Implementing online learning for students of computer end using at VUT

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Van Eck, Rene
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The personal computer has changed the way people think and live and has found its way into every area of life. The ability to work with computer technology is a requirement for today's world. The number of virtual learning environments (VLE's), is increasing and e-learning has been promoted as a solution for remote education. Computer literacy, the ability to use computers to perform a variety of tasks, is becoming fundamental to the learning process. Students need to be computer literate, because they are expected to use the computer in most of their subjects, by completing projects, perform electronic searches or typing assignments, to name a few. Many of the learners, who enrol at Vaal University of Technology (VUT), do not have this basic skill, and a great number of them do not have their own computers. It is thus still necessary for VUT to offer a subject such as Computer End Using to provide the learners with the basic level of computer literacy. According to the South African Qualifications Authority, computer literacy is on NQF level 4. Although computer literacy is regarded as being at a lower level than the first year in higher education, it remains a vital prerequisite for completing qualifications. It is therefore important that higher education institutions offer training for fundamental computer skills. This is also supported by the National Plan for Higher Education (NPHE), which emphasizes the mainstreaming of academic development. VUT faces a challenge in terms of providing computer literacy training through online learning. The exact skills the students need in order to engage in online learning, are the same skills taught online, subsequently these programmes require motivated learners with fundamental computer skills. The two online learning packages that were investigated in this study were a national product (HS Training) and an international product (SimNet). An informed recommendation was made with regard to the software package that would be most suitable for VUT students to become computer literate through online learning.
M. Tech. (Department of Information and Communication Technology, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences), Vaal University of Technology.
Computer licteracy