1 University of Sri Jayawardenapura (SRI LANKA)
2 University of Colombo School of Computing (SRI LANKA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3154-3163
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Information Communication Technology (ICT) competency describes more than awareness or driving license level of using computing facilities to carry out different task. Undergraduates of a university will become knowledge workers in the society and they should acquire the knowledge, skill and attitude using the modern ICT technology to carry out their job tasks effectively. If they fail to achieve this level of competency in ICT, it becomes a key factor for the under or unemployment of graduates irrespective of academic qualification. Specially, when study streams of students are not in the science or engineering, it becomes an important as well as a difficulty matter to be addressed in universities due to several reasons.

The case study presented in this paper is based on the ICT competency progrmme carried out at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura in Sri Lanka, which has more than 2500 student intake annually and 50% of this intake are for the management study stream. Majority of these undergraduates will join the private sector employment where their business process strongly depends on the ICT based infrastructure. Hence, ICT based competency must be addressed irrespective of their core curriculum of study streams. It may help to improve the relevance and better employability.

It also facilitates to enhance the quality of undergraduate education, and to establish the foundation for research studies in postgraduate education.
However, the development of ICT competency has become a tough assignment than expected irrespective of investment to develop ICT infrastructure within the university during last 5-8 years. Our study showed several reasons affecting badly for this situation and heterogeneous user background was the key obstacle affected to enhance the ICT Competency. The user background includes the prior experience of using computers and Internet, English language and attitudes towards computing as the main factors. Different faculties in the university have their own programmes towards developing ICT literacy and the curriculum/syllabus of ICT competency courses were covering different scope without considering any national or international standards. ICT competency could be extended with respect to different study stream requirements in the final year of studies but the core competency must be common curriculum based on the knowledge, skill and attitudes of knowledge workers in the modern working environment. In this study, we have proposed three levels for undergraduates where first two levels address the core curriculum of ICT competency.

The third level could be customized based on the faculty requirements with respect to study streams. This paper presents the design, implementation and evaluation of this curriculum.

When the student numbers are large and their backgrounds are different, it is not effective to conduct the traditional teaching based on the classroom/laboratory based environment to develop the ICT based competency. e-Learning based interactive and self-learning lessons create the learning environment to facilitate students to learn based on the requirements and backgrounds as well as depending on their availability. e-Testing based assessment on other hand creates an environment to assess the competency when students are ready to task the assessment. In this paper, we present in detail how e-Learning and e-Testing based learning environment was used to improve the competency of undergraduate students.
ICT competency, e-literacy, undergraduate education, curriculum development, e-learning, e-testing.