Goals and Additions to the Program:
Over the Spring, the IM Department held the annual Steering Committee Meeting (open to all MIS alumni and friends of the program), as well as the IM Advisory Council Meetings. In these discussions we dove into what we can be doing to continually improve the coursework as well as the program overall.
Below are some updates on how we are trying to make iterative changes to improve the MIS student experience.
Be Language-Agnostic in Intro to Programming class:
Starting this fall, Professor Katie Gray will be introducing several new aspects to the Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming class (MIS 304).
- New language-agnostic curriculum that focuses on underlying programming concepts (branching, loops, data structures, etc.), rather than the specifics of Visual Basic syntax.
- Homework assignments in Visual Basic, an ideal language for an introductory course since it was designed to help beginners translate human language into computer commands.
- Students will be exposed to code in Java and C# and give short presentations on a variety of other languages, including Objective-C and Python.
- Students will also be responsible for peer code review to reinforce the importance of well-documented, easy to maintain code.
This focus on underlying principles coupled with exposure to several other languages should give the students a robust toolkit for upper division courses, internships, and full time positions.
Educate students about what MIS really offers:
This Fall the IM Program is teaming up with Career Services to host an MIS Lunch & Learn event. IM has noted that many students considering majoring in MIS sometimes assume the career paths in MIS to be one-track in nature. The goal of this event is to illuminate all the opportunities that exist for MIS majors, and to clarify that the choices aren't limited to merely “Industry versus Consulting.” We plan to:
- Highlight the large number of industries (energy, banking, healthcare, retail, products, high-tech, etc.) that demand MIS majors.
- Help those interested in consulting understand the different layers in the field (e.g. Management, Strategy, IT, Security, and more).
- Bring a diverse sample of companies and alumni to the Lunch &Learn to show students all the paths one can take with an MIS degree.
After the panel and questions, we’ll host a food and networking hour with students.
Encourage better knowledge management in capstone course:
Students in the 374 class are becoming teachers themselves. In the past we created some very creative projects for a diverse set of clients such as food trucks, state agencies, real estate firms, publicity companies, non-profits, and more! The goal of this class is to:
- Have it run like a consulting firm
- Ensure that we don’t lose knowledge capital after students leave.
- Have student groups find new tools and techniques that can be helpful to other students in future semesters. We now have these students package their findings, or even write labs that will be hosted on a Resource page on 374’s class website.
This has helped new groups avoid having to reinvent the wheel, and also aided them in hitting the ground running with sandbox environments and page templates, which increase the productivity of the team, and add value for the client.
Increase Mobile Development and Big Data
- Josh Rock is now bringing in more mobile development by covering iOS development in MIS 365. Rock is also introducing Hadoop technologies, such as Map-Reduce and HDFS, as well as ecosystem technologies such as Hive and Pig, amongst others.
- Edward Doan is now covering HTML5 web apps in addition to the usual topics of Java programming and Android app development.
- 333K project now integrates tools like Twitter Bootstrap to speed up web development styling, and the K project is now comprised of about 15% mobile.
- Now all Intro 304 students will cover some element of mobile development before the end of the class.
Pull more research into Core MIS course:
Our hope is to start pulling in more tenured faculty expertise and research into the 301 Intro course, so that students are able to tap into the vast knowledge and research the program has to offer.
- This year we hope to improve the topics of Data Mining, Social Media, IT Strategy, and Search Advertising by pulling in cases and findings from our amazing tenured faculty that teach and research in these areas.
Improve "experience sharing" about internships amongst students:
We realize that the depth of experience that all our students gain in their internships is really an untapped resource.
- In a continued effort to educate students in all the opportunities present in MIS, we are trying to find a way to create a network amongst students that will allow them to share details with all BBA’s about an internship’s roles, responsibilities, and experiences.
- The issue we are coming up against is protecting privacy, so this is still a work-in-progress. We may end up having student’s papers or profiles posted internally for other students to review.
Encourage Engagement with alumni:
Alumni are constantly telling us that they want to come back and get involved. MIS is focused on creating more ways to pull in alumni when we hold MIS Info Sessions, or when we throw student events that don’t simply have a recruiting focus.
- Our goals are to aid alumni from a networking point of view, and also have students connect with fellow MIS graduates before they leave, as well as companies.
- We encourage all alumni to consider getting involved with the MIS Steering Committee Meeting each February.
If you'd like more details contact the program at IROMIMProgram@mccombs.utexas.edu
. Each Fall you are also invited to come back to the McCombs Alumni BBQ, where we plan to have a MISA meetup table for current students and alumni of the MIS program.