Friday, October 05, 2007
One topic covered in MIS is the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), a guideline for identifying the necessities to install a new computer application. We study it from the technical side then after counting off, I divide the class into groups to apply the methodology to something outside the technical arena. Topics may include planning a trip to Hawaii, babysitting the neighbor's dog for a week, buying a new car, etc.
The major benefit that arises from taking a technical concept and applying it outside technical parameters is that students learn that there is similarity across the board when structuring a solution to a problem - regardless where the problem occurs; the methodology is transferable. This kind of application also removes the mystery so often associated with computers.
Another benefit of short in-class activities is that students are randomly assigned to a group via counting-off or alphabetically, one time. Since they are given a specific objective, the group has focus. All barriers just drop - no one is judged on any physical traits - they simply have to work together on a practical application of a technical process.
The groups for these mini projects shift with each topic. Students learn that they can all work with anyone - they get beyond the divisive labels that too many in society want to apply to any respective subgroup.