The use of computers and information technology is becoming more widespread in chemical education and in the wider community and workforce. Universities are increasing the use of computers and information technology in their teaching and learning programs. The Australian situation, reported here, can be viewed as a microcosm, reflecting a world-wide trend.
The penetration of general IT literacy and ability amongst Australian undergraduate students is rising rapidly. This paper reports surveys of the detailed IT skills of Australian undergraduate students. To the best of our knowledge, apart from our own work, there have been no other published surveys of specific IT skills. Most students have some reasonable computer skills at the start of their university studies, but the level of skill is not uniformly high. In fact, many IT literate students lack a sufficient level of skill to use the new technologies, including full use of web-based flexible learning. There is an urgent need for IT training for university students in order to achieve successful learning outcomes using IT and to satisfy the needs of future employers.
This article, which is the second in a series (1) of investigations on the computer skills of undergraduate students at the start of university, is an expanded version of a paper presented at the World Chemistry Congress held in Brisbane (Australia) during 1-6 July 2001.
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