GW is considering integrating computer literacy requirements into its required curriculum because its current requirements do not include a computer literacy course for all the undergraduate schools, administrators said.
Craig Linebaugh, vice president for Academic Affairs Planning and Projects, said students who are not required to take any computer classes would benefit from taking these classes because it is beneficial for them to learn spreadsheet and database programs like Microsoft Excel.
Linebaugh said the main question to consider about computer literacy courses is “What are the essential skills for a college student to have?” He said a student has to decide whether he or she is headed in a direction that dictates the need for a computer requirement.
GW does not have any immediate plans to add any computer literacy requirements, Linebaugh said.
Some students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Business and Public Management are required to take computer classes to graduate.
However, students in the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences as well as the Elliott School of International Affairs are not required to take computer classes.
Computer literacy classes are open to students of all undergraduate schools. Despite these courses being offered, sometimes computer courses are dropped due to lack of enrollment. For example, an applications software class had to be canceled at the Mount Vernon campus because only three students registered for it.
Schools such as the University of Texas at Arlington already have required computer literacy courses that all undergraduates, regardless of their majors, must take to graduate.
In a recent article in The New York Times by Pamela Mendels entitled, “Universities Adopt Computer Literacy Requirements,” she writes, “increasingly, colleges and universities are adopting computer literacy requirements in an effort to better prepare their students for the modern workplace.”
According to Mendels’ article, the University of Texas at Arlington requirements are “use of spreadsheet programs, use of word processing programs, ability to use the school’s online library research services, ability to use e-mail and ability to conduct Internet research.”
This article appeared in the October 7, 1999 issue of the Hatchet.