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Technology/Information Literacy 2001-2002

The Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies coordinated the Technology/Information Literacy competency (previously called the Technology competency). Faculty members from the Department of Computer Science in the Engineering School developed the assessment guide, and chose and trained the assessment evaluators. In 2007, a SCHEV task force concluded that institutions have the option to substitute an institution specific category for the Technology/Information Literacy. The University of Virginia has chosen to assess Undergraduate Research, and thus Technology/Information Literacy will no longer be assessed.

Assessment Plans

Summary Reports

Goal

The University of Virginia expects graduates of its College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Architecture, Commerce, Nursing, and Education to have and to understand basic knowledge and skills about information technology in order to use it effectively and productively for their own purposes. The University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) expects its students to master the essential computer skills and fundamental problem solving techniques common to engineering.

Student Learning Outcomes

College, Architecture, Commerce, Nursing, and Education

The University of Virginia expects these graduates to know and be able to perform the following essential technology skills:

  1. Setting up a personal computer. A person who uses computers should be able to connect the parts of a personal computer and its major peripherals (e.g., a printer). This entails knowing about the physical appearance of cables and ports, as well as having some understanding of how to configure the computer (e.g., knowing that most computers provide a way to set the system clock, choose a screen saver, or change the screen resolution).
  2. Using basic operating system features. Students should be able to install new software, delete unwanted software, and invoke applications. Other skills included in this category are the ability to discover file sizes and determine the amount of free disk space.
  3. Using a word processor to create a text document. Minimal skills in this area include the ability to select fonts, paginate, organize, and edit documents. Integration of image and other data also is essential. Students would demonstrate these skills in either a word processing application or in a web page creation tool.
  4. Using a graphics and/or artwork package to create illustrations, slides, or other image-based expressions of ideas. This skill involves the ability to use the current generation of presentation software and graphics packages.
  5. Connecting a computer to a network. Students should be able to demonstrate they know basic skills for connecting a computer to a telephone jack and configuring a system for dial-up access to an Internet service provider.
  6. Using the Internet to find information and resources. This skill includes locating information on the Internet and using browsers and search engines. The use of search engines and browsers requires an understanding of one's needs and how they relate to what is available and what can be found readily, as well as the ability to specify queries and evaluate the results.
  7. Using a computer to communicate with others. This skill includes being able to use electronic mail as a primary mode of computer-based communication.
  8. Using a spreadsheet to model simple processes or financial tables. This skill includes the ability to use standard spreadsheet systems to carry out basic mathematical calculations.
  9. Using a database system to set up and access useful information. This skill includes the ability to use a database system for basic operations or to use personal information mangers.
  10. Using instructional materials to learn how to use new applications or features. This skill involves using online help files and reading and understanding printed manuals. One aspect of this process is obtaining details or features of systems one already comprehends; a second aspect is using the tutorial to grasp the essential models and ideas underlying a new system.

Engineering

At a minimum, the SEAS expects its graduates to know and to be able to demonstrate the following seventeen essential technology competencies. The first ten items in this list of essential technology competencies have been adapted from recommendations of a research report of The National Research Council, Being Fluent in Information Technology, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1999.

  1. Setting up a personal computer. A person who uses computers should be able to connect the parts of a personal computer and its major peripherals (e.g., a printer). This entails knowing about the physical appearance of cables and ports, as well as having some understanding of how to configure the computer (e.g., knowing that most computers provide a way to set the system clock, choose a screen saver, or change the screen resolution).
  2. Using basic operating system features. Students should be able to install new software, delete unwanted software, and invoke applications. Other skills included in this category are the ability to discover file sizes and determine the amount of free disk space.
  3. Using a word processor to create a text document. Minimal skills in this area include the ability to select fonts, paginate, organize, and edit documents. Integration of image and other data also is essential. Students would demonstrate these skills in either a word processing application or in a web page creation tool.
  4. Using a graphics and/or artwork package to create illustrations, slides, or other image-based expressions of ideas. This skill involves the ability to use the current generation of presentation software and graphics packages.
  5. Connecting a computer to a network. Students should be able to demonstrate they know basic skills for connecting a computer to a telephone jack and configuring a system for dial-up access to an Internet service provider.
  6. Using the Internet to find information and resources. This skill includes locating information on the Internet and using browsers and search engines. The use of search engines and browsers requires an understanding of one's needs and how they relate to what is available and what can be found readily, as well as the ability to specify queries and evaluate the results.
  7. Using a computer to communicate with others. This skill includes being able to use electronic mail as a primary mode of computer-based communication.
  8. Using a spreadsheet to model simple processes or financial tables. This skill includes the ability to use standard spreadsheet systems to carry out basic mathematical calculations.
  9. Using a database system to set up and access useful information. This skill includes the ability to use a database system for basic operations or to use personal information mangers.
  10. Using instructional materials to learn how to use new applications or features. This skill involves using online help files and reading and understanding printed manuals. One aspect of this process is obtaining details or features of systems one already comprehends; a second aspect is using the tutorial to grasp the essential models and ideas underlying a new system.
  11. Putting data in a table and plotting and performing basic statistics on the data. This skill includes the ability to use a standard spreadsheet or equation-solving package to set up a two-dimensional table, plot the data on at least two different types of axes, create a histogram, use intrinsic functions, create a user-defined function and find the sum, mean, median, mode and standard deviation of the data in the table.
  12. Creating matrices, performing matrix algebra, and solving simultaneous systems of equations. This skill includes the ability to use a standard spreadsheet or equation-solving package to create matrices, find the sum, difference and product of matrices, transpose a matrix, find the determinant and inverse of a square matrix and use matrices to solve systems of simultaneous equations.
  13. Performing curve fitting on a data set. This skill includes the ability to use a standard spreadsheet or equation-solving package to determine the equation of a curve that represents the aggregate of the data.
  14. Using an Interactive Development Environment (IDE) to compile and build an existing program. Students should be able to open an IDE, open an existing program file, name the parts of the program and compile and build the program.
  15. Performing simple debugging of a program. Given a simple program with expected inputs and outputs, a student should be able to correct logic or programming errors to remove the fault in the program.
  16. Hand-checking a computer function. Students should be able to read a function and a set of input (actual) parameters, and determine the result of executing the function.
  17. Writing a computer program that interacts with a user and performs basic statistical calculations on a data set. Students should be able to write a simple, interactive program. This program should input a data set, fill an array, and calculate basic statistical information about the data set and output these results.

Methodology

The following is an explanation of the 4, 3, 2, 1 scoring scale, which applies to all schools.

  • A SCORE OF 4 (strong competence): A score of 4 will indicate that the student is able to complete the activity successfully without any assistance.
  • A SCORE OF 3 (reasonable competence): A score of 3 will indicate that the student is able to complete the activity with minor assistance, or almost complete it correctly without assistance.
  • A SCORE OF 2 (some competence): A score of 2 will indicate that the student understands or has some understanding of the concept behind the activity, but is unable to carry out the specific steps on the computer to accomplish the activity's goal without the need for major assistance.
  • A SCORE OF 1 (little competence): A score of 1 indicates that the student does not have a basic understanding of the concept behind the activity and thus could not accomplish the activity.

College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Architecture, Commerce, Nursing, and Education

A panel of independent evaluators assessed the technology skills of not fewer than 5% of fourth-year undergraduates chosen at random from the five undergraduate schools (about 150 students in all). Students carried out activities in each of the ten skill areas, and for each activity an evaluator gave each student a score based on a 4-point scale described above. A score of 4, 3, 2, or 1 was be assigned for each of the ten skills for each student. A final composite score of 4, 3, 2, or 1 was determined for each student by averaging the ten individual scores.

Engineering

A panel of independent evaluators assessed the technology skills and competencies of not fewer than approximately 8% of fourth-year SEAS undergraduates chosen at random. Separate cohorts of students for competency items 1-10 and items 11-17 carried out activities in each of the seventeen areas, and for each activity an evaluator gave each student a score based on the 4-point scale described below. A score of 4, 3, 2, or 1 was assigned for each of the seventeen skills and competencies for each student. Separate final composite scores of 4, 3, 2, or 1 were determined and reported separately for competencies 1-10 and 11-17 for each student by averaging the individual scores.