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When I've found the Module Titles of the Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Business IT courses, one module draws my attention. That is "Research in Information Technology". In this module, I have to learn 8 units. All of them are designed to give students knowledge and understanding of information sources used in academic research, how to enhance businesses capabilities using IT and supporting technologies for businesses. Moreover this module also expects to develop intellectual, practical and transferable skills of students.
This module covers a variety of topics relating to academic research and Information Technology. As I'm learning through this module, I get knowledge for appraising Information sources, conducting literature survey, presentation and assessing peers' presentation, studying information systems in socio technical approach, organizations and their information needs, and applying theoretical frameworks in real world situations. Moreover I also get skills on scheduling effective study plan, working as part of team and delivering effective presentations. In my opinion, this "Research in IT" module gives valuable knowledge, understanding and skills for postgraduate l student.
Critical account of learning
In my life as a postgraduate student, to get effective learning is the most important learning objective. Therefore I must use my time effectively, prepare well for assessments, try to deliver presentation and try to communicate well with fellow students, lecturers and all others I have to deal with.
The topics covered in this first unit are familiar with us. I have knowledge of what to do in my learning life. However I didn't know how to make my learning more effective before I've learned this topic. Now I know how to manage my scarce time to tackle tasks in my daily student life. Moreover this unit also gives me knowledge on working with team.
I have strategies to well prepare for assessments through effective note taking and sustained revision. I also have plans to prepare and write my coursework. Moreover presentations are playing very important role in my student life. They are important for both student life and career life. So I need to have effective presentation skills. These effective presentation skills are also covered in this unit. Moreover I have to assess presentations from my peers. Peer assessments are also important in my student life. Peer assessment considerations are also contained in this topic. Apart from productive skills such as writing and presentation, this topic also cover receptive skill, listening. Therefore I get knowledge and strategies for how to listen to get most information.
Accordingly this unit gives us both practical skills and transferable skills. These skills are very useful in conducting our Project. Moreover they reinforce my existing knowledge. This knowledge is useful for my whole life.
The unit (2) of Research in Information Technology describes the fundamentals of academic research and the research process. Firstly the definitions of research from various authors are described. So I know what the research is. Actually I use the word research in my student life. But I didn't know what it means. After I've learned this unit, I know what research is in details. Together with research definition, another related definition is also covered. That is definition of theory. The definition of theory, theory topologies and the relationship between theory and research are also useful for my postgraduate study.
After I've studied the definition of research, the next topic is research questions and hypothesis. Therefore I know how to initiate the research. Then research classification makes me to understand different type of research.
The next topic in this unit is research process. In this topic I've learned considerations of the way in which research may be approached and five layers research process. Therefore I get knowledge on research philosophy, research approach, research strategy, time horizons and data collection methods. I now understand what the research philosophy is. Moreover I know about research approach including different type of research design such as deductive, inductive. Different Type of research methods are also described in this topic. I also know research strategy and research credibility.
The topics in this unit give me the overall research process. The information and knowledge it describes are valuable for my postgraduate study. However this unit covers only high-level definitions, processes and methods of academic research. It refers to the book "Research method for business students". Details are not covered in main text. This unit also important for our Group research project.
The next unit, unit (3) describes details about literature review, an important task in doing academic research. After I've studied this unit, I understand different categories of information sources and their use in research. I also have ability to critically appraise the quality of different information sources.
Firstly I understand literature review's definition and why it is done. I realize that it is an important task in research. Then literature sources and classification of such sources are described. So I get information about the purpose of each sources and suitability for research.
I also know strategies in conducting literature review including search techniques. Moreover different methods of reading literature are also described. I get knowledge of skimming, scanning and detail reading and how to use them in my literature review process. Moreover I also gain knowledge on managing the result of a literature survey.
This unit also gives me knowledge on how to prepare a good literature review. "Elements of a good review" is also an important topic in this unit. In writing review, there are important facts to be considered such as citation and plagiarism. How to cite and reference other's work in my own work is also important in doing research. Citation and referencing methods are described. Moreover strategies to avoid plagiarism in my own work are also described in this unit.
Accordingly I can use the strategies and concept of literature review in my research project.
The next unit titled "Information Systems: an Emerging Discipline" describe all information regarding to the Information Systems. Before this unit, I only understood information system as computer based system that can process data into information. However, now I know that is not essence of information system.
The first introductory topic in this unit describes Information Systems as Socio-Technical Systems which are influenced by individuals' or groups' value, beliefs and goals. Moreover such systems are also influenced by the performance of technology. I also study the difference between disciplines such as Computer Science, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering and Information Systems.
Later this unit describes Information System in Technical Context and Organizational Context. Therefore I gain knowledge that technology and social context are shaping each other. I also get knowledge on research perspectives for information systems research. The different research perspective can give me information to select suitable topic for investigation and to define clear research objectives.
I also learn approach to assess technology usage in organization, the socio-technical approach. Now I know that Socio-Technical system is formed by interrelationship between technical system components and social system components. Therefore I have knowledge of the case for a socio-technical approach to studying Information Systems.
After I've learned this unit, I gain valuable knowledge and understanding on Information Systems. Although all aspect of information systems is covered, Socio-Technical approach is only a brief. I'll be more understand and argue the case of Social-Technical approach if more details are covered. But this unit itself helps me in my research project.
In the next unit, general system theory and system thinking are described. I have had knowledge on how system works and general system thinking. Therefore the first topic of this unit reinforces my existing knowledge. A general system consists of inputs, process and outputs. System has boundary and it interacts with environment. These concepts are basic concepts of general system theory. In this concept in mind, we can consider everything as a system so we can understand something we haven't seen before easily.
Keeping this concept in mind, I've also learned how to study an organization. In order to do so, frameworks are described to study an organization as a system. I get knowledge and understanding of value chain, business processes and work centered analysis. This knowledge can help us in studying organization as a system.
Moreover, a popular methodology, soft system methodology, is also described in this chapter. Therefore, I get knowledge of what soft system methodology is and its stages. A brief description of rich picture and CATWOE are also described in this unit. However, in my opinion software system methodology described here is very brief. A more detail should be described.
Accordingly, I get skill to examine the different theoretical approach to study and understand organizations as systems. It is help much in studying socio-technical impact of Internet on organizations. This is also important in my life, both academic and professional career.
While organizations are working for their own objectives, one by-product is produced without respect to type of organization. That is information. Nowadays, organizations realized that that information can move an organization to its competitive edge if used it effectively.
In this unit, "Information Systems in an Organizational Context", I've studied historical overview of how data processing systems become today's decision support system. Then I've studied usage and application of information systems by different organizational level. So now I understand which information systems are used at which organizational level and why they are used.
Moreover I also know different types of Information Systems which are used in organizational context. For each type of those information systems, I've also studied why they are used and their high level architecture.
After I've learned this chapter, I can explain why information systems are used in organizational context. And I can also distinguish between different types of information systems based on their usage in organizational context and their high level architecture. However, I also need to study details about each type of information system and how I can customize them to compatible with different situation.
The next unit, "Information Technology Development", describes all technological development in IT industry. In the introduction, I've studied modern businesses and the needs of Information and Communication Technology usage. Then convergence of computing and telecommunication is described. I've also learned networks and next generation networking. Then concepts of Internet, Intranet and Extranet are described. Moreover the growth in usage of such networks is also described.
After that, I've studied a popular topic "Web 2.0 Concept". I've learned main characteristic of Web 2.0, and applications of Web 2.0. However, all are just only introduction. Details for each concept are not covered.
Nowadays, a new approach for transmitting voice becomes popular. That is Voice over IP (VoIP). This is an approach for transmitting voice (telephone calls) over the Internet. This approach enables a single network to handle all types of communication. Therefore organization can use a single network for data, voice and multimedia. These concepts are also covered in this unit.
Then I've also learned the development in IT such as Mobile, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi access and VPN. Although other developments are covered only in general, this unit covers the topic VPN in details. And then a brief introduction of Next Generation Networking (NGN) is described.
Such topics as database technology development, data mining, and OLAP can also give me understanding and knowledge of databases. Brief description of GIS is also described. Then I've learned E-Business Infrastructure in details. The last but important topic in this unit is Information Security. But this is only in general. Actually Information security concepts are very important for every IT student. Therefore this topic should cover more details.
Accordingly I've learned the significant development in Information Technology after this unit.
The last unit in this subject gives me the ideas of which technology will be developed in the future. In this last unit I get the knowledge on intelligent support system, artificial neural networks, intelligent software agent, future networking infrastructure and mobile commerce. Although all the concepts are just introduction, they give me ideas for my further study.
Moreover I've studied difference between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence, and their capabilities. Then the development of intelligent support systems is also covered in this unit. ANN technology and its application in businesses are also described. A new concept I haven't studied before is intelligent software agent (IA). I've learned this concept in this unit. And the last is Mobile. The concept of mobile networks, mobile commerce and mobile business are also covered in this chapter.
The topics in this unit are only introduction. But they give me valuable knowledge and ideas.
After I've learned all units in this module, I have a practice that I always schedule for my studies. Moreover I also have note taking practice when I read literature. Before I've learned, I know all topics in this module. But learning this module gives me some new opinions, thinking, and ideas on those topics. They help me not only in my academic life but also in my professional career. This module gives me new ideas and reinforces my existing knowledge.