Using Data to Drive Curriculum Development

One of the hallmarks of all CRDG developed curricula is a design based in part on empirical data and research. As part of the process of developing the computer literacy curriculum, the Learning Technology Section conducted a study wherein students were asked to consider their expertise and comfort levels with various software applications before and after the class, and to discuss issues of safety and ethics when using computers. Results indicated that students were not computer literate in workforce-oriented computer tasks, yet were comfortable and well versed in the social realm. Before the class, many students interacted frequently with video game consoles, MP3 players, cell phones, and chat rooms. Yet, all students in the study recognized that they lacked specific skills that were needed in their future careers. Following the course, there was a statistically significant increase in students’ skill levels for all software application areas as well as a statistically significant increase in their perception of learning. Students indicated that they appreciated the chance to learn, practice, and improve upon skills relevant to future professions, and that they appreciated the opportunity to discuss the social aspect of the Internet and their personal sense of computer ethics.