Literature review of Current Educational Decision Support Systems Essay
Literature review of Current Educational Decision Support Systems
The following paper analyses the situation of technology adoption by the Universities in Syria and proposes the use of decision support systems by them. The decision support systems have taken on importance with businesses in the corporate sector, however these systems can also provide the education sector with sources of efficiency for streamlining their operations and supporting decision making in the organization. The paper initially provides information pertaining to the use of the nature of the decision support systems, their characteristics and their benefits. The components of the DSS are also provided. The paper then continues to depict the importance of decision support systems in the environmental and the organizational context. The benefits and the advantages of the Decision support system are highlighted in the paper regarding their role ion enhancing efficiency, reducing costs and making the operations more accurate and, integrated and controlled. The education Sector of Syria is then described, and the specific technology adoption regarding information systems and DSS in Syria is also depicted.
The paper also highlights the currently available decision support systems that are being utilized and employed in the education sector around the world. The specific deficiencies that are present in the Syrian education system, specific to the University are depicted. The paper provides how the decision support system can overcome these deficiencies and make the procedures and processes of the university more dynamic and efficient. The systems dynamic approach is provided for the simulation for the DSS as a tool for aiding the university. The present DSS providers and systems are analyzed and Stella I chosen as the most suitable software as it is dynamic, easy to use and easy to implement, enabling the implementers and the end users to do away with complex mathematical calculations when simulating. The paper concludes by providing scopes of future research for DSS systems and Universities in the education sector.
Decision support systems are computer based systems having a software, hardware and communication component which are employed by businesses as well as corporations to aid in their decision making activities. The decision making system is unique form other computer based systems as it has a separate knowledge based quotient. This is the characteristic that allows the decision support systems to learn knowledge and information and retrain it. This formation is then presented in different graphical, tabular as well as in report formats to aid the decision makers in their decision making activities.
The Decision supporting systems are used in varying formed by enterprise and organizational s around the world, the most common functionality for which they are favored is because of their ability to gather intelligence and generate meaningful alternates and choices for the decision makers. While the decision support systems are able to analyze the problem like a case study and present all the salient features and alternatives available, they are still used by the decision makers as a supporting tool for their decision making process. The following paper however, takes into account the decision support systems which are specifically developed for the education sector, in order to provide assistance to the people involved in the academia.
There are five main components of any decision making system. These pertain to the users of the decision support system, the variables that put constraints on the decision making process, the preference selection, the knowledgebase which holds the information that is learned and gathered by the system and the working environment in which the analysis of the information regarding the specific decision making variables is conducted. This environment includes statistical inference software, report formatting programs, model and method construction as well as the specific procedures for searching through the internet and local search engines. The architecture of the decision support systems however is made up of the data management system which includes the data repository, a model management system, the user interface through which the users interact with the system as well as the knowledge base or engine and the end users. The end users are the most important components of the decision support systems, as all the other elements of the decision support systems are adjusted to fit the requirements of the decision makers in order top better provide alternates and choices for a particular problem. The frame work of the decision support systems however is split into three levels. These levels deal with the approach taken by the system. The first level is the technology level, the second includes the people involved and the third level relates to the approach and mythology taken for the developing process. Of these three levels, the most common level or the one which has the most contact with humans is the technology level. At this level the system performs a complete support role for the process of decision making.
The Importance of Decision Support Systems
The concept of a decision support systems was initiated in the 1950s when the computer system or technology was though of for solving the problems of the man and aiding the organization in their decision making processes. However it was in the 1980s and the 1990s that the decision support system actually came into being. Initially there were many kinds of systems like enterprise management systems and the executive information system and the management information systems that were derived of the concept for the decision support system. However, pretty soon independent decision support systems were also developed to aid organization in their decision making projects and tasks. The importance of the decision support system it form he basis of a multicultural and multinational operation of ay business. The large amount of data can become overwhelming for a decision maker and as a result by employing the decision making systems, the end user is able to conduct database research of a large repository of information, get aid in the form of specific alternatives and choices for decision making through the artificial intelligence capability of the system which involves problem simulation and the use of telecommunication and computer/ software engineering options.
Another characteristic that adds to the importance of the decision support systems is that they can be adapted to any kind of scenario as a result it is possible to have a medical decision support system, a business decision support system as well as a decision support system, specifically set up for the education sector or for the universities.
The benefits of the decision support system include the facts that they can be employed to improve the efficiency of a process; they can be utilized for aiding and increasing the pace of the problem solving procedure as well as for facilitating communication. Moreover the decision support systems can also be used to provide training and education as well as to enhance the control that exists in an organization. The main capabilities of the decision support systems include their ability to structure vague and complex problems which have multiple dimensions. Aside form this the decision support system also support design and establishment of processes as well as provide support to employees and people at all levels of the organization. Moreover they also support modeling and simulation and can act as standalone systems as well.
Types of Decision Support Systems
There are mainly five types of decision support systems. These are differentiated based on their functionality and focus. “Most communications-driven DSSs are targeted at internal teams, including partners. Its purpose are to help conduct a meeting, or for users to collaborate. The most common technology used to deploy the DSS is a web or client server.” (Power) The other type includes the data driven decision support system which is mostly used by the managers in the business. This tope of decision support system usually makes use of a data warehouse and data mining techniques for data exploration. The document driven decision support system is mostly used to search through web pages and to find specific documents.
The knowledge driven decision support system is “a catch-all category covering a broad range of systems covering users within the organization setting it up, but may also include others interacting with the organization – for example, consumers of a business. It is essentially used to provide management advice or to choose products/services. The typical deployment technology used to set up such systems could be client/server systems, the web, or software running on stand-alone PCs.” (Power) The model driven decision support system however is a system that employs tools for simulation and modeling for depicting analyzing and depiction in the form of graphics. They can be used as scheduling systems as well as for making decisions by the end users.
Aside from these it is also possible for a decision support system to have multiple functionalities which can be combined together to form a hybrid decision support system. Such decision support systems have the capability of being technical, as well as being data oriented. They are able to employ use of information gathered in the data repositories like the databases and the data warehouses as well as perform inferential and extrapolation analysis on the data. Moreover they can also simulate cases and scenarios by the aid of the information and the specific models fed into them by the end users. The aspect of artificial intelligence is used by the decision support system when they gather and learn information and data form their environment and the end user. The decision support systems that are used in the field of academia and education take the form of hybrid decision support systems.
Benefits of Decision Support Systems
The education sector in any country makes use of decision support systems in order to aid in decision making pertaining to several aspects of the business. The universities make use of the decision support system in order to schedule for the intake of new students, as well as to determine which courses to offer in the following semesters and years as a result of the previous results of the students, the progress in the specific field and the demand for the course. Moreover the decision support system are employed by the universities in order to determine the range of the prospective students to be enrolled as well as to schedule classes and timetables for the students based on information that is available to them.
Aside from this the universities and education bodies also make sue of decision support systems in order to aid in the decision making that is involved at the strategic level of the organization. This can include finance and budget management as well as determining alternatives for strategies according to the objectives of the organizations. The administrations at the universities expend time on allocating budgets and managing them for funding the operations of the university. This is a highly complex process and requires substantial research and extrapolation of data. The universities as a result are making use of decision support systems to aid this process as well. “The president and senior financial officer require up-to-date information on the status of university funds in terms of availability from numerous sources and applications to various uses over time. This need is more critical than ever due to legal, contractual, and legislated restrictions related to the uses of funds from the various sources. Assistance is also needed for the process of planning the allocation of funds from the various sources to potential uses over time.” (Tyagi, Moore, & Taylor, 1988) As a result a decision support system is employed “to provide senior university administrators with up-to-date information on the status of funds, by source and use over time, and an interactive multi-criteria model embedded within the overall computer package to assist university administrators in decision making regarding the allocation of funds from sources to uses over several time periods” (Tyagi, Moore, & Taylor, 1988)
“With the rapid growth in end-user computing, there has been an increasing demand on business schools to train managers in the use of computers for effective decision support. While computer-aided instruction (CAI) has been in vogue for over a decade, there are very few studies that evaluate the impact of computers on decision-making skills in a business education context.”(King, Premkumar, & Ramamurthym, 1990) The education sectors and specially the universities that are operating in the education sector are able to benefit from the decision support systems by employing them to save time that it takes to undergo and undertake complex decisions as well as reduce the costs associated with the decision making process. Aside from this the decision support systems also aid the efficiency of the process, making it much more faster, and accurate the quality of the alternatives available to them and the reporting of the data required for the decision making through the use of the decision support systems provides the universities with a clear and distinct advantage over other that do not employ such systems. This advantage is in terms of competitiveness and better decisions for their problem solving and cases.
Moreover the universities and organization in the field of education are better able to attain their long term objectives as by employing the decision support systems they are able to free up time as well as staff which is now free and able to take up more pressing and crucial which can effect the university and its environment in the long term “MCADSS is a multi-criteria allocation decision support system for assisting in the task of allocating students to groups. Based on multiple criteria, MCADSS’s goal is to maximize the diversity of members within groups, while minimizing the average differences between groups. The project may be viewed from several perspectives: as a multi-criteria decision-making problem, as a “reverse” clustering problem, or as a personnel assignment problem. The system is currently being used to allocate M.B.A. students into sections and study teams at The European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD).” (Weitz & Jelassi, 1992) Aside from this “Marketing practitioners are aggressively integrating technology to aid managerial decision making. To better prepare students for a technology intensive environment, academia has increasingly incorporated computer applications in various content areas of the marketing curriculum.” (Gandhi & Bodkin, 1996)
The universities are also employing decision making systems to determine the specific student admission policies. This decision support system “is based on three modeling components: (i) The academic performance analysis model. (ii) Models to estimate secondary school graduates supply and demand for university graduates. (iii) Student allocation mode. The academic performance model consists of two parts: a multi-Classification analysis (MCA) and cohort analysis. The estimation models are based on demographic growth and regression analysis. A linear programming model is used for student allocation. Loose coupling of, instead of single linked, model(s) is adopted to provide the DM with an iterative and flexible linkage approach of the DSS modeling components.” (Elimam, 1991)
As a result it can be observe d that the decision support systems greatly impact the operation of universities by making them more active and agile in the market. Moreover in the era of globalization, the use of technology like decision support systems enables the universities to be technology oriented and depict the practical use of information and expert systems like the decision support systems to its students as well as other concerned parties. This also enables the university to have a better position when gathering funds and finance from creditors as well as improve its operations and market reputation as a whole.
Education Sector in Syria
The education sector in Syria hosts seven main universities which provide a diverse background of education. The universities that are present in Syria include the Damascus University, The Aleppo University, The Al Baath University and the Tichrine University. Aside from this two recent institutes have opened by the name of Higher Institute of Business Administration and the Institution of National Administration. The single engineering college in the region is the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology. Aside from this the education sector of Syria also hosts the first ever virtual university in the Middle East region by the name of SVU. The University that I work for ….
The Scenario for Technology Adoption in Syria
Technology adoption in Syria is extensive in the filed of construction and business management,. However in the field of education, the advances and specialized technology adoption has not yet taken place. It is picking up pace in the relatively large government funded universities and the smaller private funded institutes. However the education sector in Syria can make use of technology in order to improve the efficiency of the universities in the region and to improve on the delays that are caused in the class scheduling and the strategy implementation in the education sector.
In 2004 the United Nations signed an agreement for infrastructure improvement with the Syrian government according to which efforts were to be made in the following 10 year period to increase the infrastructure of technology in the country and to increase the adoption of technology in the various business and organizations in the country. As a result of the ICT measures were taken in order to increase the adoption of technology in the education sector in Syria as well. “The Syrian Higher Education and Research Network (SHERN) project supports of the ICT infrastructure program launched by The Ministry of Higher Education (MHH), in cooperation with the UNDP. The project aims at connecting universities and HIAST. This network allows for distance learning, exchange of curricular and scientific research among higher education institutions.” (‘National Profile for the Information Society in the Syrian Arab Republic ’)
Technology adoption is more pronounced in the Syrian Universities than in the schools in Syria. “Damascus University has automated administrative system, with computers in each faculty, library and connected to Local Area Network (LAN). Computer-engineering faculties are established in the 4 Syrian public universities. The Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (HIAST) is known to offer a comprehensive curriculum in Computer Engineering with practical training equivalent to that in European Universities. HIAST is the main academic and scientific body in Syria that cooperates with both the public and private services sectors” (‘National Profile for the Information Society in the Syrian Arab Republic ’)
The Syrian Ministry of Higher Education launched the Syrian Virtual University in 2002 which is the first of its kind of venture in the Middle East. The virtual university operates like any other university, provides classes and seminars online to its students, and offers accounts for student assignments and grades as well as a detail curriculum for the courses offered. “The work of the SVU is based on representing a number of foreign universities, facilitating registration procedures, and providing online curricula. SVU offers undergraduate degrees (in business administration, information technology, engineering) and Higher National Diploma in computing and Business Applications both in Arabic and English” (‘National Profile for the Information Society in the Syrian Arab Republic ’)
Benefit of Decision Support System to Syrian Universities
The decision support systems, which if are implemented in the education providing facilities like the colleges, universities and education institutions would benefit both the students, as well as the organizations. The reason for this is that the main purpose or the benefit of employing decision support systems is to make operations efficient by reducing costs, and increasing the pace for the decision making process. Moreover the objective of the decision making process is to come up with and provide the most suitable alternatives for the problems or the decision at hand. This would be fulfilled by the decision support systems which would be gathering real time as well as historical data and would be conducting analysis based on this data. On the basis of the information provided in the data available to the decision support systems through the knowledgebase the alternatives that would be drawn up for the purpose of the solving the problem at hand, and providing aid for the decision making process.
Aside from this the universities in Syria would be making use of technology oriented procedures and dynamic systems approach for decision making. This would make the decision making process for the organizations become more dynamic, making them able to confront a diverse number of issues with only a selective handful of tools of the decision support systems. Moreover the students will not be facing delays in thee development of their course offering, their course schedules as well as their results for the different courses. The teacher evaluation by the students then can be dynamically be employed through the decision support systems to establish the progress and the evaluation of the teachers over a period of time, enabling the organization to determine whether they should pursue contracts with the teachers and professors. The decision support systems would greatly make things much less complex for the staff and the decision makers at the education organizations in Syria.
As mentioned earlier there are decision support systems presently being employed in Syria by the business and the private institutions, however while other technologies like enterprise resource planning, and systems management are being employed, in coordination with the customer relationship management software to provide for a profitable value chain network for the business, the education sector has not greatly invested in decision support systems. However according to ICT initiative taken by the Syrian government , steps are being taken by the education ministry of Syria to set up infrastructure for the use of innovative information technology and systems approach for aiding the processes of the education sector, making them efficient and technology oriented by 2014.
Existing Decision Support Systems and their Adoption
In the world however there are specific decision support systems that are being employed to benefit the universities and the education institutes. These decision support systems are being used to improve the policy naming and structure of the educational institution as well as to provide facilitation for the specific processes involved. These include the determination of the courses to be offered by the institutions, the new expansionary and development strategies that are adopted and the specific implementation of theses strategies as well as the enrollment of the students, the evaluation of the students as well as the teachers and the resultant hiring policies to be adopted for future contracts with the education professionals. The most common systems that have been identified in the literature survey pertain to the decision support systems the like of SAPHIR which is a decision support system which is utilized for course scheduling.
The decision support systems that can be employed by the University in order to facilitate its operations as well as provide for its decision making process are available in the market as mentioned above. However as with any technology development and implementation, they need to be set up to specifically suit the needs and the requirements of the university, as well as to provide optimized support for its processes. The systems can be developed so that it is used for “producing a schedule for an academic institution is a highly combinatorial problem and a very demanding task.” (Ferland & Fleurent, 1994) This will involve taking inputs form the human factors as well as incorporating the processes employed by the university into account.
At first a system will have to be developed which would be simulating the operations of the University and on the basis of that the decision support system will be adapted to fit the University and its operations. For this complex mathematical as well as statistical data inference will be required, however for this the data and systems modeling software will be used. “The process of translating objectives into actions is a difficult task. This difficulty is due to the wide range of possibilities and the lack of structured information.” (Kim & Platts, 2003) And “the process, supported by a software tool, takes managers through the stages of model building, action generation, and action evaluation and selection.” (Kim & Platts, 2003)
The academic scheduling problem of course scheduling can be solved by incorporating network based capability into the decision support system. “The dimensions of faculty, subject, time, and room are considered by incorporating a penalty function into a network optimization approach. The approach, based on a network algorithm, is capable of solving very large problems. This methodology can be applied to other scheduling situations where there are competing objectives and multiple resources. Such situations include: scheduling of exams, times, and rooms in an academic setting, and scheduling of clients, times, and facilities for physicians, hospitals, dentists, counselors, and clinics. Common problems in such settings include the utilization of available space, and dissatisfaction with assigned times and locations.” (Dinkel, Mote & Venkataramanan, 1989)
The need for the decision support systems in the educational sector of the Syrian region was felt due to the lack of technology orientation in the schools in the country. The private colleges and universities do have some form and type of technology orientation both in teaching as well as in the management of the institute however the public level schools do not have any infrastructure for technology at all. Aside form this the universities in the Syrian region are now picking up on the technology usage and are determined to improve their business process through the use of technology available as well as provide computing technology and related resources to the students. The aims of the university is to provide the best kind of education to its pupils I order to make them competitive in the international market.
This however requires technology adoption by both the students as well as the university. Moreover due to the hanging environment in the global economy and the market, the face of education is changing and going online on to in the internet interface. While Syria has been successful in launching the first Middle Eastern virtual university, its other local universities need to become more technology oriented. By employing decision support systems, the universities will be able to increase their standards of education as well as the skills of their students to become comparable with the ones ion the international market. “These DSS generators are not only facilitating the development of decision-support applications in organizations, but they are also putting applications development in the hands of users. Training in the role and use of these products is expanding in computer science and. especially, computer information systems curricula. They are discussed in management information services courses and play a vital role in the expanding number of DSS courses being taught.” (Watson & David, 1983)
Deficiencies creating a need for Decision Support Systems
The deficiencies that are present in the current education sector of the Syrian region as well as in the University being targeted pertain to the lack of technology orientation that is being employed by the university in order to facilitate the operations of the university. The universities are teaching their students and pupils about the various technologies that are available and how they can benefit the specific operations and how they can be implemented. However the university itself has not been able to set up infrastructure for the establishments of such technology and dynamic systems which would aid the operation and the decision making process for the university and the people concerned with it. This makes the approach a bit unrealistic in terms of the purpose of the education
Moreover while the education standards that are present in the university are generally high. However they can be furthered improved by making the operation of the university much more efficient. The decision support systems can aid the university by providing them with the best possible alternate solution and decisions available for the problem at hand. These can pertain to the course structure, the offering of the courses, the specific policy establishment of the university as well as the process of student enrollment and admissions. The scheduling of the time tables for the students and the academic year can also be developed with the aid of decision support systems.
Using Decision Support Systems to Overcome Deficiencies
There exist specific issues which have been faced by universities and educational institutions around the world pertaining to their operations. These deal with the management of the funds available to them for the development and the operation of the University and education institute. These pertain to the issue of resource management. Other issues that are raised pertain to the reform of the education sector with the aid of technology. Moreover there are growing concerns which are presented by the stakeholders of the education sector. The reasons for the concerns pertain to “rapid expansion of student numbers against a backlog in public expenditure, the general quest for better public services, increasing competition within the educational ‘market’ for resources and students, the tension between efficiency and quality, managing institutions of higher education is a complex task in maintaining their effectiveness.” (Kennedy & Clare)
Aside from these the managers at the education institutions have to increase the quality of the education provided by better utilizing the resources available to the institution, reporting their successes and failures to the society as well as developing systems which can support long-term strategic planning and the implementation of the objectives. As a result the dynamic approach to system development for the decision support system for the university should be employed. “Exploitation of dynamic systems and management simulators in daily practice results in rational decision-making. Implementation of new methods – among which we can also find methods based on dynamic systems modeling – in daily management practices helps us to proceed from the empiric-intuitive decision-making to the decision-making on scientific basis. The subject matter of the study sphere modeling rests in the system of study branches, covers departments which provide the individual study branches, number of students in individual years of study, the throughput of individual study branches from year to year and passable ness of study in the given time intervals.” (Burianová)
System dynamics is an approach for analyzing dynamics or multiple influences and effects of any phenomenon. The research approach makes use of environmental philosophy and variable affects to identify the impact on the procedures in the systems. These systems can pertain to environmental systems; infrastructure or business based systems as well as social systems. The system dynamics approach is a cause and effect analysis approach. The systematic approach makes identifies the problem, then established hypothesis that can describe the reasons for the problems, develops a model of the system usually using graphic simulations to simulate the flow of the system. This model is tested to make sure the simulation is realistic and accurate. The hypothesis is tested through the simulation and the derived solution is implemented on the basis of the results attained from the simulation.
Comparison of System Modeling Software
Stella is a software that is used for modeling systems. The software belongs to Isee Systems and was initially launched for “Macintosh in 1984, the Stella software provided a graphically oriented front end for the development of system dynamics models. The stock and flow diagrams, used in the system dynamics literature are directly supported with a series of tools supporting model development. Equation writing is done through dialog boxes accessible from the stock and flow diagrams. IThink is available for Macintosh and Windows computers.” (‘System Dynamics Software Info’)
Powersim was introduced as a result of the object oriented system of Mosaic which w aimed at simulations specific for education. The powersim Software was developed with “Windows based environment for the development of system dynamics models that also facilitates packaging as interactive games or learning environments.” (‘Business Simulation Solutions’) The software has the capability to develop power strategy level simulations for decision makers with high level control options.
The Vensim software is another modeling software that is available for system modeling in a dynamic environment. This software specially designed for dynamic and integrated environments and therefore is capable of producing highly realistic models and simulations for systems and procedures. The software was developed the 1980s however it became publicly available in 1922. The software is available on the Windows as well as on Macintosh platform to the customers. The characteristic of this software include that it has specific explicit support that is available for the naming of the variables. Aside form this he hypothesis for the research can also be developed on it as virtual models as a simple sketch as well as in the form of complex simulations.
The system modeling software which has been short listed as the main software which is to be employed for developing models of the processes and operations of the university and providing for the simulation for the decision support systems pertains to the software of Stella that is discussed above. The reason as to why this software has been selected is because it can be used to construct radical working models of the system which can be viewed in the form of simulations as well. Aside from this the modeling power provided by Stella is extreme in nature which allows the system developer to use simple procedures for the development of the system and the infrastructure without having to get in to complex mathematical analysis and computations. Moreover the graphic user interface provided by Stella is commendable.
The advantages that are provided by the Stella software are many and include the facts that “the STELLA software is easy to learn and use. The software allows the user to easily input equations. Also, STELLA supports a 1h.k to a spreadsheet program. This feature allows the model user to input large data sets with ease. STELLA also enables the user to view model results in tabular or graphical form. Finally, through the development of a user interface, the model inputs can be changed and alternative hypothesis or scenarios can be tested, compared and analyzed.”(Barth, 2001)
Scope for Future Research in the Agenda
With the changes taking place in the environment of an academic institution as mentioned earlier, there are also changes that are taking place in the education institutions themselves. Their operations and procedures are changing and as a result it is important to be able to highlight the changing trends in the educational sector in order to determine the future of the university in the international market. The decision support system that needs to be implemented will have to be set up in such a manner so as to provide for these evolving changes in the education sector and reflect the ones which have already taken place.
As a result it is important for further research to be taken up upon the concept of the entrepreneurial university. This is the latest trend of for the global university that has been observed. Aside from this attempts also have to be made in order to determine the changes that would be taking place I the future in the education and academia sector. The role of the research and development department in the University and how it supports the knowledge interface and knowledge base of the university as well as the decision support system also needs to be researched upon.
“The emergence of new structures such as these within and between universities reflects the changing division of labor in innovation systems which encourage new patterns of mobility of both knowledge and researchers. These processes are not, of course, uniform across all discipline areas, suggesting that any current mapping of the socio-economic structure of research will find areas of research that can be classified as more ‘open’ or more ‘restrictive’ in terms of public access to the knowledge they produce.” (Etzkowitz et al., 2000) This concept also needs to be explored further by employing specific research on material available on it. Moreover it also needs to be highlighted how “a viable search strategy for technological evolution can be defined that may result in both useful unintended consequences and ‘conscious mutation’ possibilities” (Etzkowitz et al., 2000) Through the literature review it has been identified that the education sector and specific bodied like universities are in a transition state right now, moving form one point to another through the use of technology. These stages of evolution need to be identified in order to enable the system being developed for the university to incorporate and facilitate the transition phases.
Conclusively, the current framework that is being employed in the Arabian region pertaining to information technology in the Middle East is quite outdated. Moreover there is a sharp contract between the standards and the even of quality of the education being provided in universities and their operations throughout the region. These discrepancies are based on country specific basis as well as on the basis of specific regions in the countries themselves. The situation in Syria however is somewhat different as the technology evolution has been initiated in the country. Moreover the formal developments of the infrastructure according to the ICT, and the strategic plans for the period of 2004 to 2014 are aimed at improving the technology orientation and utilization in the education sector.
Power, D., Types of Decision Support Systems, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://www.gdrc.org/decision/dss-types.html
National Profile for the Information Society in the Syrian Arab Republic United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:DfGSWeHhKbkJ:www.escwa.un.org/wsis/reports/docs/Syria_2005-E.pdf+DSS+technology+in+Syrian+University&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=pk
Business Simulation Solutions, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://www.powersim.co.uk/solutions.htm
System Dynamics Software Info, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://www.vensim.com/sdmail/sdsoft.html
Barth, C., (2001), The Development and Application of a Computer Simulation Mode1 for Evaluating and Predicting the Effects of Reservoir Development and Hydro Operations on four fish species in Manitoba, Canada, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk3/ftp05/MQ62690.pdf
Etzkowitz, H., Webster, A., Gebhardt, C., T, B.R.C., (2000), The future of the university and the University of the Future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm, State University of New York
Deniz, D.Z., Ersan, I., (2001), An Academic Decision-Support System Based on Academic Performance Evaluation for Student and Program, Eastern Mediterranean University
Barnabe, F., (2004), From Ivory Towers to Learning Organizations, The role of System Dynamics in ‘managerialiazation’ of academic institutions, University of Siena
Burianová, E., Dynamic Simulation Model as a Decision Support of Management at Ostrava University, Ostrava University
(2004), Managerialism and Evaluation in Higher Education – Collected papers of the First Regional, Research Seminar for Europe and North America Paris, France
Vinnik, S., Scholl, M.H. (2005), UNICAP: Efficient Decision Support for Academic Resource and Capacity Management, University of Konstanz
Bell, G, Cooper, M., Kennedy, M., Warwick, J., The Development of the Holon Planning and Costing Framework for Higher Education Management
Abbott, M., Doucouliagosa, C., (2003), The efficiency of Australian universities: A data envelopment Analysis, Economics of Education Review
Deniz, D.Z., Ersan, I., (2001), Using an Academic DSS For Student, Course and Program Assessment
Kennedy, M., Clare, C., Some Issues in Building System Dynamics Models for improving the Resource Management Process in Higher Education, Information Management and Modeling Group
King, W.R., Premkumar, G., Ramamurthy, K., (1990), An Evaluation of the Role and Performance of a Decision Support System in Business Education, Decision Sciences, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p642-659, 18p, 7 charts, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=30469af2-962c-411a-a6c2-3a294ba1eb1f%40sessionmgr102
Dos Santos, B.L., Bariff, M.L., (1988), A Study Of User Interface Aids For Model-Oriented Decision Support Systems, Management Science, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p461-468, 8p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=93409be4-2da6-4340-b0a5-cafd43b9b7de%40sessionmgr104
Weitz, R.R., Jelassi, M. T., (1992), Assigning Students to Groups: A Multi-Criteria Decision Support System Approach, Decision Sciences, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p746-757, 12p, 1 chart, 1 diagram, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=e08306e9-e93b-4518-9c42-38e712e34625%40sessionmgr102
Kerr, D.S., Murthy, U.S., (1994), Group Decision Support Systems and Cooperative Learning in Auditing: An Experimental Investigation, Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p85-96, 12p, 2 charts, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=04c5204b-f40b-4e32-bca1-346fcae52068%40sessionmgr103
Dennis, A.R., Hilmer, K.M., Taylor, N.J. (1998), Information exchange and use in GSS and verbal group decision making: Effects of minority influence, Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p61, 28p, 4 charts, 2 diagrams, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=7eb3ef6c-0332-4cce-9b66-2252b72637f6%40sessionmgr106
Steinbart, P.J., Accola, W.L., (1994), The Effects of Explanation Type and User Involvement on Learning from and Satisfaction with Expert Systems, Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p1-17, 17p, 9 charts, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=78cd1633-1d2a-45c0-970f-b8785e9bb1d9%40sessionmgr108
Gandhi, N., Bodkin, C.D., (1996), Marketing Information Systems: Initiating a Dialogue for Cross-Disciplinary Courses, Marketing Education Review, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p11-19, 9p, 1 chart, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=984d1adf-e8f5-450b-abbf-9100dc828595%40sessionmgr109
(1999), Syria, Background Notes on Countries of the World 2003 – Syria, p1, 2p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=3a8fc240-e1ef-43c4-8ef3-13d9a096e75d%40sessionmgr103
Tyagi, R., Moore, L.J., Taylor, B.W., (1988), A Decision Support System For Funds Management In A Public University, Operations Research, Vol. 36 Issue 6, p864, 18p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=1e59783d-879e-46d7-92e6-46c7bde131f7%40sessionmgr109
Elimam, A.A., (1991), A decision support system for university admission policies, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p140-156, 17p, 2 diagrams, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=c966bf23-89f9-4ca8-b301-db89d265935e%40sessionmgr107
Benczek, R.H., Holsapple, C.W., Whinston, A.B., (1980), Future Directions for Developing Decision Support Systems, Decision Sciences, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p616-631, 16p, 4 diagrams, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=0ca3d55b-bedc-4ae1-857d-bd46f2f805b8%40sessionmgr103
Watson, H.J., Lipp, A., Jackson, P.Z., Dahmani, A., Fredenberger, W.B., (1989), Organizational Support for Decision Support Systems, Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p87-109, 23p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=a879161b-2849-483f-87c7-fae3cd1c69ef%40sessionmgr108
Watson, H.J., Christy, D.P., (1983), University Support Programs Offered By Vendors Of DSS Generators, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 26 Issue 12, p1098-1099, 2p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=605cf43c-d9d9-43f7-9a64-b3033986aa2c%40sessionmgr106
Franz, L.S., Lee, S.M., Van Horn, J.C., (1981), An Adaptive Decision Support System For Academic Resource Planning, Decision Sciences, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p276-293, 18p, 9 charts, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=a6e1d3b2-0010-477d-a011-3533755dd6c8%40sessionmgr103
Dalal, N.P., Yadav, S.B., (1992), The Design of a Knowledge-Based Decision Support System to Support the Information Analyst in Determining Requirements, Decision Sciences, Vol. 23 Issue 6, p1373-1388, 16p, 4 diagrams, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=99092417-5bc3-41ac-9cba-6b2a7df0471f%40sessionmgr103
Dickson, G.W., (1966), Simulation and Prediction of Vendor Selective Decisions, Academy of Management Proceedings, p144-152, 9p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=00d09ab0-82a7-4607-80cc-f559fb821e09%40sessionmgr107
Sprague Jr., R.H., Watson, H.J., (1979), Bit by Bit: Toward Decision Support Systems, California Management Review, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p60, 9p, 1 chart, 1 diagram, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=0268c810-07d2-4bbf-9e02-b42fa0629f31%40sessionmgr107
Cats-Baril, W.L., Huber, G.P., (1987) Decision Support Systems for Ill-Structured Problems: An Empirical Study, Decision Sciences, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p350-372, 23p, 13 charts, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=103&sid=df5e75f7-14d3-428c-b038-a01c4b1d8f01%40sessionmgr108
Todd, P., Benbasat, I., (1991), An Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Computer Based Decision Aids on Decision Making Strategies, Information Systems Research; Jun91, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p87-115, 29p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=680adc74-ffab-47af-a79d-5b4c01748453%40sessionmgr109
Mansmann, S., Scholl, M.H., (2007), Decision Support System for Managing Educational Capacity Utilization, IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p143-150, 8p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=abd074df-db6a-4531-9d23-4fc2101d3e76%40sessionmgr108
Dinkel, J.J., Mote, J., Venkataramanan, M.A., (1989), An Efficient Decision Support System For Academic Course Scheduling, Operations Research, Vol. 37 Issue 6, p853, 12p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=95218aab-e22b-4c76-a4cd-833c6dead313%40sessionmgr109
Kim, H.T., Platts, K., (2003), Linking Objectives to Actions: A Decision Support Approach Based on Cause–Effect Linkages, Decision Sciences, Vol. 34 Issue 3, p569-593, 25p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=9480e801-59ba-4671-8827-dcc56422a912%40sessionmgr109
Kao, S.C., Chang, H.C., Lin, C.H., (2003), Decision support for the academic library acquisition budget allocation via circulation database mining, Information Processing & Management, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p133, 15p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=64470f53-2f25-410f-bf19-aeb4f491d47c%40sessionmgr104
Murray, W. S., LeBlanc, L.A., (2000), A Decision Support System for Academic Advising, Journal of End User Computing, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p38, 12p, 7 charts, , retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=419ede6d-30e4-4d7c-811e-c5dff287cbbb%40sessionmgr104
Ferland, J.A., Fleurent, C., (1994), SAPHIR: A Decision Support System for Course Scheduling, Interfaces, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p105-115, 11p, retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail?vid=1&hid=114&sid=25e4a74b-cd54-4286-b06e-8cf41995971b%40sessionmgr108