December 18, 1995

TO: Dr. Alfred Guillaume, Provost

FROM: Committee on Computer (Information) Competency: Jack Stoob, Convener; Bill Cannon, Computing & Telecommunications Services; Ken Hannaford, Arts & Humanities; Margaret Lang, Natural Resources & Sciences; Tim McMillan, Behavioral & Social Sciences; Lily Owyang, Academic Affairs; Freida Ravasco, Associated Students; Phil Rose, Professional Studies; Bob Sathrum, Library

Committee Advisors/Guests: Corryn Crosby-Muilenberg, Library; Colleen Mullery, Business & Economics; Jack Turner, Research & Graduate Studies

SUBJECT: PROPOSAL TO INCORPORATE INFORMATION COMPETENCY INTO THE PROGRAMS AT HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY



Background:

The following proposal was formed by the Committee on Computer (Information) Competency after a review of several sources dealing with the subject and related subjects. These include

  1. The "Phil Rose" Committee Report on Computer Competency (5/9/94)
  2. The HSU University Curriculum Committee minutes dealing with computer competency. (9/20/94, 10/18/94, 1/24/95, 2/14/95)
  3. The HSU Academic Senate minutes dealing with computer competency. (12/6/94)
  4. The HSU Academic Senate schedule to discuss the UCC Report on distance learning.
  5. The "Charles Chamberlin" Committee Report on computer technology at HSU. (5/11/94)
  6. The University Curriculum Committee Report on Distance Learning. (2/7/95)
  7. The job description for the HSU Coordinator of Distance Learning Initiatives. (8/95)
  8. Any Provost overall documents / guidance on computer competency.
  9. Any Provost overall documents / guidance on distance learning.
  10. Any Student Legislative Council resolutions or documents on computer competency.
  11. Any Student Legislative Council resolutions or documents on distance learning.
  12. The NR&SCI College Report on Computer Competency. (3/17/94)
  13. Any BSS College documents / guidance on computer competency.
  14. Any A&H College documents / guidance on computer competency.
  15. Any PS College documents / guidance on computer competency.
  16. Submitted Library documents / guidance on information literacy and competency.
  17. A proposal from the "Phil Rose" Committee Report for the establishment of a learning skills laboratory.
  18. Guidance supporting and results from a CSU Workshop in Information Competence held in November 1995.

Before citing the proposal, it should be noted that the Committee on Computer Competency concluded that the topic should be broadened to that of Information Competency. The Committee concluded that the issue is much broader and important for HSU students than just computer competency and agreed with several recent sources that recognize a need for educated individuals to be able to recognize when information is needed, to be able to locate the needed information, to be able to apply information resources to work, to be able to interpret information, to have the ability to use information tools and sources, to be able to make intelligent decisions in a democratic society, and to be informed and articulate about public policy issues.

In a nutshell to be information competent is to be able to locate, process, and use information effectively.

The Committee further concluded that information competency could be broken down into three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. It concluded further that the processing and effective use of information comprise the intermediate and advanced levels and should be the subject of the academic disciplines at the institution. Finally, the Committee concluded that in order for success at the intermediate and advanced levels, some basic competencies should be held by HSU students soon after their matriculation. The Committee's proposal only deals with the basic competencies that it feels are necessary in preparation for the realization of the intermediate and advanced levels of information competency.

The Proposal:

  1. Establish five types of Basic Information Competency.

  2. Students should show evidence of attainment of the types of competence by successfully completing competency exams or by completion of any course(s) judged as providing one or more of the listed basic information competencies.

    For native students the competencies must be attained by the completion of thirty semester units at HSU. For transfer students the competencies must be attained by the completion of fifteen semester units at HSU. Students will not be allowed to register for additional units if the competencies have not been demonstrated by the completion of these numbers of units.

  3. Require courses in the university catalog to cite the basic information competencies required as a prerequisite to the course. For example the following text should be appended to any catalog course description when the course does require such competence:

    "Basic proficiency in [     ] is (are) required (see page xx of the catalog)"

    [Microsoft Windows operating system]
    [Macintosh operating system]
    [Wordprocessing]
    [Spreadsheets]
    [Telecommunications/email/internet]
    [Library research]
    [All Basic Information Competencies]
    or
    "Basic information competence of type(s) [1, 2, 3, 4, and/or 5] is (are) required (see page xx of the catalog)."

  4. Establish a learning center to aid students to acquire the competencies listed in A. above.

    The learning center should contain appropriate and available computer aided instructional packages dealing with the listed competencies, would be staffed to help students use the packages and to answer any questions concerning the competencies, and have appropriate documentation, books, tutorials, videos and any other appropriate tools available to aid students in gaining the competencies.

    The learning center would also have the responsibility of administering the competency examinations.

  5. Establish a University wide committee to continue discussions and make any appropriate proposals dealing with intermediate and advanced levels of information competency.
Attachment: - Computer Competency Committee List of References with Summaries

cc: University Curriculum Committee, Educational Policies Committee of the Academic Senate