Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 20

Volume 20 Number 1, Pages 77-86

Spring 2009

Designing IS Curricula for Practical Relevance: Applying Baseball's "Moneyball" Theory

Nanda C. Surendra
James W. Denton

West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506, USA

Abstract: Baseball's "Moneyball" theory states that the baseball market undervalues some attributes (and players with these attributes) that are key contributors to wins while overvaluing other attributes. Teams who correctly evaluate attributes that contribute to wins have higher winning percentages with relatively low payrolls. We applied the Moneyball theory for designing an Information Systems curriculum that could contribute to successful practice. First, we conducted a field study using six organizational case studies to identify skills, traits and attributes valued by IS practitioners as key contributors to successful practice. Next, we compared the skills, traits and attributes emphasized in traditional IS academic curricula (as specified in IS '97 and IS 2002 curricula) with those valued by practitioners. Our case study findings suggest a need for categorizing IS curricula into a framework consisting of three broad categories for practical relevance: (1) Foundational courses based on the traditional IS curricula such as IS '97 and IS 2002, (2) Localized and customized courses that meet the needs of local and regional employers of graduates of each IS program, and (3) Business assessment and systems thinking courses that enable IS graduates to (a) assess and understand organizational requirements and opportunities in ambiguous and messy organizational situations and (b) design systems that accomplish requirements and leverage opportunities. Our case study findings also suggest that the business assessment and systems thinking courses category is considered the most valuable for successful IS practice.

Keywords: Information systems curriculum, Practical relevance, IS practitioner skills and attributes

Download this article: JISE - Volume 20 Number 1, Page 77.pdf

Recommended Citation: Surendra, N. C. & Denton, J. W. (2009). Designing IS Curricula for Practical Relevance: Applying Baseball's "Moneyball" Theory. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(1), 77-86.