S2-COMP9-2 - Information Systems Students’ Impressions on Learning Modeling Enterprise Architectures

3. Research Full Paper
Ville Seppänen1 , Mirja Pulkkinen1, Toni Taipalus1, Jarkko Nurmi1
1 University of Jyväskylä

This Full Research Paper presents enterprise architecture (EA) modeling tools utilized in an educational context. EA is a well–known and a commonly used approach for organizational development aiming to improve the alignment of business
operations and information technology. This high level design of information technology (IT) driven business operations lays the foundations on lower level technical activities such as the design and implementation of application programs and features, system boundary interfaces, database distribution and data pipes, and system recovery. Organizations’ architectures are made visible by creating EA artefacts, such as business process diagrams, data models and development roadmaps for the betterment of a holistic understanding and future planning of organizational IT solutions. It follows that IT students as future IT professionals need to understand the high level organizational IT landscape in order to understand, for example, software interface design, feature prioritization, and the evaluation of suitable technologies. Although EA is one of the core competency areas of the academic information systems graduate curriculum, the means of teaching EA are seldom discussed, and studies specifically focusing on modeling EA are lacking. In this paper, we report our experiences on teaching a practical course on EA, and our findings based on data collected from students who took the course. By discussing our findings in relation to a widely acknowledged competency model for graduate degree programs in information systems as well as prior research, we conclude that it is possible to effectively teach the modeling of some of the most essential EA artefacts with different tools. Perhaps most importantly, our findings show that modeling tools that are strict in EA standard conformance are perceived easier to learn and use by students, than merely illustrative tools with lenient or nonexistent conformance checks.