Strategies for Facilitating Learning in Multinational Groups Studying Information Systems Design



This chapter discusses strategies we have developed for teaching information systems design to multinational groups of students. The focus is on a particular branch of information systems development—database design—which the authors had been teaching for a number of years in their respective institutions. We discuss the way in which we adapted the course content in response to the diverse experiences of a multinational group of students. Database design can be seen as an exercise in modelling a real-world situation. The structure of a database therefore represents the knowledge acquired by its designers through their discussions with various stakeholders. Importantly, the situation under investigation might be perceived differently by individual stakeholders particularly if these have different cultural backgrounds and expectations. The cultural background of the designers themselves may also be of great significance. For these reasons, we take the view that culture is an asset which should be utilised in our teaching. This has led us to an approach based on guided learning within a simulation of a real-world development project. This involves organising students into diverse groups and using a case study that places database design into a sociological and multicultural context. The case study we have developed is based on the services offered by an academic library. There is a great deal of room for discussion in a diverse group about precisely what services students feel an academic library should offer and what their individual experiences have been of libraries they have used prior to joining our course. Some of these discussions relate to the role the library has in the type of teaching and learning strategies employed in the UK which may be different from strategies that the students have encountered before. We report on the way we have used the library case study with a number of multinational groups of students to explore the way in which systems development is a social exercise as well as a technical one.


Multinational teaching Multicultural teaching Information systems design Database design Guided learning 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing and EngineeringUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK
  2. 2.College of Engineering and TechnologyAjman UniversityAjmanUnited Arab Emirates

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