Service Learning
A teaching tool connecting community and classroom

MSc in Information Systems Management

Voluntary Project Work as Part of the Programme MSc in ISM

Programme Director: Chris Barry (chris.barry@nuigalway.ie)
Project Coordinator:
Anatoli Nachev (anatoli.nachev@nuigalway.ie)
Programme: Master of Science in Information Systems Management
Module: Major Project, MS812. Duration: form September to June.
Participants: about 50 students working in teams.
Credits: 30 ECTS

Community Partners: local organisations, charities, and businesses, such as Cancer Care West, HSE-North West, Youth Work Ireland, Defence Forces, COPE Galway, Connacht Rugby, Fitzgerald Design Ltd., Brothers of Charity, Teddy House Creche, Oxfam, Bushy Park National School, Galway Adult Basic Education Service (GABES), AIDS West, Killarney Telecommunications, Meehan's SPAR Galway, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), People with Disabilities in Ireland (PwDI), Galway Traveler Movement, Galway Titans Basketball Club, Return to Tansania charity, etc.

The aim of the projects undertaken by students is to enable them apply the skills they learn on the programme, such as database design, user interface design, applications programming, Web development, business systems analysis, project management, security planning, and e-business strategic thinking, as well as skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communications, and presentation skills. It also affords the opportunity to be involved in civic engagement and volunteering. The project requires students to analyse the operations of an organisation, focus in on a problem area, design a solution to that problem in consultation with the users, and develop and implement that solution.

"The field of Business Information Systems is primarily about helping organisations to solve real problems and grasp opportunities," explains MSc in Information Systems Management Programme Director Chris Barry. "Many people do not fully understand how innovative IT applications can be potentially very beneficial within their workplace, often because they are not aware of the capabilities of technology. This is where our postgraduate students can help".

Support for NUI Galway's service learning strategy is centrally provided by the office of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which also oversees the ALIVE student volunteering programme. Combining classroom theory with community practice, service learning is a teaching tool aimed at connecting students with their community through practical work and has given students the opportunity to see the impact that civic engagement has for the communities they work with, their own learning and the wider society.