Technological Competence: What
It Is and How Will We Know It
When Someone Has It?
Ruth Burridge Lindemann, Ph.D.
Danville Area Community College
The Assessment Committee declared
“technological competence” should be one of
our general education outcomes.
We wanted to be sure our
students could compete in the
brave new world…
Photo courtesy of: http://benmoreno.net/the-buddy-geek/
Then we Alfred E Newman’ed it,
while we were re-accredited, etc.
Before we knew it, it was
Time to review our options
• Self assessments
• Information literacy models
– Project SAILS
• Performance Competency – that diverts
students into classes
• Normed tests – 21st Century Skills
– Elementary and middle school
What did we mean?
What was “technological competence” anyway?
Varying opinions on this point… so we…
Created a Committee…
1. Everyone seems agreed that computer skills should be part
of any general campus-wide technology assessment. What
computer skills should every student be able to perform?
2. Each discipline will be assessing technology specific to their
subject area, but are there technological skills you believe
we need to make sure that every student can do? Examples
might be mobile technology, basic calculator operation, etc.
3. Consider your answers to Questions 1 & 2. What general
education classes do you feel might be best suited to
including training in each of these particular skills.
4. Are any particular considerations that the College needs to
take into account in relation to particular populations? Older
or returning students? Students for whom English is not a
• Wide-ranging recommendations
– Pre- and post-testing
– Widely varied skill sets:
• file management (such as backing up originals)
• applications such as Word, etc.
• internet skills (evaluation to applying for jobs)
• hardware skills like webcams
– Basic calculator, phone, camera, copier, and
Became clearer what level of work
so we… Agreed to Survey the Faculty…
1 Month of Badgering,
Cajoling and Bribery to
get 32 respondents to
the survey, which is at
least 54% of the full-
time faculty plus 5
One Normed Exam
• iCritical Thinking Assessment/Certification
– $45 discounted to $35
• Great willingness to incorporate change into their
• Strong areas of consensus – which matched the
areas tested by the iCritical Thinking Exam
• The process for developing the practical exams
would entail designating individual specialists
within the College to draft problems, testing
them, creating an appropriate testing
environment for a technical test, etc. – for a non-
• $45/student began to look reasonable