Re: Computer literacy

Subject: Re: Computer literacy
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1993 15:51:58 -0500

> Could anyone out there help me with a definition of "computer literacy"
> and perhaps provide some insight into what you think students who are
> computer literate should possess in overall skills.

Now *here's* an idea whose time has come. Computer literacy is nothing
more than competency in several areas related to the understanding and
use of computers to accomplish useful work. To my own wrinkled
sensibilities, this does *not* include how to beat the SuperMario
Brothers Nintendo game, no disrespect intended.

How you compose a list of basic competencies depends on for whom you
compose it. Computer literacy for a literature student need not be as
rigorous or extensive a list of competencies as it is for, say, an
engineering student. You would expect the literature student could
function well in a job without knowing a thing about simulation or
modeling software. An engineer might have some trouble.

I think there are common elements: word processing, introductory
database query, common interface elements, some basic computer science
concepts (what is an operating system, what is a console, what does a
CPU do, what is a disk drive, how do modems work, what is a mouse,
etc..), how to operate a PC, how to use popular software packages in the
student's field of study, basic programming logic, printing things,
using email, saving files, basic network theory.

You can be productive on a computer and *not* be computer literate.
Literacy, to me, implies productivity combined with an understanding of
the underlying concepts.

Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list. Where I work, we have a
competencies list for folks in our division, but that is specific to our
hardware, configuration and software. Of course, we hire people who are
already computer literate, so the basics are already there.

I hope this helped.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Don't use the imperative!" |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| -Rhetorical contradiction |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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