FAYETTE, Iowa (April 16, 2014) – Upper Iowa University has redesigned its academic programs to create the Organizational Information Systems and Technology Program (OISTP), which includes majors in information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) that will be offered on the Fayette campus and online starting next fall. A minor in software engineering (SE) will be offered on campus this year and then added as an online option the following fall.
Dr. James Jacobs, assistant professor of Information Technology and chief architect of the new program, explained that OISTP is a redesign of the curriculum that maximizes the relationship between IS, IT and SE using a model common to every organization to manage information and communication. "The model is based on the premise that all organizations need to use technology, manage technology, maintain technology and develop technology and software," Jacobs said. "The IS, IT and SE components work together to accomplish these tasks while each component has its own area of expertise."
"Our UIU online students have been expressing interest in being able to complete an information technology degree, so it is especially important that we can offer these majors online," added Barb Schultz, assistant vice president for the UIU Center for Distance Education. "At Upper Iowa University, we pride ourselves in supporting the educational goals of our students who are located all over the world. Our online program allows working adults to balance the demands of career and family while completing their coursework at any time of the day. This new program is designed to enable online students to become competitive in professions that are in in high demand."
The updated curriculum follows the guidelines for academic standards, established by the Association of Computing Machinery, Jacobs added. "OISTP is an integrated curriculum through which all three disciplines are integrated with shared computer science courses that provide the necessary insight and collaboration between the disciplines. The students become proficient in their respective discipline but also functionally aware of the other disciplines and their role within an organization. This approach not only maximizes student learning but also maximizes their value to the businesses which employ these graduates. They have terrific professional potential in today's information-driven society."
"The new program structure creates a learning environment that better emulates how these graduates will interact in their profession," Jacobs said. "The program also provides students with greater flexibility in their educational decision. For example, if they start out as an IS major and decide that IT is a better fix (or vice versa), they are able to change without losing ground academically."
The primary difference between the majors is the roles they play in an organization, according to Jacobs. IT professionals provide implementation and support for technology and software used by the organization. IS provides the bridge between the organization's needs and IT and SE, which builds and maintains the technology to meet those needs. Although all students will understand both business and technology, students take courses to specialize in their chosen field. IT students focus on understanding technology; IS students focus on understanding business. Jacobs added that there are substantial job opportunities in fields related to handling computer-based information, with starting salaries over $50,000.
"The main goal of OISTP is to give the UIU graduate the best possible starting point at the beginning of their career by providing a firm understanding of their role in an organizational context as well as the technical 'know-how' required for today's information-driven society," Jacobs said.
Information about the Upper Iowa OISTP program is available at www.uiu.edu/academics/majors/dmit/index.html.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 6,200 students – nationally and internationally – at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
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