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Impact of Hands-On Research Experience on Students’ Learning in an Introductory Management Information System Course


  • We thank Berntsen, Inc., for providing the equipment and supporting the project. We also thank Steve Henderson, City of Gulf Shores, for his help in conducting the experiment. This project was funded by the Geospatial Research and Applications Center (GRAC), Auburn University.

Corresponding author.


Although students in Introductory Information Systems courses are taught new technology concepts, the complexity and constantly changing nature of these technologies makes it challenging to deliver the concepts effectively. Aiming to improve students’ learning experiences, this research utilized the five phases of design science methodology to develop an experiment to solve a real-world problem, and then implemented it in an undergraduate classroom. As part of their classwork, students participated as subjects testing new information technologies to solve a real-world problem. They were asked to complete a questionnaire and answer questions in a focus group to assess the effectiveness of the technologies tested and determine whether the experience had added to the learning they gained from the course. The results revealed that the students were able to use the new technologies effectively and provide useful feedback to the company sponsoring the study, contributing to the release of a new commercial product line. Students also reported that participating in this research project improved their satisfaction with the introductory MIS course. These results encourage educators to conduct hands-on experience involving real-world research projects since they provide valuable additional learning opportunities in introductory MIS courses.