Lutfus Sayeed, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Information Systems
Professor Lutfus Sayeed discovered his passion for teaching and interest in quantitative subjects while working as a school teacher and market research analyst. Pursuing his doctorate in the early days of the Internet, Sayeed found a true fascination with the interaction between information management and digital technology. “Information Systems is a dynamic field,” he says. “Instructors and researchers in the area have to continuously update their knowledge base and skills. That is very appealing to me.”
Sayeed’s research focus includes analytics and artificial intelligence-based information technology applications in healthcare and education, information sharing in groups using online communication tools, and environmental impacts of information technology. Recently, he has explored data analytics applications in healthcare and online education – two areas experiencing rapid growth.
A pioneer of research on online communication tools, Sayeed’s 1997 article "Virtual teams versus face-to-face teams: An exploratory study of a web-based conference system," published in the Decision Sciences Journal, is one of the most cited articles in business and management education. It received recognition for being among the 15 most downloaded articles in the 50-year history of the Decision Sciences Journal. Though at the time online communication was not as developed as it is today, Sayeed says his research was inspired by the Internet’s potential to enable the continued use and development of online conferencing and meeting tools.
He believes the increased reliance on these digital tools will continue even when the pandemic is over. “Tools such as Zoom have become ubiquitous because of the convenience provided to us through incorporating new features while adapting to needs of the changing nature of the workplace,” says Sayeed. “These tools keep changing and evolving as a result of the lessons learned from the interaction between the user and the technology itself.”
Sayeed also credits technology for playing a major role in the Lam Family College of Business’ successful transition to virtual learning and operations. “I think we have done a great job in our transition to online teaching due to the pandemic,” he noted. “The University has been very proactive by providing faculty with exposure and access to the right technology and training.” In his own courses, Sayeed conducted a virtual trip to a business as a way to break the monotony of lectures, used Zoom breakout sessions for group collaboration, and shared recordings of classes to increase flexibility.
For others trying to build a community virtually, whether at work or in the classroom, he recommends sending periodic newsletters, taking virtual field trips, building a classroom website or blog, and moderating a discussion board - moving away from simply replicating a face-to-face environment, and instead embracing the virtual tools available. There are also strategies that can be easily translated from in-person to virtual environments, like building trust. “Just like in the offline environment, students' or employees' performance needs to be recognized. The facilitator of the meetings or conferences has to take a very active role in implementing trust and recognition in an online environment.”
Ultimately, Sayeed believes this experience with online communication tools will be an asset to students as they interact in the professional world. “Regardless of their major or concentration, our students have to be technology savvy before entering the job market,” he says. “Businesses have realized online tools can be implemented innovatively to redefine the workplace, resulting in financial, operational and strategic gains. Therefore, when they recruit, they will prefer to employ workers who are already well versed in the technology that is now integral to business survival.”
Visit our Information Systems page to learn more about this academic department and the variety of courses we offer in this popular field.