Computer Programming Course for Non-MIS Business Students: Curriculum, Perception and Enrichment

Samer Y. Al-Imamy
2017 IOSR Journal of Business and Management  
Computer programming is introduced to different disciplines in many universities and schools around the world for several objectives, including the Information Technology competency and curriculum requirements. Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University (PMU) in Saudi Arabia set six distinctive competencies as learning outcomes to its undergraduate programs. As a fulfillment to PMU's technology requirement, programming is introduced as an elective course served by the Management Information Systems
more » ... S) department to the College of Business Administration (COBA) students within most of its majors. The reasons of teaching such a course to majors like Accounting, Finance and Business Administration are sometimes unclear to students. The confusion leads to lack of interest, which, in combination with the coding complexities, relinquishes the objectives of the course within the curriculum. Therefore, a new approach is needed to make this course well perceived and utilized by the attendees of different disciplines. The new approach involved introducing the programming logic through graphical tools before dealing with the complicated coding. This research proves that such an approach is easy, useful and versatile. It was also found to be positively related to students' performance and conformance with their expectations. Keywords: First programming language, visual logic, logic first, teaching tools, visual environment, IT competency, curriculum, teaching programming to non-IT students.  Ability to use computer applications.  Understanding the computing concepts.  Ability to use the technology to solve new problems. The first point is the easiest to achieve. Most university students come with a thorough knowledge in different applications. However, technical applications such as Microsoft Excel and Access need to be introduced formally to enhance their skills. Using applications (1 st bullet) is not enough to use the technology in solving problems (3 rd bullet). Therefore understanding computing fundamental concepts is necessary for the students to be able to add innovation into the problems they face and may even be able to introduce new solutions and applications. Despite its importance, there were debates about the point of understanding the computing concepts (2 nd bullet). Cuzdialfrom University of Michigan, argued that teaching coding to non-IT students using general purpose programming languages wouldn't be of benefit to students towards the real goal of using technology to solve new problems (Soloway 1993). On the other hand, his colleagues from different universities had different viewpoint which generally supports teaching programming to non-IT students. For its importance, their opinions are included starting with Clancy and Linn from University of California, Berkeley who suggested that instead of rejecting the programming courses, we should introduce case studies relating to students' majors. The same approach is still being used with students of diverse problem-solving and analytical capabilities who are pursuing different majors (Crabtree and Zhang 2015). These discipline related case studies create power users of applications that evident the fun of IT future. DiSessa from University of California, Berkeley, emphasized on the need to make programming easier in learning and use. They also highlighted the requirement for programs
doi:10.9790/487x-1903018795 fatcat:ajadugpbdvgzrivtenea66kley