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School Requires Computer Literacy

August 17, 1999

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Computer literacy is now a requirement for incoming students at the University of Texas at Arlington.

University officials are requiring that all incoming students demonstrate computer competence in five areas. They are word processing, spreadsheets, email, the Internet and online research through the school library.

Students can take a computer literacy test to fulfill the requirement, or they can take a course designated by the department of their major.

``We think, if a student can do the basics in any of these areas, they have reached a minimum acceptance of computer literacy,″ said Dana Dunn, associate vice president for undergraduate academic affairs and student affairs.

``I think this is a really good thing. Any employer who hires a UTA graduate is ensured a student who has this kind of knowledge,″ she said.

But the requirement has a ``grandfather clause.″

The policy affects only incoming students who must fulfill the requirement before they can graduate.

Officials decided to add the requirement because computer skills are essential in the workplace.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a national accrediting body for universities, has encouraged institutions to develop such policies.

Trish Nickel has been hired as coordinator of computer testing services to launch and oversee the training.

Many schools are moving in the direction of requiring computer literacy, but they ``are struggling to determine what computer literacy is and what’s the best way to measure it,″ she said.

Incoming students will be required to pay a $45 fee for the testing.

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