems directly, they can target the need to build collaboration skills and sensitivity to project business and social issues in students. The building of these skills and sensitivities can lead to more effective project team members and managers. Conversely, there is little evidence that higher education prepares students to be collaborators.

One goal of this research was to determine to what extent students demonstrated group knowledge construction through online discussion of project issues presented in a real-world business scenarios. The Interaction Analysis Model for Examining Social Construction of Knowledge in Computer Conferencing (IAM) was chosen to measure group knowledge construction through discussions in a series of project problem scenarios. A second goal was to determine to what extent the knowledge construction through group discussion increases students' perceived level of awareness of information systems projects' social and business issues.

Both goals of this research were realized to some extent. This study demonstrated that by the use of scenarios to expose students to typical social and business causes of failure in information systems projects, awareness of these issues could be enhanced between the pre-test and post-test groups. This study also demonstrated that through participation in discussion groups, individuals can demonstrate significant growth in collaboration skills.

Further research should examine a population that has more balance with regard to gender of the participants, and should consider the influence of "guided reflection" provided by instructors.

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