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ISACA Awards

20 May 2015

ISACA-Awards

(L-R): Bruce Edwards (Vice President, ISACA Wellington), Tiffany Frans, Melanie Blood, and Professor Benoit Aubert (Head of the School of Information Management)

Top INFO 301 students from the School of Information Management (SIM) received prizes during May with presentations of the annual ISACA awards.

ISACA is a worldwide association of IS professionals dedicated to the audit, control, and security of information systems, and their Wellington Chapter has supported SIM with these awards for some years.

The 2014 awards were presented during a ceremony at the School in May by Bruce Edwards (Vice President, ISACA Wellington Chapter).

Award-winning students

Tiffany Frans (Top student award, $800 prize)
Tiffany's research project "3D Printing of Prosthesis at Alice Springs Hospital" looks at the effects an emerging IT concept can have on an organisation. The report evaluates how the proposed IT solution can be used to solve current or recurring issues within in a specific organisation.

Melanie Blood (Best Research Project-1, $200 prize)
Melanie's project "One Stop Government Shop" examined the potential for the New Zealand government to implement big data and predictive analytics systems to improve application processes for social services.

Sundus Alshemami (Best Research Project-2, $200 prize)
Sundus' project is "One Small Step to Vader, One Giant Leap for Mankind: 3D Biomedical Printing at Sunshine Hospital, Andhra Pradesh (Business Process and Value Chain Analysis)". She could not attend this ceremony as she had already returned to her home country, Saudi Arabia.

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Better Record Keeping Needed

8 May 2015

Matthew Lewellen, Victoria PhD in Information Systems.

Matt Lewellen will graduate with a PhD in Information Systems in May

Poor recordkeeping of electronic documents and digital records may lead to a loss of accountability and collective history in public sector organisations, a Victoria Business School PhD graduand warns.

Matthew Lewellen's research on why many public servants baulk at the idea of robust electronic recordkeeping was conducted at the School of Information Management.

"'My Documents' was the death knell to decent recordkeeping," says Matt, who graduates with a PhD in Information Systems in May.

"Back in the old paper days we had records clerks who figured out where our documents needed to go, and their job was to do the filing and properly manage those records.

"Nowadays we're creating documents and records at a furious pace and it’s the end user – the creator of the documents – who is responsible for the filing, but many people lack sufficient motivation to do it correctly, or even at all."

Matt decided to undertake a PhD on the topic after having trouble engaging staff with a new electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) that he was implementing in a public sector organisation.

"I found that if the technology is easy to use, people are more likely to use it – no surprises there. But even if it's really easy to use, you won’t get buy-in if people don’t value its purpose.

"Anecdotally, I’d say 60 to 70 percent of people I talked to were ambivalent or even actively disliked records management, mostly because it was an added layer of responsibility on top of what they were already doing."

The answer to the buy-in problem

The answer to the buy-in problem can be linked to the culture of an organisation, says Matt.

"I came across examples where some staff viewed knowledge as power and didn't always want to 'lose' that power by putting information in the system for others to find and use.

"However, in organisations where everyone wants to share information and work collaboratively, a shared electronic recordkeeping system can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of information sharing.

"It retains the record's context in addition to its content (thereby meeting recordkeeping standards), enables targeted searching, enforces access security rules for sensitive records, and supports workflow and version control – what’s not to like?"

Perceptions about the value of recordkeeping

People's perception about the value of recordkeeping was important as well, Matt found.

"People who value the records they created would muddle through the most poorly designed system to make sure they saved them properly and for the future, but for others it didn’t matter how easy or automated you could make the system, they still wouldn't use it."

Not all documents need to be kept, says Matt.

"What's often lacking in training is the context of helping people to figure out what a record is, why they're capturing it in the first place, and how best to recognise what's record-worthy.

"As well as training people on the importance of recordkeeping, I think there need to be changes to how the technology is implemented to make it easier and more customised for individuals.

"The system may focus on organisational accountability, but it's the users that make it work."

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Dr. Janet Toland awarded ACM History Fellowship 2015

21 April 2015

toland

Dr Janet Toland, senior lecturer in Information Systems at SIM

Dr Janet Toland has been successful in obtaining an Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) History Fellowship for 2015 for her project "Computing opportunities for all: ACM's role in influencing public policy on universal access and education 1960 to 2010".

She will collect data for this project while on her research and study leave at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota during 2015.

The award also includes funding to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October, where Dr Toland will participate in a workshop on the history of the ACM.

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Information Management Student has real App-titude

17 February 2015

NCEA Pal creator Wasim Talim and his sister Zarifah Talim.

VBS student Wasim Talim, creator of the mobile phone app NCEA Pal, with his sister Zarifah Talim

Tracking NCEA credits is now a whole lot easier thanks to a new mobile phone application (app) developed by Wasim Talim, who is currently finishing his studies at Victoria Business School.

Wasim, who is studying information systems and e-commerce at the School of Information Management, was approached by his former high school teacher Jeff King, currently Deputy Principal at Rangitikei College, to help him with a problem.

"He told me his students couldn’t keep track of their studies," says Wasim.

"Students seemed to know where their phones were at all times, but didn’t know how many NCEA credits they had."

The app, known as NCEA Pal, enables students to enter and monitor their credits themselves, rather than waiting for results to go up on the NZQA website, which can take several weeks.

An updated version also links to career advice, showing students potential vocational pathways for the subjects they are studying.

The app is free and can be used offline once installed, has already had about 30,000 downloads, and is currently receiving around 1000 downloads a day.

"My studies definitely helped me with this project – the skills I learnt in class about project management, prototyping and outsourcing, as well as how to communicate with different time zones were invaluable," says Wasim.

He hopes this project will lead to a full-time job in developing educational apps.

"I'm really passionate about it, so it doesn't feel like a job. I've read about it, done all the study and theory and now I'm actually doing it – it's awesome!"

Professor Benoit Aubert, Head of Victoria’s School of Information Management, says the app enables high school students to take responsibility for their own learning and their own decision-making processes.

"We're very proud that a student from our School has developed this app, which can help thousands of students who are wondering what to do when they finish high school."

Wasim's ultimate dream is that NCEA Pal will become iconic over time.

"It would be fantastic if every single student at some point in their education uses something I’ve created."

A Fairfax Media news story has also featured Wasim's mobile phone app; see High marks for NCEA app

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SIM proudly presents: Information Needs Analysis

25 January 2015

Blue book 2015

The School of Information Management is proud to announce the publication of a new book by staff members Dr Dan Dorner and Dr Philip Calvert, and retired staff member Gary Gorman.

Information Needs Analysis: Principles and Practice in Information Organisations has been written to support practitioners in developing an information needs analysis strategy, and offering the necessary professional skills and techniques to do so.

The book will be essential reading for library and information practitioners, team leaders and senior managers. It will also be a core text on course reading lists in departments of library and information studies.

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