About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5683-5691
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1372

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

DECREASING THE GAP BETWEEN INFORMATION-SYSTEMS GRADUATES QUALIFICATIONS AND INDUSTRY EXPECTATIONS BY IMPLEMENTING PRACTICUM-BASED APPROACH

I. Lavy

Yezreel Valley College (ISRAEL)
During academic studies, Information Technology (IT) students practice learnt topics by addressing various assignments. The assignments usually refer to one or two topics and the practice is confined to these specified learnt subjects. As a result, the students do not have the opportunity to gain experience of overall implementation of a complete information system.

Previous experience is a mandatory requirement of most employers while recruiting new IT workers. Employers prefer to invest minimal efforts in qualifying new workers and therefore prefer experienced workers to unexperienced ones. As a result, many IT graduates encounter difficulties to find their first job since they do not usually possess working experience.

To bridge employers' expectations with actual knowledge of IT graduates, IT academic programs include a final project in which the students are required to design and implement a complete information system. The final project requires the integration of knowledge the students acquired during their studies into the design and the implementation of the information system. Moreover, it enables them to develop their technical and non-technical (soft) skills. The final project includes an integration of variety of professional issues such as user interface design, database programming, business rules programming, network issues and so forth. The final project is supervised by one of the faculty teaching staff.

Despite the obvious advantages of the project, it has some shortcomings as regards to the students' preparation to vocational career. The students' final project does not necessarily have real client and even if it does, the development process is usually performed outside the client's organization. Moreover, the infrastructure the students use to develop the project is usually decided by them and as a result they prefer to use technologies they are familiar with from their studies and not challenge themselves with using new technologies that are common in the industry.

To address the issue of bridging the gap between industry expectations and graduate actual knowledge, in addition to the final project, a practicum project in which students get the opportunity to experience working in a real company as an apprentice one day a week was initiated. In this paper, the impact of participation in the practicum project on the students' self-perception regarding their readiness towards professional career and regarding their professional maturity was explored.

To unfold the students' perceptions as regards to their engagement in the practicum, semi-structured questionnaires and interviews were conducted. Analysis of the data gained from the semi-questionnaires and interviews revealed that the students found the working in a real workplace beneficial. They reported on acquiring additional knowledge and skills, built social infrastructure to assist them with future job seeking. In addition, they specified the experience they gained that help them build their professional image, and strengthen they self-confidence in their traits and abilities.
@InProceedings{LAVY2018DEC,
author = {Lavy, I.},
title = {DECREASING THE GAP BETWEEN INFORMATION-SYSTEMS GRADUATES QUALIFICATIONS AND INDUSTRY EXPECTATIONS BY IMPLEMENTING PRACTICUM-BASED APPROACH},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.1372},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.1372},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {5683-5691}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Lavy
TI - DECREASING THE GAP BETWEEN INFORMATION-SYSTEMS GRADUATES QUALIFICATIONS AND INDUSTRY EXPECTATIONS BY IMPLEMENTING PRACTICUM-BASED APPROACH
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1372
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 5683
EP - 5691
ER -
I. Lavy (2018) DECREASING THE GAP BETWEEN INFORMATION-SYSTEMS GRADUATES QUALIFICATIONS AND INDUSTRY EXPECTATIONS BY IMPLEMENTING PRACTICUM-BASED APPROACH, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 5683-5691.
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