UMBC recognizes that the use of technology is instrumental in enabling learning, advancing research, facilitating business functions, and enhancing the quality of citizens’ lives. UMBC, therefore, has developed, and regularly, updates a Strategic Plan for Information Technology (April, 2000) to ensure that technology enhances the quality of the campus’ teaching and learning, research, and administrative services. UMBC’s Strategic Plan for Information Technology responds to the Regents’ mandate that graduates from USM institutions be technologically fluent.
UMBC recognizes the importance of technology fluency in promoting success in employment and enhancing lifelong learning and communication capabilities. It is the intent of this policy to ensure that UMBC graduates will possess the information technology related skills that define technology fluency as a result of curricular focus, instructional strategies, and exposure to technology as members of the UMBC community.
In order to accomplish the goals of UMBC’s Strategic Plan for Information Technology and to implement this policy, UMBC students must have access to computing, software, and the internet. UMBC initiated its Assured Access to Computing Policy in 2001 to ensure such access. In so doing and recognizing that appropriate applications of information technology in teaching and learning will vary according to discipline and by course, UMBC faculty now are free to incorporate online resources and methods into their teaching and require students to complete assignments that entail use of those resources and methods. This policy, therefore, incorporates UMBC’s Strategic Plan for Information Technology as well as its Assured Access to Computing Policy.
UMBC graduates will possess the ability to use information technology to help define research agendas and goals, identify and evaluate information sources, develop write and edit reports and papers, and meet other course requirements (i.e., online information research, analysis, and writing skills); present their work through a variety of online or technology assisted means such as web pages, email, online forums and presentation software (i.e, publishing/presentation skills); and bring appropriate technology to bear on the problems within their disciplines and have knowledge of technological tools relevant to their disciplines and to being an active member of society (i.e., problem solving).
In addition to the incorporation of UMBC’s Strategic Plan for Information Technology and its Assured Access to Computing Policy into this policy, UMBC will achieve the goals of this policy in the following ways:
- provide training beyond the classroom to students to enable the effective use of information technology and develop a level of information literacy (currently provided by the Office of Information Technology, and the library);
- continue to enhance UMBC’s required composition course (English 101) and other composition courses which teach technology skills;
- offer required courses that teach technology skills within the major;
- technologically enhance other courses within the disciplines as appropriate to each discipline;
- make technology an integral part of all aspects of university life by continued use of technology to deliver student services (such as registering for classes, viewing account balances, accessing the schedule of classes and checking the status of library books)
UMBC recognizes the need to evaluate the effectiveness with which it implements its instructional activities and accomplishes its technology fluency goals. UMBC will assess the degree to which its students achieve technology fluency by the monitoring and reporting of its assured access program; regular assessment of its required courses in composition and those within the major (especially at the senior level) that contain a technology component; and regular surveying its alumni. The Office of the Provost working with the Office of Institutional Research shall be responsible for such assessment.
In addition, all academic program reviews shall address the issue of technology fluency. New program proposals also shall include a plan achieving technology fluency.
Institutional Policy on Technology Fluency
Template for the Board of Regents’ Report on Implementation Progress
1. Has UMBC’s interim institutional policy on technology fluency been approved by the Faculty Senate and adopted as a final policy.
2. Please report on the progress in implementing the institutional technology fluency policy in the areas recommended by the National Research Council
- Contemporary skills: The ability to use today’s computer applications, enabling fluency in the application of information technology. In the present labor market, skills are an essential component of job readiness. Most importantly, skills provide a store of practical experience on which to build new competence.
- Foundational concepts: The basic principles and ideas of computers, networks, and information that underpin the technology.
- Intellectual capabilities: The ability to apply information technology in complex and sustained situations as well as to encapsulate higher-level thinking in the context of information technology.
As appropriate, please include comments on implementation progress regarding the initiatives outlined in UMBC’s technology fluency policy:
- Providing training beyond the classroom to students
- Continuing to enhance UMBC’s required composition courses, which teach technology skills
- Offering required courses that teach technology skills within the major
- Technologically enhancing other courses within the disciplines, as appropriate to each discipline
- Making technology an integral part of all aspects of university life
- Instituting assessment mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of institutional strategies in accomplishing technology fluency goals
3. Future Initiatives and Comments
*cf. “Being Fluent with Information Technology,” National Research Council