The BIPER project aims to foster a collaborative partnership in order to develop a blended-learning compatible BIS curriculum based on shared values, eLearning experiences, and sound pedagogical principles. While eLearning has been around for over two decades now, the recent global challenge invoked by the COVID-19 pandemic has put online education into the forefront of academic attention – both as a technological opportunity to maintain the continuity of teaching (at all levels of education) and as a challenge to innovate and apply new methodological approaches.
The current pandemic put extra strain and challenge on most universities to retain the quality of their education. It has become clear that innovative approaches are needed – and needed fast: approaches that can help to deliver high-quality education in distance learning format in areas traditionally not well suited for digital training. The challenge concerns not only teaching methods and material but also the teachers and trainers themselves.
The academic field of Business Information Systems is a complex area bridging business and organisational topics with questions of applied information technology. Teaching such a multidisciplinary domain which assumes not only knowledge of theoretical concepts and technical skills to use tools but also a problem centred mindset and related problem-solving abilities is a challenge in itself. However, with the heightened need for high-quality online education (offering both distance or blended learning options in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic) educators of this area face increased difficulties to find appropriate methods and create new content and teaching material. Sharing ideas and experiences regarding what worked and what was less successful could enhance our knowledge of BIS distance education.
BIS education in a classroom context may be characterised by what the literature calls ‘active learning’, which refers to pedagogies that increase and enhance student interaction. This is required by the project-oriented and teamwork-based reality of developing, implementing, and managing IT/IS solutions in an organizational context. Beyond the obvious basics of the trade, interpersonal skills, team building and the ability to combine individual efforts with group work are an essential part of training BIS professionals. While video and audio solutions are usually augmented with less synchronous means such as text messages or sharing files, this still does not make up for lost personal proximity. Using document sharing options and working on the same file together raises new challenges just as much as offering new opportunities. To be successful in this setting of increased complexity and expectations lecturers could use any help they could get – let it be experiences, best practices, successful methodologies, or even ready-made materials.
Methodological innovations are needed that can deliver soft skills along with best practices for teaching and learning such skills. This implies digital education that goes beyond the simple demonstration of how to use some software tools but instead could allow the transfer of complex skills and capabilities required by developing and managing modern computer and data systems. Sharing best practices and experiences between institutions of differing cultures is essential in this regard. Furthermore, new methods, methodologies, and techniques need to be explored as well – solutions that could be used both in a fully online setting and could be successful in the context of hybrid and mixed approach educational settings too.
The planned project aims at allowing consortiums partners to share their knowledge and expertise concerning the above situation and develop a shared pool of resources benefiting both its members as well as the wider BIS education community.
Members of this consortium intend to re-think and re-design BIS curriculum not only under the threats of COVID-19, but on a longer term with the following objectives:
- creating a BIS framework in architectural approach in harmony with the accredited learning outcomes and objectives;
- increase the granularity of BIS learning units and reallocate them along overall BIS framework;
- putting the learning and teaching focus on complex problem-solving and collaborative work;
- enhance the interorganisational collaboration in teaching and learning in the online space via identification and sharing best practices;
- enhance the use of cloud software infrastructure, develop a framework for the improvement of computer soft skills education at the higher education level;
- share (existing) content related to teaching soft computer skills, including but not limited to software development and data analytics;
- develop further opportunities for methodological improvement, develop new methods and content (based on those methods) to teach programming and the use of complex analytical techniques and tools.
WP1 Architecture Context, led by CUB, is aimed at creating a block where students will learn about theories of the modern firm, study the functionalities of an enterprise, understand the (global) value chain, and familiarize themselves with the logic and principles of ERP, CRM, SCM and other enterprise systems. Additionally, they get acquainted with the concept of enterprise architecture and architecture design principles, the role of repositories, granularity, time horizons and preferences. In the second part, they learn about requirement analysis and engineering, stakeholder analysis, strategy development and management, maturity models. All other partner participates in the work.
WP2 Architecture Delivery, led by Claranet, has several parts:
- Business Architecture block is built on the most theoretical background, learnt in business economics and students will learn how to model the enterprise, business process modelling (BPM) with the associated modelling techniques, product/service strategy, organisational processes combined with information flow, baseline and target architectures (As-Is and To-Be), scoping, resource management, risk management, impact analysis. Leading partner: CUB
- The Information Architecture section will address the information system modelling procedures, techniques and tools. Based on the BPM they make one step forward to semantic business process modelling, HIPO, DFD, use-case, UML models. The main focus is given to alignment business architecture with information system architecture, considering the priority of application-driven or data-driven approach. At this point, students are already able to understand the relations among the organisational structure, business processes, information flow and maturity. Application and data management policies will be introduced (e.g. GDPR). Policies will be targeted again in the Architecture Governance pillar from the sustainability re-usability point of view. Leading partner: TIB
- Data Architecture is a subsection of data modelling and data management and at this point many aspects of data science will be introduced: clustering and classification techniques with their mathematical-statistical backgrounds, data warehouse, data mart, data lake concepts, the descriptive, predictive and some of the prescriptive analysis. Also, this section will address topics in what we call Semantic Web: ontologies, RDF structures, open data, and linked data. Leading partner: UWS
- Application Architecture subsection mainly addresses the sector-specific (health, manufacturing, agriculture, administration) reference models, data structures, definitions, reusable artefacts, viewpoints. In harmony with the business logic, business processes methods of application development will be taught. This is the proper time for introducing the project work, students will start on a case study in the frame of practical assignments, preferably in the form of an internship. The result at the end of the formal education might be summarized and presented in the thesis work. Leading partner: UM
- Technology Architecture. In this part, students will be familiar with the advanced computer architecture, network protocols, basics of cloud computing, computer and network security. Also, this part opens into IT service management. Leading partner: Claranet
WP3 Transition Planning and WP4 Architecture Governance are led by University of Maribor. In this part, students will learn about how to evaluate different solutions and how to select the one to be implemented. The main focus is given to priorities and designing transition phases. At this point budgeting, CAPEX/OPEX dichotomy, project management, resource allocation, conflict management are introduced. Architecture Governance covers implementation control, IT service management, IT audit, change management. Handling maturity and the transition phases. All partner participates.
CUB, INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Institute of Information Technology (and its predecessors) at Corvinus University of Budapest has been involved in business Informatics education since 1977. The Hungarian Accreditation Committee accredited the Business Informatics degree programme in 2000, since then we attract annually 200-250 bachelor students and 50 master students. Beside of the BSc and MSc programmes the Institute also offers two postgraduate courses: Information Management and Data Analyst, in average 30 participant in each. The BSc evening classes are also popular, 60-70 students enrol per year. 5-10 students enrol into the Doctoral School of Business Informatics every year. ICT education splits into three main domains in Hungary: Computer Engineering, Software Engineering and Business Informatics. The latter one is a bridge between the core ICT and numerous application areas, including business and administration, manufacturing and service sectors, healthcare, agriculture. Our programme mainly focuses on the business domain, due to the traditions of Corvinus University and the strong liaison with the Corvinus Business School. Due to the nature of the domain, the programme needs to be rejuvenated time-to-time. A large re-engineering happened when the Bologna system came into effect, but tackling with the fast development of ICT, the modernization of structure and content is going on in a yearly basis. The Institute has 39 fulltime staff, all of them has PhD, and 10-15 external co-worker help the education. They are coming from the partner organisations, operating in software, consulting, banking and manufacturing sectors. In the Institute the education and research work distributed among three departments: Information Systems, Computer Science, and Infocommunication departments. Beside of the departmental organisation, horizontally two research groups: Fintech Center and SAP NextGenLab provides good opportunity for research and collaboration among the interested researchers. The research centres give good opportunity for involving students into research and development activities. As a performance measurement we can say, all our graduates find a job, most of them already during their university years, but everybody within 3 months after graduation. with a salary twice as much as of academics.
Claranet Srl is the Italian subsidiary of the Claranet Group. Claranet Agile division is acknowledged as a leader in Agile Software development in Italy, developing solutions and providing technical and methodological coaching and mentoring to large and medium enterprises. Claranet team is a full-remote team with developers and coaches working from different locations. During the years Claranet studied and developed practices for effective remote teamwork that extends the extreme programming practices to the broader product development lifecycle.
The contributions that Claranet will provide in this project are, on one side, bringing the industry perspective to the discussion concerning best practice and approach.
Claranet will therefore incorporate the identified best-practices in specific professional education modules that will enable BIS students to learn how to be excellent members of fullremote development teams with a particular focus on the following domains;
- Remote-first Agile teamwork
- Clean-code software craftmanship
- Remote Product Design
- Dev-ops practices in Cloud Native software architectures
UNIVERSITY OF MARIBOR
University of Maribor is the second largest and the second oldest Slovene university. Approximately 15.000 students study at one of the 17 faculties where they are being taken care of by around 1.800 employees. It carries an extremely important role in the region and plans to further develop in the direction of attracting the most talented students and providing a development context where excellence is at home at all levels. It is turning into a central development institution in constant connection with the economy and, together with its partners, is creating a centre of sustainable development for the wider region. University of Maribor is an autonomous scientific, research and educational institution with the purpose of discovering and nurturing knowledge as well as transferring it into the community through the all-connected fields of humanities, social sciences, engineering, economy, medicine, natural sciences, law, pedagogical sciences and arts. The University of Maribor is an autonomous scientific, research and higher education institution with a special status, which through its activity in certain scientific or professional fields ensures further development of science and professions and through the transfer of knowledge in these fields enables the acquisition of publicly-recognized high-professional, university and postgraduate education. The University of Maribor carries out its mission at the international, national and regional level.
The University provides the development of science, art and disciplines and through its members in the educational process conveys knowledge from the natural, technical and technological, health, agricultural, social sciences and humanities scientific or artistic and professional fields. Through its members, the University may directly organize the implementation of scientific research and study interdisciplinary programs. The Faculty of Organizational Sciences is a founding member of the University of Maribor. It has been involved in research and education in the field of organizational sciences for 60 years. University of Maribor has participated in numerous EU (FP V, FP VI, FP VII, H2020, Erasmus +, etc.), regional and national projects.
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND United Kingdom
With origins dating back to 1897, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) began offering degree studies in the early 1900s and matured to University status in 1992 to be one of UK’s most innovative modern universities. UWS has been ranked by Times Higher Education in their top 500 universities globally. With about 16000 students, UWS has five academic schools, four campuses across the west of Scotland and one in London. While UWS covers an enormous breadth of interests, it is grouped into three key themes – Health, Society, and Sustainability. UWS actively supports and encourages an interdisciplinary approach towards teaching and research. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) each of UWS submissions ranked as having international or world-leading status in terms of their originality, significance and rigor.
UWS aims to expand its international collaborations to be an international knowledge hub for societally important applied research. Sustainability of teaching, learning and research through smart systems is critical societal challenge and multidisciplinary team is crucial for that. The proposed project will build this and therefore promote the position of UWS at this point.
This project is going to be based in the Artificial Intelligence, Visual Communication and Networks (AVCN) Research Centre at UWS, which is a hub of cutting-edge research for Engineering applications of Artificial Intelligence, Optimisation/Scheduling problems in Power Systems and Smart built environment. AVCN has 8 research active members, 5 postdoctoral fellows, and more than 30 doctoral students. AVCN has a proven track record of leading national and international projects from European Commission, Research Councils UK, Innovate UK and Scottish Funding Councils. AVCN has a track record of coordinating Erasmus mundus (SmartLink), Erasmus+ (SunSpace and eACCESS) and technically leading collaborative EU H2020 projects (SELFNet and SLICENet), and has successfully delivered Knowledge Transfer Partnerships projects in areas of education.
TECHNISCHE INFORMATIONSBIBLIOTHEK (TIB)
The Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) ‒ German National Library of Science and Technology ‒ Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and University Library is a public-law foundation of the Federal State of Lower Saxony. It assumed responsibility for operating the German National Library for technology, architecture, chemistry, information technology, mathematics and physics as well as the University Library for Leibniz Universität Hannover. As a central specialised library, it is a national infrastructure facility for the provision of scientific information whose national tasks lend it importance for the country as a whole.
TIB is a member of the Leibniz Association. Its remit is to preserve recorded knowledge and to provide the latest information for research and industry, both now and in the future, irrespective of the time and the place. The aim of TIB is to provide its customers with innovative, efficient and smooth access to data, information and knowledge, and to make large information spaces available to them in a structured, suitable manner.
As the world’s largest specialised library in its fields, the library has excellent collections of technical and scientific specialist and research information. The TIB has outstanding expertise in developing and preserving knowledge, particularly in key areas such as grey literature, conference and research reports, university publications, research data, films and 3D object, literature from East Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as patents and standards. TIB makes its collections available to users as openly and simply as possible via useroriented portals, protecting them for future generations. Key areas are the TIB document delivery, the local TIB services, the AV-Portal, Open Access, negotiating licences and digital preservation.
TIB supports specialist and research communities in their learning and work processes. Researchers, industry, business, teaching staff and practitioners alike benefit from its globally unique collections and reliable cross-media research infrastructure. Knowledge transfer in the realms of research, society and policy is guaranteed by strategic alliances, global networking and active memberships.
TIB conducts applied research and development to optimise the services it offers. The aim is to ensure that its unique collections, featuring steadily growing data volumes, can be retrieved and searched in a sustainable, future-proof manner. By cooperating with international research institutions, TIB creates the necessary infrastructures and resources, at the same time reinforcing its own innovative capacity.
BIPER at External Events
– Partners of the BIPER project had organized a Workshop at the 24th annual International Conference on Business Information Systems (BisConf) titled “BIS Education: Trends and Challenges” (BisEd 2021). Project members had submitted and presented four papers at the workshop (for details see the ‘Publications’). The workshop was held in online form and had over 30 participants during the afternoon of Monday, 14 June 2021 using the WebEx meeting tool.
– University of Maribor had organized a Panel discussion at the 34th annual Bled eConference titled “Democratizing Learning: Re-imagined Through A New ‘Blend’ in 3D and VR“. The panel had five discussants and more than 25 conference participants in the audience during the morning of Tuesday, June 29, 2021 using MS Teams.
– Prof Keshav Dahal from BIPER organised and chaired a special session “Interoperability of IoT and CPS for industrial collaborative networks” during the 22ND IFIP/SOCOLNET WORKING CONFERENCE ON VIRTUAL ENTERPRISES (PRO-VE 2021) and disseminated BIPER activities.
– The eDoer platform was presented by BIPER partner TIB’s Gábor Kismihók at the Online Educa 2021 Conference in Berlin. Friday, Dec 3, 12:00–13:15, Room Tiergarten, Session: All In on OER – Title: OER Recommendation System to Support Goal-Driven Learning. The slides are here.
– Two researchers working on the BIPER Erasmus+ project, Csaba Csáki and András Gábor has submitted a proposal titled “Problem-based Learning Approach for the Curriculum Design of a Hybrid Business Information Systems Education” to the European University Association’s annual Learning & Teaching Forum (in 2022 the theme was: ‘On site, online, on point?’). After reviews and updates, the paper was accepted, in fact, the proposal had been selected as the main presentation of Session P2 on “Designing fit-for-purpose curricula and assessment methods”, which has also featured three more, but shorter ‘practitioner’ insights. This main paper had 22 minutes for presentation followed by a 15 minutes long question-and-answer period, where an interesting discussion developed over five question asked by teachers from the audience. The presentation by the two Corvinus professors was thus well received with close to 80 people attending their session online. The conference in 2022 had close to 260 participants from dozens of Universities from Europe, who could attend 6 sessions over two days. There was a ‘peer groups’ day organized right before the two-days main event.
– The BIPER project, with the lead of University of Maribor and Claranet is organizing a Summer School for Business Information students based on new approaches and content developed by project participants. The Summer School – titled “Smart City Enterprise Architectures Virtual Reality Summer School” – will take place 20-24 June 2022 online using the Frames VR environment. The course focuses on a TOGAF-based approach to Smart City development using a case study of security issues and is free of charge for accepted students. More information may be found under “Summer School” of the BIPER project page (see below), while application details are here.
– University of Maribor will be again organizing the annual Bled Conference – with the 35th instalment running under the title “Digital Restructuring and Human (Re)Action”. University of West Scotland will organize a Panel discussion at the conference to discuss BIS teaching methods and tools. The conference will be held, 26-29 June 2022 – now hopefully onsite.
Internal and Transnational Meetings
Representatives of the BIPER project meet every two weeks to discuss project progress and deliverables. These meetings are usually held Wednesdays at 2pm CE(S)T. In the year 2021 the team had completed 18 meetings (see Results for more details).
The Project Management Board of the BIPER Project meets every three months to discuss progress, issues, risk, and Quality Assurance related action items. During 2021 the PMB met 5 times including a preliminary meeting before the start of the project after the acceptance of the grant proposal had been announced.
The project had four transnational meetings proposed in the original application (kick-off at the end of March 2021 in Budapest at CUB; September 2021 Glasgow at UWS; March 2022 in Milan; and the closing meeting in August 2022 in Maribor at UM). However, due to the COVID pandemic, so far no transnational meeting could take place.
Update (March 2022): Now, that COVID restrictions have been mostly lifted, the rescheduled 2022 Transnational program is as follows:
11-12 May, Budapest (eDoer discussion and content);
26-27 May, Bergamo, Italy (WP3 deliverables and summer school preparation);
28-29 June, Bled, Slovenia (WP3 closing, WP4 deliverables);
18-19 August, Glasgow, Scotia (WP4 and IO3 closing, end of project). One of the recent meetings of the BIPER project team on 23 March 2022 was held online using a VR environment provided by Frame.io:
Smart City Enterprise Architectures Virtual Reality Summer School
20th-24th June 2022
Thanks to policies and technology, a Smart City is a better city to live in.
In this summer school students will support an organisation committed to the development of Smart cities, designing a plan for their processes and required Information Systems.
Different teams, backed by tutors and lecturers, will design the company’s enterprise architecture by leveraging the mutual knowledge of various aspects concerning business and technology.
As part of the BIPER project, three major European Universities in cooperation with a leading tech company developed this workshop jointly to provide the students with a richer learning experience.
The 5 days program will be held online with the support of Virtual Reality Technology and remote collaboration tools.
Students will meet their colleagues, lecturers, and business representatives in the virtual space to provide content and coaching.
At the end of the course, the students will:
- Learn to work in a full-remote agile working group.
- Experience a complete lifecycle of Information system development according to the Enterprise Architecture.
- Learn to formulate the vision and strategy for a sustainable business modell.
- Understand and experience a comprehensive process of Requirement Management using Design Thinking.
- Design the application, data and technical architecture plan concerning the application of collaborative Virtual Reality.
- Evaluate an Enterprise architecture development scenario and the requirements for its operationalisation.
Who should apply?
Any individual that completed or is on the way to completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Business Economics, Management, Business Information Systems or similar.
The class will be selected considering diversity criteria, including academic background, specific interest, country and gender.
We encourage in particular to apply those students that developed knowledge of one of the following subjects:
- Enterprise Architectures
- Design Thinking • Any relevant technology field
- IT Governance and Service Management
The course is free of charge as funded under the BIPER project. More details about the project can be found here.
Students will receive a grade based on the team performance and the degree of participation in the workgroup.
The following elements will constitute the final objective
- Definition of the Vision and Business Case 25%
- Description of the Target Business architecture 25%
- Development of the Application and Data Layers 15%
- Development of the Technology layer 15%
- Articulation of a Transition plan 10%
- Development of a maintenance and run strategy 10%
In addition, the individual will receive an individual score based on their participation in the workgroup, counting for an additional 20% of the final score.
For each element will apply the following criteria:
- Completeness of the required elements 50%
- Extension of the background research 30%
- Demonstration of critical sense 30%
How to Apply
To express your interest, please fill out the application form.
This is an action funded under the European Union Erasmus+ program
The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.