Friday, November 27, 2015

Improving Professional IT Doctorate Completion Rates

Burmeister (2015) reports the results of  interviews with 44 students and staff involved in post-graduate IT education at Charles Sturt University (CSU). While focusing on professional IT doctorates, Burmeister points out that CSU has three exit points: Graduate Certificate, Masters and then the Doctorate. The program has coursework in the first two years, but students are also "guided to develop an article and
submit it to a conference or journal" in each of these two years. Other masters programs might benefit from this approach.

In the Masters of Education I have been undertaking I have been producing a conference paper each year, as a byproduct of assignments. However, I have not mentioned this to my tutors, for fear of it being seen as overly ambitious for a coursework student. This caused a problem when one conference paper was published before the assignment I had based it on had been marked and so was flagged as possible plagiarism.

Burmeister  suggests that flexible delivery can
improve work-life-study balance and so improve retention of students. However, this suggestion seems almost redundant.  Pye, Holt, Salzman, Bellucci and Lombardi (2015) found that students expect an on-line environment to be used. I suggest that it is time for Australian universities to assume their students, particularly post-graduate students, will be on-line and off-campus for most of their studies. Programs should be designed for on-line delivery, and then adaption made for on-campus components, rather than the reverse.

Burmeister  suggests that student engagement with
supervisors should be enhanced with weekly or fortnightly contact. This would result in a high workload for staff if done using conventional techniques, such as face-to-face meetings. I suggest it could be done using on-line asynchronous communication. Students don't need a supervisor taking at then for half an hour each week, then just need a couple of lines of pertinent text.


Burmeister, O. (2015). Improving professional IT doctorate completion rates. Australasian Journal Of Information Systems, 19. doi:

Pye, G., Holt, D., Salzman, S., Bellucci, E., & Lombardi, L. (2015). Engaging diverse student audiences in contemporary blended learning environments in Australian higher business education: Implications for Design and Practice. Australasian Journal Of Information Systems, 19. doi: