The Morehouse College mission statement calls for the “promotion of understanding and appreciation of the specific knowledge and skills needed for the pursuit of professional careers and/or graduate study.” In order to accomplish this objective, the College requires all students to attain “Computer Literacy and Information Fluency” as a part of its General Education Core Requirements. (See College Catalog.) Further, the College has developed an information literacy program for its students as a part of the piloted core curriculum, enhanced the use of technology as a teaching tool, and provided access to and training in the use of technology.
Computer Literacy and Information Fluency
Student proficiency is measured by a student earning a “C” or higher in one of the following courses: CSC 101: Survey of Computers and Software Packages; CSC 106: Introduction to Computer Science I; CSC 110: Computer Programming I; BUS 322: Management Information Systems; SOC 301: Statistics; SOC 302: Social Research Methods; or SOC 403: Survey Research and Data Analysis. As noted in the College’s catalog, demonstration of competency can be measured by completing one of these courses or by performing the following set of hands-on tasks in a computer lab: use of basic terminology of computer technology, create and edit documents using a word processor, create on-line presentation materials, create tables and charts, create a personal database, exchange e-mail with others, and use a Web browser to locate resources of interest. A student’s major will dictate whether he completes a course or a set of hands-on tasks in a computer lab. For instance, business and economics majors are advised to take BUS 322; science and dual engineering majors are advised to take CSC 101 and/or CSC 106; and sociology majors are advised to take SOC 301, 302, or 403. Majors in the humanities are advised to take CSC 101. Department chairs from any of the majors may select hands-on tasks in a computer lab in lieu of one of the courses. Students must satisfy the computer literacy competency requirement prior to graduation.
In order to strengthen information fluency/information literacy as one of the learning outcomes (#6) of its General Education Program, the College has developed an Information Literacy Program overseen by an Information Literacy Committee. This Committee has addressed information literacy in light of national expectations of accountability of information literacy. By definition, demonstration of the competency in the 21st century requires application of critical thinking skills and computer literacy. Produced in 2007 by General Education’s Information Literacy Committee was the Information Literacy Syllabus. Distributed to students via department chairs, the Information Literacy Syllabus outlines the American Library Association’s information literacy competency standards for higher education: (1) the information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed; (2) the information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently; (3) the information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system; (4) the information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; and (5) the information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. To achieve consistency in the demonstration of computer literacy and information literacy, in Fall 2007, the Information Literacy Committee implemented a two-hour, Web-based Research Skills Program that has been influenced by the ALA performance criteria. Seniors who have not taken a computer science course will complete the Research Skills Program. Starting in Fall 2008, incoming students will complete the Research Skills Program or an equivalent (ETS’ iSKills Test). Students who score below the cut-off score of 50 would be required to take CSC 101, CSC 106, CSC 110, or BUS 322. At a future time, these courses will be reviewed to determine whether ALA’s performance criteria are being demonstrated. The ALA performance criteria are reinforced in ENG 101-102 in the standing core and in ENG 104-105, ENG 104L-105L, SOC 200, HIS 113, and ENG 415 in the piloted core.
Technology as a Teaching Tool
In August 2003, UNCF granted Morehouse College funds to advance its instructional technology program. This funding served as the catalyst for improving the resources for teaching and learning.
The funding enabled the College to:
Enhance faculty use of instructional technology in the classroom
Enhance learning opportunities, which contribute to improved student performance
Reduce the overall level of attrition of students who major in the sciences and mathematics
Provide a forum for enhanced community building using technology
Enhance student competitiveness in the pursuit of graduate programs, and thus enhance their access to careers in science, mathematics, and engineering
A progress report demonstrates the impact this program has had on the teaching learning process at the College.
Access to Technology
The College provides general access to technology through its use of the following:
Additional access is provided by computer laboratories and/ or computer aided instruction in the following departments:
Chemistry General Education
Telecommunications Foreign Languages
Mathematics General Business
Computer Science English