Alternative Curriculum Models for Integrating Computer Science and Information Systems Analysis, Recommendations, Pitfalls, Opportunities, Accreditations, and Trends


Computer Science

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As the computing field grows and matures, many schools have added, or are considering adding undergraduate programs in Information Systems that bridge the gulf between Computer Science and Business. Obvious and potentially contentious issues arise, concerning how to position the new degree program, and in which school shall the new program reside. A new program that is created within the College of Business Administration will become a Management of Information Systems degree program, while a new program created within a College of Science, perhaps within the existing computer science department, will become a Information Systems Science (ISS) program or Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. How alternative IS program models interface, overlap, and complement existing business and computer science programs is a curriculum design issue with implications for program accreditation and resource efficiency. The alternatives also define the program's degree of technical orientation and rigor.One particularly important factor in this decision for small institutions is resource efficiency and the synergy with existing programs. Small institutions especially tend to be resource constrained - limited numbers of classrooms, qualified faculty, and funding for computing resources.This paper analyzes the alternative program models and program positioning in regards to resource efficiency, synergy with existing programs, accreditation issues, and faculty concerns. Kennesaw State University's experience of integrating IS and CS in a single department is presented, along with analysis, problems and pitfalls, and recommendations. Finally, an analysis of current trends suggested that enrollment demand, employment opportunities, and emerging technology specializations may favor both program options (MIS and CIS) supported at an institution, a model currently evolving at Kennesaw State University.

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