Volume 2, Number 27
May 3, 2004
Rand W. Guthrie
Abstract: Most undergraduate IT programs require that students learn some computer programming as soon as possible. We have observed however, that in the subsequent systems analysis courses, students appear to have some difficulty in understanding how the design artifacts they create in their systems analysis course relate to the production of real computer programs. We believe that frequent comparisons of software design artifacts to final code improve students’ ability to create good software designs. We also believe that student programming skill is directly related to software design skill. Two object-oriented systems analysis and design courses were taught at an undergraduate university covering identical concepts and content. One course however was supplemented with examples of working code that related to directly to the analysis and design examples used in the class. At the end of the two courses, the students’ ability to integrate the design artifacts they learned about in class to actual code designs was evaluated through an exam that required shell code writing, reverse-engineering, and design improvement. The results indicated that students who were better programmers scored better on the evaluation exam. Students in the course that used code examples in class also performed significant better than students in the “traditional” course. This implies that students should be taught programming first (with some high-level architectural guidance), followed by the system analysis course. Systems analysis and design courses would also benefit from using code examples that relate to analysis and design constructs.
Keywords: programming, systems analysis and design, learning styles, course integration
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Recommended Citation: Guthrie (2004). Integrating Programming and Systems Analysis Course Content: Resolving the Chicken-or-the-Egg Dilemma in Introductory IS Courses. Information Systems Education Journal, 2 (27). http://isedj.org/2/27/. ISSN: 1545-679X. (Preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2003: §3211. ISSN: 1542-7382.)