Yezreel Valley College (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 171 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Information Systems (IS) students have to develop a complete information system as part of their study duties. The project is defined as a team effort that allows an opportunity to practice personal and interdependence skills to ensure team members empowerment and success. The project has a structured framework that follows the life-cycle of a software product, aiming to facilitate the student's progress along the project timeline. The students have to submit an initiation document followed by a system specification document, and then they have to implement a complete software system according to the handed specifications. The initiation document includes a preliminary description of the system, its users, its goals and feasibility tests. The design document includes a list of customers' requirements and a conceptual design of the planned system. The implementation phase includes the development of software in some development environments (e.g., tools, language, libraries, database, etc.) along with user and maintenance guides.

In this study we explore students' decisions regarding the following aspects:
(1) What were the expectations of the students from the final project and how they affected their choice of the project's innovativeness and complexity?
(2) What were the underlying reasons for choosing the programming environments used to implement the software?

Data was gathered from projects' documentation; a questionnaire handed to the entire study participants, and from in-depth interviews conducted with representative group of the study participants. Analysis of the data revealed that as expected, high achievers tend to develop more complex and innovative projects than low achievers, and they tend to use new and innovative technologies that require significant time investments in extension of knowledge gained during studies. On the other hand, low achievers tend to develop simplistic systems, and use merely programming environments they were already familiar with.

Surprisingly, some of the average and low achievers and none of the high achievers tended to use programming environments that were new to them. They did so mainly because they wanted to prove self-learning capabilities in order to impress potential employers, and achieve knowledge in additional programming environments.