ACM Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education


Information Technology is among the newest recognized computer disciplines. The explosion of the Internet and the world-wide web, beginning in about 1992 with the advent of web browsers such as Mosaic and Navigator, created a rapidly growing community of online computer users who needed to access information of all sorts from their own computers. This dramatic growth in personal and corporate use of the Internet, along with web systems, databases, and networking, gave rise to information technology (IT) programs that specifically teach these topics.

Core Pillars

As with the other computing disciplines, IT programs arose from various backgrounds at their institutions. Some, such as that at BYU, emerged from electronics programs. Others, such as the one at Georgia Southern, emerged from a technically-oriented IS background. The most common parent of all was CS. Each program retains some flavor of its origins, while adhering to the core pillars of the IT curriculum: networks, web systems, programming, databases, and human-computer interaction, all within the context of information security.

Meeting of the Minds

In December 2001, 16 of these IT programs met together near the Sundance ski resort in Utah. Hosted by BYU and RIT, this small conference was aimed at promoting a national presence for the emerging IT academic discipline. At this conference, 3 committees were formed: curriculum, accreditation, and professional society. Each of these committees produced results over the following years.

Model Curriculum

By 2005, the curriculum committee had a draft IT model curriculum completed and submitted to the joint Computing Curricula project of the ACM, IEEE and the AIS. A final version of the model curriculum was completed in 2008, and can be found here.  SIGITE has compiled a summary which can be downloaded here.

Also in 2005, the accreditation committee had produced a draft IT-specific accreditation criteria for CAC of ABET, and the first ‘pilot’ program had been accredited using these criteria. As of this writing, 16 programs have been accredited under these criteria.

The third committee, professional society, was also very active. Following the first meeting in Utah, the committee sponsored conferences annually (two in 2003), under the name Society for Information Technology Education (SITE). These conferences grew to include quality peer-reviewed papers. In the summer of 2003, SITE joined with ACM to become the ACM Special-Interest Group for Information Technology Education (SIGITE). SIGITE conferences continue to be among the most important gatherings for IT educators.