Exploring the Self-Reported ICT Skill Levels of Undergraduate Science Students

Dirk Heerwegh, Kurt De Wit, Jef C. Verhoeven
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 15  •  2016  •  pp. 019-047
Computers have taken an important place in the training of science students and in the professional life of scientists. It is often taken for granted that most students have mastered basic Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills; however, it has been shown that not all students are equally proficient in this regard. Starting from theories of socialization and technology acceptance we report how we constructed a structural equation model (SEM) to explore the variance in the basic ICT skill levels of science students. We also present the results of a test of this model with university bachelor’s science students. Basic ICT skills were measured using a new, elaborate instrument allowing students to rate their skills in detail. Our results show that science students score high on basic ICT skills and that our SEM explains a large part of the variation in the ICT skill levels of these students. The most explanatory power is coming from four variables: the perceived ease of use and the perceived usefulness of a personal computer, the anxiety for using a personal computer, and students’ belief that ICT is necessary for scientific research.
survey, ICT skills, computer literacy, science students, technology acceptance model, TAM, higher education, structural equation model, confirmatory factor analysis
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