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Preparing the future technologist: Critical features of experiential learning activities in an undergraduate Information Assurance (IA) program

, Pepperdine University, United States

Pepperdine University . Awarded


Experience is what employers tell us they want our graduates to have. New graduates lack experience. The changing nature of technical work toward providing solutions to clients present challenges for educators. Learning goes from the transferring of knowledge to social participation in communities of practice.

This study used a 4-round Delphi methodology with a group of expert Information Assurance practitioners to come to consensus on the critical features of experiential learning classroom activities. Professional activities were researched to provide guidance on classroom activities using activity theory as the unit of analysis. This study chose Information Assurance as the community to investigate, which is a microcosm of the challenges and opportunities in the Information Technology (IT) industry today.

The critical features uncovered in this study were as follows: (1) Participating in an individual- or team-based activity; (2) Researching and defining problems to be a people, process, or technology issue; (3) Researching the solution(s); (4) Consider multiple perspectives; (5)  Consider Stakeholder Perspectives: Understanding industry context, organizational context, organizational culture, and the stakeholders' expectations, vision, and objectives; (6) Using a process/methodology when appropriate; (7) Negotiating and delivering deliverables for the stakeholder; (8) Apply best practices to stakeholder problem in a flexible way; (9) Reusing solutions; (10) Considering alternatives and constraints; (11) Meeting the requirements and goals of stakeholders; (12) Using office, Visio, e-mail, security tools (e.g., virus, spyware, sniffers, monitoring, protocol analyzer); (13) Managing communication between peers and stakeholders and the usage of tools to facilitate that communication; (14) Utilizing nontechnical and technical discussions; (15) Utilizing an informal network of peers, which includes the stakeholder, reference resources/libraries, best practices, standards and policies, laws and regulations, the Internet, and associations/user groups/SIGs for career development.

The study uncovered the importance of technical and nontechnical skills in solving stakeholder problems creatively and innovatively. Also, problems and solutions can be people, process, or technology oriented or a combination of the 3. Information Assurance professionals need to have a holistic view of problems to provide solutions to stakeholders. This requires a change in mind-set from educators in how they teach the next generation of IT professionals.


Morneau, K.A. Preparing the future technologist: Critical features of experiential learning activities in an undergraduate Information Assurance (IA) program. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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