My goals, consistent with my teaching philosophy, are to engage students in and make relevant the material which is taught in the curriculum. As such, in addition to course instruction and development, I devote much of my time to finding ways to support and enrich the student experience and learning. Designed to facilitate the development of student leaders, I have engaged students in independent research, provided direct leadership opportunities through the establishment of and being advisor for the AIS student chapter, being the ISACA campus representative, taking students throughout the world for conferences and other academic meetings, and in taking a leading role in engaging the students with other colleges in the region.

Student Professional Development

In an effort to connect students to local, regional, and worldwide IS leaders, I capitalized on my work on the boards of the local Internet Society (ISOC) chapter, the National Cybersafety Committee, and the Association of Information Systems Student Chapters to bring multiple opportunities to the students.

In spring 2010, I worked to establish an Association for Information Systems (AIS) student chapter.  The prime event for the chapter was the development and hosting of a regional undergraduate conference on information systems that was held with student participants from Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain. Faculty involved included representatives from universities inside Qatar, in the region, and our Pittsburgh campus. Company involvement in the form of speakers came from both local and multinational corporations. The Undergraduate Conference on Information Systems (UCIS) has continued with increasing participation from universities and organizations from throughout the world.

Working closely with ISOC and ictQatar, we were able to bring the iNet conference to CMUQ to talk about the ‘Rise of the Arab Information Society’. Built into the conference were specific opportunities for students to engage directly with the speakers before opening the floor to the general audience as well as a variety of opportunities to engage in internships helping to prepare for the event.

Advising and Metacurricular support

Recognizing the critical role of developing relationships with students to student success and program growth, I have acted as an academic advisor since I came to the program in 2009 and as a faculty leader for outside student travel and engagement. As an advisor, I have worked with students at every stage of their degree and sat on both the freshman and sophomore advisory committees, while for student travel, I have taken students locally and internationally.  Examples include a 2009 trip to a local IT managed service provider so that students could directly learn how a large IS infrastructure is managed; 2010 trips to Singapore Management University and to the AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference in Atlanta; supporting students submitting projects for the AIS Student Chapter Conference in Salt Lake City in 2012; and travelling to Raratonga in support of the Technology Consulting in the Global Community course, meeting with the local leadership and ensuring that the students were established within their organizations and had appropriate accommodations and facilities.

Each of these trips were designed to foster in the students leadership and independence, and to provide opportunities to identify and understand the broader field of IS as it is practiced worldwide. The feedback from all of the trips was extremely positive and resulted in students returning with a renewed energy and desire to share their experience. Following these trips, students would often seek to implement constructive change or establish new opportunities for all students.

Committees

I have been involved in and taken leadership positions on many highly visible committees throughout the program, the campus, and the nation. In each of these roles, I have tried to ensure a collegial and productive environment that fosters respect for all members while fulfilling our responsibility to provide meaningful and reasoned council as members of the CMU academic community generally and the IS field particularly.

At the campus level, I chaired the committee for the Ministry of the Interior Police Training and served on both the first and second year student evaluation committees. In the former capacity, I was able to design and provide a full day training course for the police on networking and information security and provided a talk to INTERPOL’s MENA group meeting, while in the latter, we worked to identify and address issues related to the meta-curriculum and student progress on campus. Additionally, I also served on several hiring and promotion committees, including the IS faculty hiring committee in 2011 and 2012, the librarian hiring committee that spanned 2011 and 2012, the head librarian hiring committee in 2012, and a promotion committee in 2012.

At the national level, I worked with ICTQatar and other regional organizations to establish a local Internet Society chapter. The Internet Society is a global society whose goal is to “provide leadership in Internet related standards, education and policy” (Internet Society, 2011). In our ISOC chapter, I currently serve on the executive and program committees as we work to more fully establish the chapter in its inaugural year.

In addition to ISOC, I am also serving as an invited member of both the National Committee for Internet Safety (NCIS) and the Qatar IPv6 taskforce. The mission of NCIS is to “…achieve the goal of creating a safer online environment, by improving online safety education and raising awareness of how the internet may be enjoyed safely.” I join representatives from the Supreme Education Council, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Family Consulting Center, Qatar Foundation for Family and Child Protection, Ministry of Awqaf, Vodafone, QTEL, and Qatar University on this committee and with representative of the technical community on the IPv6 taskforce.

At the international level, I was one of the first members of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Student Chapter committee, which was responsible for the establishment of the AIS Student Chapter program and continues to oversee and advocate for the chapters. I’ve serve on the Best Practice and the Student Chapter Conference sub- committees, and held the Secretary position for the academic year 2012 – 2013, and again for 2014-2015.

Senior Theses

During the 2012 – 2013 academic year, I supervised Marwa AlFakhri and Fatema Akbar as they successfully researched, prepared, and presented their senior theses titled “The Effect of Displaying Privacy Information on The Arab Culture” and “What affects students acceptance and use of technology?” respectively. The former examines the relationship between knowledge of a website privacy policy and elasticity of price with respect to the purchase of a culturally sensitive item, while the latter utilized the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) to examine the relationship between the introduction of new technology in an educational setting and the students subsequent acceptance and use of the technology.

The Effect of Displaying Privacy Information on The Arab Culture

A Senior Thesis by Marwa Al-Fakhri

As the online shopping trend is finally catching on in the Arab world, many of the young Arab entrepreneurs are investing their efforts in online ventures. The findings of this research will provide an insight into the decision making process of the Arab consumers. It investigates the effect of privacy information on the consumers’ decisions; are consumers willing to pay more for privacy? and whether the Arab culture plays a role in that process.

Throughout the literature, there has been shown a contradiction between reported attitudes and actual behaviors. Many factors contribute to create that contradiction, one of which is information asymmetry. This research investigates whether displaying the privacy information of websites bridges the asymmetry between the seller and the buyer, and results in informed decisions.

In this study, we assume that participants are honest in their responses, notice all the information provided before making their decision, and have a sense for privacy. In addition, we assume that when a consumer is offered identical alternatives to buy from, they would purchase the cheapest because there is no motivation for paying more.

Although we recognize that self reported behaviors are not actual behaviors, we were limited in that regard. Since the participants were asked to purchase culturally sensitive items, getting those items delivered to Qatar and to the participants would interfere with the participant’s answers. Most students share their mailing address with their parents and families, and receiving sensitive items would make the participants uncomfortable and therefore bias their answers to the study.

Thesis

What affects students’ acceptance and use of technology?

A Senior Thesis by Fatema Akbar

Students’ acceptance and use of technologies introduced in their academic environments is an important factor in determining the success of these technologies. This research project used the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), a prominent technology acceptance and use model, as a theoretical basis to conduct empirical research testing the factors that influence students’ acceptance and use of technology in their academic environment.

Although several studies applied UTAUT in various organizational and cultural contexts, very few implement the full model and examine all of its constructs. By focusing on students in higher-education and technology that is new to them, and by using the full UTAUT model with no changes or elimination of constructs, this study places itself in the area where there are no exhaustive studies. Also, this research addresses the question of whether UTAUT is applicable in an academic environment for educational technologies introduced to the students.

The study found a mixed support for UTAUT. Performance expectancy, effort expectancy, facilitating conditions and attitude towards using technology were significant determinants of technology acceptance. All moderating variables had a significant moderating influence except for experience, which was surprisingly not significant. The UTAUT model is found to be applicable to some extent in the educational setting, but might need a few modifications to fit the context.

The study provides recommendations to help prepare the appropriate environment and training before a new technology is introduced for students. It also provides recommendation for further research examining students’ acceptance and use of technology.

Thesis