Students find computer skills a necessity for daily life

By Renee Tomcanin
November 30, 2000

by Renee Tomcanin

Modems, connections, system, e-mail, Ethernet cables. These words seem to be part of the everyday collegiate vocabulary. In fact, the average college student is becoming more computer-savvy as seen in a study done by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The trend seems to continue here at Cabrini.

First-year student Missy Modesti has had the opportunity to use computers in the classroom since around seventh grade. She is currently enrolled in IST 116, Cabrini’s introductory computer class.

“I had the same class in high school,” Modesti said. Her statement reflected the opinions of many of the first-year students who see the computer competency requirement as trivial. One group of first-year students suggested that the computer classes should be optional.

The study reported that a greater number of incoming freshmen are arriving at school with their own computers and a greater understanding of the basic system software such as the Internet, Windows, word-processing software and e-mail.

In the article, Paul M. Hunt, vice provost for libraries, computing and technology at Michigan State University, said, “The typical freshman seems quite capable of getting Napster running and a pretty good Web surfer using Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer.”

This trend can be seen at Cabrini. Many of this year’s incoming first-year students arrived with personal computers and the knowledge to use them.

The increase of computer-literate students has added the need for more dorm room connections. The Chronicle’s study reported that at Michigan State “it is not uncommon for 56 percent of the students to be using the campus network or the Internet simultaneously.”

Senior Mike Killeen reported that he too had basic computer skills coming into college. However, he did not arrive with his own his first year.

“My father had a computer, but I didn’t get my own until I was already in college,” Killeen said.

A separate article printed in the Chronicle of Higher Education cited computers as adding on to the average cost of attending college. Many schools are using the new necessity as a chance to make more money.

According to the article, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sold IBM ThinkPads at summer orientation. They also provided a brief training course. Polytechnic University leases their laptops to students at a cost of $500 a semester.

As technology has become part of daily life, computer skills and training have become a necessity. The rise in college students owning their own computers and having at least basic skills only makes one think of the future.

What could possibly be next? Fax connections in every room?

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Renee Tomcanin

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