Making Information Systems Less Scrugged: Reflecting on the processes of change in teaching and learning
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Deep and shallow learner approaches are useful for different purposes. Shallow learning can be good where fact memorization is appropriate, learning how to swim or play the guitar for exam- ple. Deep learning is much more appropriate when the learning material present involves going beyond simple facts and into what lies below the surface. When students are asked to think about how facts are created and what they mean, then deep learning is needed. Deep learning requires students to think about the conceptual material used to construct a theory and to reflect on its meaning until they understand and can reconceptualise the item under study. Some forms of learning are more conducive to approaches that do not need deep reflection, although this process invariably brings greater learning potential. This paper outlines a course that was considered by the authors to be 'scrugged'. The word scrugged is defined as 'rough' as in "it's been a scrugged day." This word arose in a teaching and learning environment in South Australia and was shared on a social networking site. Use of this term seems appropriate in a discipline based on continual change. The rough 'scrugged' approach of the standard information systems fare presents a real problem for Information Systems (IS) Academics because it gives IS the 'shallow' treatment. It is at best a loosely joined mix of concepts coming from multiple directions which does not present a useful framework for theory and instead presents a very thinly constructed grouping of concepts that are superficially treated. The shallow conceptual structure leaves no room for reflective thinking, learning or critical thinking. What results is a good understanding of what kinds of in- formation systems exist, but a very shallow understanding of disciplinary themes and meaning beyond simple artefacts. In this paper, we outline an approach to a course which moved students from shallow repetitive tasks to deep reflective learning around the concepts of Information Sys- tems and discuss the long term implications for Information Systems teaching.
Journal of Information Technology Education
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Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy