Improving the chances of getting your IT curriculum innovation successfully adopted by the application of an ecological approach to innovation

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Tatnall, Arthur and Davey, Bill (2003) Improving the chances of getting your IT curriculum innovation successfully adopted by the application of an ecological approach to innovation. Informing science, 7. pp. 87-103. ISSN 1521-4672


University curricula in Information Technology (IT) necessarily require frequent change, updating and even complete revision due to advances in technologies, new methodologies, and changes in how people and organisations make use of computers. We argue that curriculum change, which is a complex process that involves many actors, should be seen through the lens of innovation theory and studied as an innovation. To understand curriculum innovation it is useful to examine how interactions between both human and non-human entities contribute to the final curriculum product, and this paper discusses theories of innovation and proposes an ecological approach to the building and re-building of university curriculum in IT. Ecology is concerned with interrelationships: between different living things, and between living things and their environment. Building on our previous work in this area, in the paper we explain the ecological approach by its application to several specific case studies in IT curriculum innovation. We use this ecological approach in an attempt at explaining why some elements of IT curriculum innovation are adopted successfully whilst others are not. Interesting as this might be from a theoretical academic perspective however, an explanatory theory is much more relevant if it can also be used practically. While we make no claim to being able to predict the success or failure of an IT curriculum innovation, we do suggest that this approach can be used to improve its chances of success. We argue that by making use of an ecological approach it is possible to improve the chances that a particular curriculum innovation will be adopted and used successfully.

Item type Article
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Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Historical > RFCD Classification > 280000 Information, Computing and Communication Sciences
Keywords IT curriculum innovation, IS curriculum innovation theories, technology adoption, socio-technical factors, ecosystems, ecological model, environmental interactions diagram
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