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The Impact of Computer Efficacy on the Success of Nontraditional Community College Students

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Information Literacy, Computer Efficacy and Readiness

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1206.1 - 23.1206.10



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Paper Authors


Amy Renee Henson Mineral Area College

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I am a business and and computer networking professor at a community college in southeast Missouri. I am ABD at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, with an emphasis on Community College Leadership in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program. The focus of my dissertation is the effect of computer efficacy on the college success of students, particularly those considered nontraditional.

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The Impact of Computer Efficacy on the Nontraditional Community College Student Computers and Internet technologies have penetrated and transformed nearly every facetof modern society. In fact, in many work, educational, and social situations, people are expectedto have a certain level of computer skills and Internet access. Organizational leaders commonlyenhance and often replace traditional transactions with electronic methods of performingbusiness functions. Colleges and universities and the students who attend them are no exceptionto this transformation. Computer skills for higher education are almost necessary before entering college. One ofthe most commonly reported skills necessary for college is proficiency with computers. For mostcolleges, the majority of campus information is published online and prospective students aredirected toward web sites for degree plans, course schedules, and online applications.Consequently, pre-existing skills and computer access are often expected as individuals proceedthrough the admissions process to obtain campus information and enroll for classes. Ironically,some university administrators feel that students obtain such a high level of computer literacybetween kindergarten and high school, that teaching computer skill courses in college is nolonger considered necessary. Since today’s traditional college students have matured during thedigital age and its proliferation of information technology, college officials believe that studentswill arrive at college technologically ready for the demands of higher education. However, oneof the fastest growing segments of the student body may not be considered in this scenario: thegroup often referred to as the nontraditional student. Typically, nontraditional students are classified as those over the age of 24 who enroll incollege after several years away from education. According to some studies, the number of highschool graduates will decline between the years of 2008 and 2015, suggesting that the number oftraditional college students will also decline during those years. However, enrollment amongolder students is increasing. The economic crisis has impacted employment situations for manyindividuals and higher education is often their only opportunity for a higher quality of life.Additionally, just as the need for workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathincreases, fewer traditionally aged students will be available to fill those critical positions.Technically prepared nontraditional students seeking new careers are an excellent solution to thisdilemma. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of nontraditional community collegestudents’ computer skills including their experience, skills, and access to technology on theirsuccess in college. In addition to computer skills and access, students’ personal beliefs in theirabilities to complete computer related tasks must be considered. “Self-efficacy” refers to aperson’s confidence in his or her ability to perform a specific act. According to Albert Bandura,individuals with low self-efficacy are more likely to abandon a task after less effort; those withhigh self-efficacy are more likely to persist until completion. The term “computer efficacy”refers to a person’s belief in his or her computer skills. If low computer efficacy negativelyaffects students’ behavior in classes, they may not be as successful as they could be. If acorrelation exists between computer skills and efficacy and the level of success in college,remediation may be critical for improving computer efficacy and college success.

Henson, A. R. (2013, June), The Impact of Computer Efficacy on the Success of Nontraditional Community College Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22591

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