Innovative Teaching in Systems Analysis and Design - an Action Research Project
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Systems Analysis and Design is a key subject in Information Technology courses, but students do not find it easy to cope with, since it is not “precise" like programming and not exact like Mathematics. It is a subject working with many concepts, modeling ideas into visual representations and then translating the pictures into a real life system. To complicate matters users who are not necessarily familiar with computers need to give their inputs to ensure that they get the system the need. Systems Analysis and Design also covers two fields, namely Analysis, focusing on the analysis of the existing system and Design, focusing on the design of the new system. To be able to test the analysis and design of a system, it is necessary to develop a system or at least a prototype of the system to test the validity of the analysis and design. The skills necessary in each aspect differs vastly. Project Management Skills, Database Knowledge and Object Oriented Principles are all necessary. In the context of a developing country where students enter tertiary education underprepared and the digital divide is alive and well, students need to be motivated to learn the necessary skills, get an opportunity to test it in a “live" but protected environment – within the framework of a university. The purpose of this article is to improve the learning experience in Systems Analysis and Design through reviewing the underlying teaching principles used, the teaching tools implemented, the observations made and the reflections that will influence future developments in Systems Analysis and Design. Action research principles allows the focus to be on a few problematic aspects during a particular semester.