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Beyond Computer Literacy: Implications of Technology for the Content of a College Education

Liberal Education Volume 90, Number 4, ISSN 0024-1822


Today there are important types of analytical thinking, communication, quantitative reasoning, and information skills that cannot be used, or learned, without technology. Let?s look at just two:(1) information literacy; and (2) the ability to create Web sites as a medium of academic expression. Information literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information in a library, on the Web, or anywhere else. Virtually all majors require some form of information literacy, which almost always requires knowing how to use a maze of information on the Internet, as well as print resources. Information literacy, like writing across the curriculum, is learned via a series of assignments and feedback on those assignments that should occur frequently and throughout the student?s course of study. In course after course, psychology students at Earlham get briefings from librarians and do research on the literature. They learn, for example, the difference between using "racism" and "prejudice" as search terms. Faculty members coordinate their efforts informally, talking about these skills and other facets of the curriculum in biweekly departmental meetings. Over the years, students learn skills that are manifested and assessed in a senior year capstone experience. For psychology majors at Earlham, the capstone experience is a multipart project. In one piece of it, students are each given an article written for the general public (e.g., from a newspaper). They have to search and interpret the academic literature on the topic and then write an analysis of the article, also geared to the general public. In another part of this capstone, seniors do an experimental project and must search and analyze the relevant research literature. These capstone projects are each graded by a pair of faculty who examine, among many other things, the students? use of the literature.


Ehrmann, S.C. (2004). Beyond Computer Literacy: Implications of Technology for the Content of a College Education. Liberal Education, 90(4), 6-13. Retrieved July 7, 2022 from .

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