A study of the impact of computer applications supplementation in college computer literacy courses

Joe Mack Thweatt, Tennessee State University

Abstract

Two intact computer science computer literacy classes at Middle Tennessee State University in the spring of 1988 were used in a study which hypothesized that alternating computer applications lessons (word processing, data base and spreadsheets) with computer literacy theory lessons would increase interest in computers, increase knowledge of computer literacy, and decrease the gender gap in computer interest and knowledge of computer literacy theory.^ One class (the experimental group, N = 59) was taught computer literacy theory in alternating lessons with hands-on computer applications lessons, while the control group (N = 67) was taught theory only. After 12 weeks, each group was tested with regard to interest in computers ("Interest" subtest of CALIP: Computer Aptitude, Literacy and Interest Profile) and knowledge of computer literacy theory (questions supplied by the course textbook publisher). The students were surveyed with regard to programming experience. Their ACT scores were gathered from school records.^ Over 50 percent of the students in each class had previous programming experience. An ANOVA of computer interest (dependent) with programming experience, group and gender (independents) showed a significant (p $<$.05) three-way interaction. This led to an analysis of the hypotheses for both the original groups and the subgroups without programming experience.^ Group comparisons showed that there were no significant differences in computer interest or knowledge of computer literacy. With regard to gender, the experimental group actually had significant gender differences (males $>$ females) in three categories: (1) computer interest in the total group (p $<$.05), (2) computer interest in the subgroup without programming experience (p $<$.01) and (3) knowledge of computer literacy theory (ACT not controlled) in the subgroup without programming experience (p $<$.05).^ It was concluded that alternating computer applications lessons (word processing, data base and spreadsheets) with computer literacy theory lessons is not the answer to the need for (1) raising attitude levels toward computers, (2) increasing knowledge of computer literacy, or (3) decreasing the gender gaps in attitudes toward computers and knowledge of computer literacy.^ Recommendations included advising students with prior programming experience to take alternate computer literacy courses which include some programming. Also, computer software and the pedagogy of computers at all school levels should be continually evaluated to remove gender biases. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Technology of

Recommended Citation

Joe Mack Thweatt, "A study of the impact of computer applications supplementation in college computer literacy courses" (1988). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9017221.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI9017221

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