Collecting IT scholarship: the IT-thesis project.
DOI: 10.1145/1631728.1631762 Conference: Proceedings of the 10th Conference on Information Technology Education, SIGITE 2009, Fairfax, Virginia, USA, October 22-24, 2009
In 2006 it was proposed that one significant factor defining an IT research agenda was the scholarly work published in theses and dissertations from universities with IT graduate programs. It was concluded that a repository of IT research was necessary both to facilitate access to this body of work and to make it possible to do a bottom-up analysis of existing work. This paper reports on the status of our efforts to implement the repository that was proposed. A repository for theses and dissertations has been implemented and about 100 thesis abstracts of interest to scholars in IT have been made available. Many provide links to the text of the electronic source documents. The current repository is small, but useful for students and other researchers as a window on current student research efforts. Here we discuss the design and implementation of the repository along with the issues we have encountered in early efforts to populate it. We also discuss the issues discovered while developing analysis techniques for the repository and proposed improvements. We solicit involvement of the IT community in locating and entering relevant documents into the repository located at http://it-thesis.appspot.com
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ABSTRACT: The IT model curriculum represents an excellent starting point toward understanding more about IT as an academic discipline. The early 1990s saw the emergence of the Internet from the environs of the technical cognoscenti into the dot-com world with an interface for the masses. Additionally, the personal computer had reached the point that essentially everyone in all enterprises had one, and used it heavily. The increased complexity and importance of computing technologies for the success of organizations and individuals led to a growing need for professionals to select, create, apply, integrate, and administer an organizational IT infrastructure. Organizations typically filled these positions using individuals with widely varying backgrounds whose educational experiences often provided poor preparation for the demands of the position. The skill sets needed for the new breed of network and system administrators were not provided by the more algorithmically and analytically oriented computer science programs of the time. Moreover, information systems programs, with the business education requirements of their accreditation bodies, were equally unwilling or unable to include the technical depth required. In response to this new educational need, programs arose such as those from Purdue University and Pennsylvania College of Technology, which were called Information Systems (IS) and Computer Science (CS) respectively, but were something else entirely. These programs, and others like them, had sprung up independently and spontaneously to satisfy the needs of employers for workers with skills in networks, distributed systems, and beginning in the mid-1990s, the Web. By the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000, there were at least 17 institutions around the U.S. that had or were forming programs with similar characteristics, and which were most commonly called "Information Technology." The largest of them was at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY, with over 600 undergraduate students, as well as a sizable master's program. On the national level, other factors were developing that also contributed to the emergence of the IT discipline. The Computing Sciences Accrediting Board (CSAB), which had long been the primary accrediting body for CS education, was joining with ABET, which accredits engineering and technology programs. Within ABET both the newly formed Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) and the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) had noticed the emerging IT programs, and were wondering under which commission IT would best fit. It was in this lively environment that a group was formed that would guide IT through the period of defining its own model curriculum, its place with respect to the other computing programs already extant, and its own accreditation criteria. The Society for Information Technology Education (SITE) was formed in December 2001, with participation from 15 institutions with programs that could be considered to be IT programs. SITE later became SIGITE (a special interest group of the ACM) in the summer of 2003. At this first meeting in December 2001 (the Conference on Information Technology Curriculum, or CITC-1), committees were formed to formulate accreditation criteria and a model curriculum; and a Delphi study was conducted to determine which topics the participants thought should be covered in an IT program. At this meeting, the community also started work on a succinct definition of the discipline of IT, an effort that eventually cumulated in the following definition: "IT, as an academic discipline, is concerned with issues related to advocating for users and meeting their needs within an organizational and societal context through the selection, creation, application, integration and administration of computing technologies." Another conference was planned for the following April and the momentum continued through CITC-2 (April 2002), CITC-3 (September 2002), and CITC-4 (October 2003), which was also SIGITE 2003.
Conference Paper: The IT thesis project: a slow beginning.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In 2009 a repository was created to hold the body of masters theses and dissertations for IT degrees across the country. Before this, there was no central location where researchers could easily access these documents. Analysis of this repository has helped propose a research agenda for the IT discipline. The themes of IT research themselves were not surprising, but gathering the research to populate the repository did yield some surprising results. Much of the work done by IT graduate students simply is not readily accessible to the rest of the world. This makes it appear as though there are less IT graduate students than we thought, and the repository is currently only populated with just over 100 theses and dissertations. The presentation of the repository at SIGITE 2009 yielded good community support. There have been enhancements and upgrades for the repository in the last year, but we have as yet seen little community participation in the actual submission of IT research.
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