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A study of midwest students' technology skills

Carolyn A Hardy, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to identify computer literacy/skills needed for undergraduate students, to assess the computer literacy/skills of college freshmen, and to determine if a need exists for a computer literacy/skills course for all undergraduate students. The study surveyed faculty members at institutions in the state of Missouri to determine what technology skills are important, and assessed students on their computer literacy/skills prior to taking a computer course at the post-secondary level. ^ The faculty survey indicated computer concepts, word processing, and presentation skills were considered important, while spreadsheet and database skills tend to be less important. It may be appropriate to require these less important skills in specific content areas and not necessarily require them for all undergraduate students. Eighty-five percent of faculty respondents agreed or strongly agreed that a computer course or equivalent test out should be required of all undergraduate students. ^ Faculty survey findings indicated a significant difference between departments on what technology skills are considered important. Computer concepts were rated higher in Computer Science/Information Systems and Education departments. Word processing skills were rated higher in the Education department. Spreadsheet skills were rated higher in Accounting/Economics/Finance, Agriculture, Business Administration, Chemistry/Physics/Science Education, Computer Science/Information Systems, and Education departments. Presentation skills were rated higher in Agriculture, Business Administration, Computer Science/Information Systems, and Education departments. Database skills were rated higher in Accounting/Economics/Finance, Computer Science/Information Systems, and Education departments. These results might indicate a need for some departments to have a computer course designed specifically for their needs rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all course. ^ In regards to the student assessment, if the goal is for students to show proficiency at 60% or higher, students demonstrated proficiency in word processing and presentation skills, but did not show proficiency on computer concepts, spreadsheet, or database skills. If the goal is mastery at 80% or higher, the majority of students did not master any of the five areas of computer concepts, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, or database skills. ^

Subject Area

Education, Technology of|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Hardy, Carolyn A, "A study of midwest students' technology skills" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3186856.