Fluency in Information Technology (FIT):                                                                                  ...
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Fluency in Information Technology (FIT): Setting Expectations and Understanding Students’ Learning Needs


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A poster session given by Gail Matthews-DeNatale, Braddlee, and Bruce Tis to the NERCOMP and NITLE annual conferences.

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Fluency in Information Technology (FIT): Setting Expectations and Understanding Students’ Learning Needs

  1. 1. Fluency in Information Technology (FIT): Setting Expectations and Understanding Students’ Learning Needs Gail Matthews-DeNatale, Bruce Tis, Braddlee, Simmons College, Boston, MA OverviewWhat do liberal arts graduates need to be prepared to live, A Liberal Arts Approach to What Do Our Students Know? What Do They Need to Learn? Fluency with Information Technologylearn and lead in the 21st Century? This is the questionthat the Simmons College of Arts and Science’s (CAS) In summer 2004 the Task Force used the fluency rubric toFluency with Information Technology Task Force (FIT) develop an instrument for assessing students’ fluency withposed in the spring of 2004. A diverse group of faculty information technology. In fall 2004 the assessment wasmembers that included a philosopher, linguist, and alibrarian in addition to technology specialists, the FIT Personal Professional administered to incoming students during orientation.Task Force was also charged with developing a plan forimproving student Fluency with Information Technology. • Use technology in a thoughtful, • Communicate effectively in the workplace using technology Sample FIT Assessment QuestionThe first goal was to develop a shared understanding of proficient, and self-confident manner You are doing background research for a science project. In addition to perusingthe relevance that FIT holds for liberal arts education at library sources, you decide to go onlineSimmons. The Task Force developed a rubric that • Evaluate, procure, install, and configure • Understand the role and and see what’s available. You come across these two web sites (see screenshots). Which site do you think isoutlined FIT goals for Simmons graduates across fourdimensions: personal, interpersonal, professional, and technology function of information more credible? How did you decide which site to pick? What evidence helped you select the most credible site?societal. and technology in the workplace Media Literacy Screenshots: 1) Edible Vaccinations, a page from the National Science • Use technology to evaluate and interpret Technology Foundation’s web site and 2) DHMO, a hoax science web site.Understanding students’ learning needs is a central text, numbers and images • Use technology to solvecomponent of the FIT implementation plan. Afterarticulating an interdisciplinary (liberal arts) model for • Information Storage • Semiotics / Linguistics problems in the workplace • Think critically, solve problems,FIT and developing a framework of goals for studentlearning, the Task Force developed an instrument for and test solutions (with and about and Retrieval • Art / Media Studies • Use technology responsiblyassessing incoming, middle year, and graduating students. technology) • Systems, Abstraction, • Communications in the workplace Of 116 incoming students who took the baseline assessment, • 6% chose the correct website, but provided a faulty Goals • Troubleshoot technology and Modeling • Philosophy / Ethics • Work collaboratively across explanation, indicating that their selection was either for the wrong reason or just a lucky guess • Cultural Studies geographic distances • 70% either chose the wrong site or said “not sure”• Articulate expectations for graduating CAS students’ fluency with information technology. • Think about information • Algorithmic • Think in terms of systems • only 24% selected the credible website and provided a• Develop strategies for ongoing assessment of: students’ technology abstractly thinking • Anthropology substantive explanation for their choice FITness; opportunities for student FITness across the curriculum; and the program itself. • Understand the value • Security/ • Sociology Societal of keeping current on In the same school year, 100 graduating• Offer support and incentives for enhancing the • Education students also took the same assessment. Graduating students were, FITness-building that takes place in CAS courses and technological Privacy • Keep current on technological in general, more confident of their FIT abilities. Incoming students reported a in co-curricular learning opportunities. mean confidence rating of 5.6 on a scale developments developments of 1-10, whereas the graduating students reported a mean rating of 7.3,• Provide students and advisors with the information with nobody rating themselves lower than a 3. they need to identify and address students’ FITness learning needs. • Evaluate and assess emerging Yet, despite greater confidence, graduates were no more likely to select Interpersonal the NSF website and provide a technological developments substantive rationale for their choice. Addressing Students’ FIT Information Literacy (e.g., feasibility, social impact, • Communicate and collaborate Learning Needs effectively using technology in many • Information Science ethical ramifications, legal implications, etc.)To achieve our goals for IT fluency, opportunities fordeveloping FIT need to be integrated across students’ different settings • Information Architecture What does the assessment tell us? • Understand and evaluate the opportunities,curricular and co-curricular learning -- spanning theiryears as a learner at Simmons. • Recognize and accurately interpret • Intellectual Property threats, limitations, and impact associated Despite considerable access to computers and the Internet, both incoming and graduating students are not yet adequately the style, voice, and perspective • Online Research prepared to live, learn, and work in a technology-rich,In fall 2005 we are conducting a faculty survey to assess with emerging technologies multimedia saturated society. It is understandable thatexisting opportunities for strengthening and infusing FIT of others in digital contexts graduating students would be more confident about theiracross the curriculum. The survey will also assess faculty • When deemed appropriate, be prepared to serve as fluency with information technology. But students andmembers’ professional development and support needs. • Make astute decisions an advocate for change in relationship to technology faculty members should not mistake access and experienceThis information will be used to develop customized using software for fluency. In the same way that collegeopportunities for faculty professional development. regarding style, voice, (e.g., inclusion, legal and ethical reform) students need to learn systematic processes for writing and and perspective when research, they also need to learn how to work, think, create,We are in the process of developing models that and problem-solve systematically with technology.demonstrate possibilities for technology infusion in liberal communicating inarts classes, such as a fall 2005 course entitled digital contexts In some instances, students may not have learned how to use“Storytelling in the Age of the Internet.” With the FIT the software appropriately. In other situations, students haverubric, assessment system, models of best practice, and not learned how to make connections across the conceptualopportunities for faculty professional development in domains of technology, information literacy, and mediaplace, Academic Technology will issue a FIT infusion Spring 2004 Summer 2005 Fall 2004 Spring 2005 Summer 2005 Fall/Spring 2006 Spring 2006 - future Fall 2006 literacy. This kind of integrative thinking is critical to criticalgrant request for proposals (RFP) from faculty to support Task Force Formed Develop Plan and FIT Assessment FIT Assessment Faculty Institute Faculty Survey Faculty Professional FIT Infusion problem solving, creative thinking, and generative work.the infusion of FIT across CAS courses. Assessment Incoming Students Graduating Students (pilot) Develop Models Development Mini-Grant Initiative