Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Student Performance at College Level Introductory Computer Courses – Does Gender and Maturity Play a Role?


Sam Nataraj

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Most of the entering business students at our university enroll in a computer literacy course called “Computers Literacy”. In this course students will learn effective strategies for learning and applying microcomputer software including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database management. The course introduces concepts, terminology, and tools of the microcomputer software operating and application system environment. Introduction to the effective utilization of networking for communication, research, and information downloading is also incorporated in the course. Emphasis is on preparing the student to use computer technology effectively in education and work environments. The second computer class is called “Software Tools for Business”. This course prepares students to be proficient in problem solving through the application of spreadsheet and database tools. In addition, students are introduced to other decision support tools, such as electronic presentation tools and web editors that are used in today's global workforce. Our study will investigate the knowledge of the students at the beginning of the course by administering a pretest. Their knowledge at the end of the semester will also be evaluated by means of a posttest. The pretest and posttest scores will be compared to ascertain whether the students have increased their knowledge base and skill set. Statistical analysis will be done to ascertain whether (1) gender plays a role in the students’ understanding of the computer concepts and (2) the students’ maturity level (determined by their class standing – freshmen, sophomore, junior or senior – plays a role in the students’ understanding of computer concepts.

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