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MIS Curriculum Update

MIS Curriculum Taskforce

About a year ago a committee of corporate partners, alumni, and faculty were put together to look at the MIS core curriculum for BBA MIS students.  The committee, which met a few times over the year, identified two main concerns that had also been stated in previous Steering Committee and Advisory Council meetings:

  1. The software stacks being used was antiquated and in need of an update
  2. Students for whatever reason seem to fear or avoid being technical

From these two concerns the team identified two attainable goals:

  1. Increase the technical rigor and tools being used in the program starting specifically in Intro Programming and Web Application Development classes.
  2. Educate students better on why technical skills are a good thing to have as an MIS major and their career.  Also attempt to break down misconceptions of MIS careers as it relates to topics such as “Industry vs Consulting”, “Small company vs Big Company”, or “Technical vs Non-Technical”.

What is now different as of Fall 2015?

Intro Program (304): Now MIS students will begin on Python, Eclipse, and PyDev in MIS 304. 304 professors are also pushing for even more emphasis on OOP topics in this class and Data Structures.  Moving from Visual Basic to Python will also put students in a good position to move into more Analytics-related classes.

Web Application Development (333K): Katie Gray spent the large part of her summer thinking about how she would teach 333K.  Now the class will build on what is has done but also include many new concepts.  The class will use HTML5, JavaScript, JQuery, Bootstrap, Visual Studio, C#, Entity Framework, including ASP.Net MVC and Identity.  Katie also gotten a grant from Microsoft to host everything on Azure so the class will no longer use onsite hosting.  Lastly Katie acquired a grant from Azure to acquire GitHub repositories for all her students.  Don’t worry…there still will be the “killer” project at the end of the semester.  ConocoPhillips has already agreed to sponsor the winners.   Other concepts to be included in 333K will be Design Patterns, Test Driven Development, and UX/UI Design.

Business Systems Development (374): The “client project” class will also see some updates.  One of the biggest updates is where it will be taught.  Thanks to a gift from Deliotte Consulting, McCombs now has two state-of-the-art classrooms called the Active Learning Centers, which are modeled after Deloitte’s own training facility to embrace more group-based learning.  MIS374 which has always been a more “group based” class is now doing more group work and hands on activities such as process modeling, mock Agile standups, and rapid prototyping sessions.  While the class pushes an “iterative method” it is constantly looking at how to teach students to embrace an “agile mentality” in every aspect of their communication, design, and project management.

New class proposal

Josh Rock, MIS Lecturer, has also proposed bringing back the “IT Entrepreneurship” elective and this is currently moving forward for approvals.  If approved this may be offered next year.