Office of Administration and Finance

Towson University - Interim Policy on Information Technology
                           Fluency
Towson University recognizes the need for today's graduates
to have strong information technology skills to be
successful in the workplace, the community and in their
personal lives.  In accordance with the USM Regents mandate
that graduates of USM institutions attain a defined level of
technology fluency and guided by the recommendations
established by the National Academy of Sciences, Committee
on Information Technology Literacy, Towson University has
adopted the following policy on information technology
fluency.
Policy 1.It is the policy of Towson University that all graduates shall, at a minimum, be proficient in basic information technology skills. The current minimum list of basic competencies includes: a. Having a basic understanding of computers, information system and networks; b. Using a word processor to create text documents; c. Using graphics or presentation software to convey ideas; d. Using the Internet effectively to find information and resources; e. Communicating effectively with others via computer; f. Using a spreadsheet to model simple processes; and g. Using a database to set up and access useful information. 2. The University expects and supports an environment in which the majority of students will achieve proficiency in additional information technology capabilities as well as an understanding of social, ethical and political context and consequences of the information technology revolution. 3. The University expects that every graduate will achieve proficiency in those information technology abilities necessary for success in his or her major discipline as it is currently evolving. Implementation: The University has specific initiatives in place to address these goals: 1.General Education Requirements. All students, whether first-time or transfer, are required to complete the general education course requirement: Using Information Effectively (UIE). Each academic college offers multiple sections of this course focusing on basic research tools and techniques of the discipline. UIE courses focus on critical thinking; team building and collaborative approaches to learning; problem solving; written and oral communication skills; and the many dimensions of gathering and using information. As a key component of the UIE courses, students are introduced to research design, techniques for searching, evaluating and using information from the Internet and the Web, and how to develop appropriate presentations or papers from the information obtained. The UIE courses in general, address competencies a., b., c., and d. above. 2.Requirements of the Major. Each academic college and department defines the requirements for its majors and the information technology capabilities that are specific to the discipline. These information technology requirements are incorporated in individual courses or defined in broader concepts, such as the College of Education's 'PT3 Standards', based on Maryland Teacher Technology Standards, or the College of Business and Economics' 'Cornerstone/Capstone' courses. In addition, courses in the major concentrations provide additional emphasis on and development of information technology capabilities, through incorporation of higher level teaching activities and increased technology enhancement, including email discussion, course Web sites, collaborative projects and presentations, and continuing the development of all the fundamental capabilities. 3.Independent Study Resources and Tutoring. In addition to and in support of specific information technology skills incorporated in UIE courses and the major concentrations, the University provides an array of resources and support services to facilitate students' directed or independent development of the basic capabilities. a. The Student Computing Services Center (SCSC), a unit of Computing and Network Services, directly supports student technology orientation, skills assessment, and skill development in computer software and campus computing resources. The SCSC offers an online skills inventory for incoming students, to determine their skill level and identify needed remediation; computer-based tutorials or hands-on workshops to alleviate deficiencies; and workshops on word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software, Web searching and publishing, the use of Blackboard courseware, and electronic mail. b. The Cook Library reference librarians provide course- related, general, and individual instruction for students on how to use the Internet and web browsers and how to evaluate information located online. This includes instruction in how to use the online TU and USM catalog, online databases, online journals, online tutorials, Internet search engines, and Internet resources. c. Computing and Network Services, through its Help Center and web site, provides telephone, print, and online support for recommended and supported hardware and software; getting started on e-mail; creating personal web pages; how to backup data; virus and anti-virus software information; getting connected; disk quotas; frequently asked questions; and computer lab resources on campus. Assessment The University recognizes the need for ongoing assessment of the instructional strategies and resources directed toward the goals of information technology fluency. 1. The University is committed to ongoing evaluation of the General Education Requirement and of the achievement of information technology fluency objectives embedded in UIE instruction. 2. Academic colleges, departments and major programs will be responsible for developing assessment tools to evaluate the achievement of fluency in discipline specific competencies. 3. SCSC, Library and CANS will be charged to report on utilization statistics for their resources and services in support of student information technology fluency, and to initiate planning for continuous evaluation of CBT products, tutorials, workshops and online resources for independent or directed use by students. 4. All academic program reviews shall address the basic requirements for technology fluency, and all new program proposals will be required to incorporate specific plans for contributing toward the University goals for information technology fluency.