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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Information Systems Curriculum Using an Ecological Model

Information Systems Curriculum Using an Ecological Model
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Author(s): Arthur Tatnall (Victoria University, Australia) and Bill Davey (RMIT University, Australia)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch314


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To those of us involved in research and teaching in information systems (IS), it is clear that curriculum innovation and change is complex, and anything but straightforward. The amount of control that individual IS academics have over the curriculum varies between universities. In some cases there is complete control over curriculum content whereas in others just control over delivery with content determined externally. This article concentrates on the former situation but still has some relevance to the later. All curriculum innovation is complex (Fullan, 1993) due to the involvement of a large number of human actors, but in information systems curriculum change this is particularly so due to the need to consider the part played by such non-human actors (Latour, 1996) as the technology itself. We will argue that if you want to understand how IS curriculum is built, you need to use models and metaphors that relate to how people interact with each other, with the environment, and with non-human artifacts. One such approach is provided by the ecological metaphor described in this article in which we argue that systems of education may be seen as ecosystems containing interacting individuals and groups. The interactions between these will sometimes involve co-operation and sometimes competition, and may be interpreted in terms of these forces along with mechanisms for minimizing energy expenditure. In this article we will examine the application of this metaphor to curriculum change in information systems.

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