Analysis of “IT Literacy for Freshmen Students” Survey April 14, 2004 (for full details of the report go to:) http://www.zoomerang.com/reports/public_report.zgi?ID=L223W8G8JB2E password:studlit04 1. Do students come to CU-Boulder with a level of technical proficiency adequate for success in your introductory freshmen level course(s)? If not, what technology skills are they lacking? 39 responses. 74% said yes, 26% said no. Interesting responses included: Some students need to know how to do an e-mail attachment (doc or rtf) to send their papers to classmates and to create a class address list in e-mail. Some students seem to lack the ability to a) find email addresses in the directory on the CU website, and b) get the readings from the web - either course websites or library reserves. Even in 2000 and 3000 level courses I have students who can't/won't access library resources from home, use email (or can't handle attachments), or understand the CPI printing system. Students have a range of skills. Problems I see include students' not being able to answer troubleshooting questions when they have problems transferring files. They don't always know if they are using a Mac or PC, and they don't know what software they are using, much less what version or what operating system. They also don't know about logging into campus resources using their Identikey password so that the system recognizes them as a CU citizen. I do have trouble with students familiar with Macs, who are unable (or pretend to be unable) to manage file transfer to PC. _Apparently_, they've had very bad luck getting help from whoever's around at the labs. I teach a course, CLAS/ARTH 1509: "Trash & Treasure, Temples & Tombs," which requires students to know how to open a browser and get on-line so they can use the course web site. The course then uses five computer-based assignments to teach students about copyright issues, how to use various search engines, simple image editing, and slightly more complex Word usage. My hope is that by the end of the semester they will have the elementary skills they need to use technology for research and paper-writing. Yes, enough to succeed, but more familiarity with using Excel would be valuable- in conjunction with a basic understanding of statistical concepts 2. Are there any courses or supplemental learning activities that you recommend your freshmen students take to achieve a certain level of technology proficiency (e.g., BCOR1000, a continuing education course, ITS brown bags)? If so, what are they and for what reason do you recommend them? 39 responses. 21% said yes, 79% said no. Interesting responses included: I send them to Mac Lab to have staff there show them how to do the skills mentioned in Q 1. Engineering freshman usually take GEEN 1300, to get familiar with computing I think more proactive residence-based support is needed I am not acquainted with the courses available. Since my students have just arrived at CU, there is no opportunity for them to take any such course. Perhaps something could be offered that they could take simultaneously. A very introductory course. They would have to elect to take it on their own before the semester has started. Or, another possibility is some kind of short course, non-credit, that they could take after they have had the initial difficulties. I have given them a short course in the chemistry they need, for those who have not taken chemistry. All of our students should be chosen from the top 15% of Colorado high school graduates by automatically admission. Anyone who does not have the skills needed to be a successful student in terms of writing or simple math, would have to pay extra tuition to cover the remedial courses they will have to take. Too often, we waste our time and money with students who are so poorly prepared to do college-level work that having a "survey of IT Literacy for Freshmen Students" would not be necessary. 3. What is the name of an introductory course that you have taught within the past year for which you either expected or taught any technology proficiency? (no responses from Music, Business, Anthropology, Art & Art History, Chemistry, Economics, History) AIRR1010 - Air Force Today-Intro to the AF ASEN/ASTR 2500 Gateway to Space ASTR 1010 or 1110 Introductory Astronomy CLAS/ARTH 1509: Trash & Treasure, Temples & Tombs CVEN 1317 ENGLISH 2000/ Literary Analysis Environmental Biology (especially lab) ENVS 1000 EPOB 1230 and EPOB 1240 GEEN1300, 1400 Introduction to Engineering Computing General Biology Lab GEOG, 1020, 1001, 1010, 1070, 2002 Introduction to Communication Disorders Introduction to Comparative Politics Introduction to Statistics in Psychological Resear IPHY 1950, Intro to Sci Writing in Physiology ITAL/FREN 1400 French and Italian Women Writers MATH 1012 MCDB 1111, 2150 Principles of Genetics MCEN 1025 Computer-aided design & fabrication Meaning of IT NORW 1010: Beginning Norwegian 1 Phys 1110, 2010 PSCI 2004, 2074 Puntos de Partida, is a First-Year Spanish text SLHS 2010 WRTG 1150, First Year Wrtiting and Rhetoric 4. For the introductory class listed above, please rank the level of technology proficiency NEEDED. The two highest ranked proficiencies needed were: “create electronic documents using a word processing application” (35% ranked high, 28% ranked medium, and 33% ranked low) and “collaborate using electronic communication (email, listservs, chat, etc.)” (33% ranked high, 33% ranked medium, and 23% ranked low.) Interesting, the proficiency, “understand major legal, social, ethical, and security topics related to current technology issues” ranked either low at 41% or N/A at 31%. The other proficiencies that were seen as a lower priority were: “create electronic presentations (powerpoint or similar tool)” at low 41% or N/A at 33% and “create webpages” at low 34% or N/A at 61%. The final two proficiencies that were in the middle were, “demonstrate basic hardware and software computer competence” at medium 53% and low at 30% and “manipulate electronic data management tools (spreadsheets and/or databases) at medium 29%, low 37%, and N/A at 32%. 5. For the introductory class listed above, please rank the level of technology proficiency TAUGHT. Not surprisingly, the two highest-ranking proficiencies that were taught in class were: “create electronic documents using a word processing application” (18% ranked high, 23% ranked medium, and 18% ranked low) and “collaborate using electronic communication (email, listservs, chat, etc.)” (10% ranked high, 28% ranked medium, and 35% ranked low.) The three proficiencies that were not taught in class were: “create electronic presentations (powerpoint or similar too)” at 48%, “create webpages” at 74% and “manipulate electronic data management tools (spreadsheets and/or databases) at 47%. The proficiency that was sometimes taught was: “demonstrate basic hardware and software computer competence” at medium 30% and low at 28% 6. Would it be beneficial to have a technology expert come into your class to teach a specific technological skill? If yes, for what particular skill? If you would like to have someone contact you about this possibility, please include your contact information in your answer. 41 responses. 15% said yes, 85% said no. Interesting responses included: I would prefer to send students to someone outside of classtime to learn or review these skills Absolutely not! The needed instruction is so discipline and course specific that I'm pessimistic it would ever be very successful for an outside person to do more than give anything other than generalized instruction. Perhaps ITS could train the instructors but not the students There is not time to do this within the class structure. It should be a separate course, maybe a 1-credit course A course on how to navigate the Library Web page: Chinook, Zap, ILL, how to access on-line reserves, how to configure your home computer to gain access to the pages, etc. If I was able to make use of more technology in the classroom, then I would have my students do more work with technology. But as long as I am assigned rooms with a chalkboard as the highest tech available, there's no reason to expect the students to use much more than paper! Honestly, I don't think taking more class time would help those who need it, and would distract those (majority) who don't. I'd prefer a resource I can refer them to. Not yet, although in the near future, I would like to develop a course website with discussion boards, etc. In that case, it might be useful to have a technology expert come to the class. The basics, esp. what is avail. on campus and how to use basic software - word pro, spreadsheets, email, web searches. 7. Do you have any other comments about students’ technology proficiency? Over the years I've been teaching technology, the knowledge students arrive with has grown dramatically. I used to teach specific skills, but now I only need teach a few discipline or course specific "tricks." E.g., everyone seems to have basic knowledge of Word, but many don't know how to use the headers and footers effectively for page numbering, dating, running heads, etc. So I teach that little tidbit. Another example: most everyone has a little skill in Powerpoint but few know my esthetics--so I teach (impose?) those esthetics about transitions, fonts, colors, backgrounds, etc. I expect students to access the web, submit homework answers through an electronic web based system, watch and use instructional CD's, input answers to questions on a web form, use email to communicate with me. Haven't had any troubles with this basic level stuff, even in classes of many hundreds of students. They are much better today than 5 years ago, and I expect this trend to continue. There will always be some who are not prepared, however, so some level of help will always be needed. Also, I think ist fair to say that basic skills in word processing, spreadsheet use and building effective presentations are a necessity today, and I applaud your efforts to institutionalize this. It would be valuable to have a place students could go for one-stop-shopping for remedial IT training. This might even be in the residence halls, or perhaps in the UMC or Rec Center. Perhaps this exists already. If so, the faculty and advisors need to know about it so that they can market it to in-coming students Technology literacy MUST be paired with a consideration of information literacy proficiency. A web site that illustrates common IT functions (IM, word processing, graphics generation and embedding in word documents), printing and saving Flash and Java pages would be valuable.
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