Librarians in academic institutions are becoming increasingly involved in the determination and implementation of strategies for the use of computers in instruction. For some libraries the involvement begins when plans for the implementation of an automated library library system alerts academic administrators to the possibility of providing computer access for students, others are impacted by demands for library support in the form of the provision and maintenance of microcomputer laboratories for student use. The following notes present a skeletal overview of the different strategy options for using computers in instruction that have been adopted by various institutions. The options are arranged in a hierarchy with the highest level of commitment first.
Adoption of this strategy represents a major commitment to preparing students to use computers, with required use of computers--up to 500 hours a year-and access to all appropriate campus computing facilities through a local area network. File-transfer protocols are provided-whether purchased packages or locally developed-so that students and faculty can move information from campus computer systems to storage on their own micros. The teaching of computer skills permeates the entire curriculum and students are encouraged to use computers in library research, writing, and communication. Students may be required to purchase computers. This is an expensive strategy, costing as much as 10 percent of an institution's educational and general budget. Only some 20 institutions have made this commitment, primarily privately endowed universities and those which have technically oriented curricula.
This strategy involves teaching most students to use computers as a major tool, with up to 100 hours of hands-on use per year. Each student may be expected to take one or more basic courses, but extensive use of computers would depend on the student's curriculum. A student in engineering would get considerably more exposure than a student in the humanities. Course-related laboratories would be available, but students not enrolled in a course requiring computer resources would have only limited access--most probably only to machines in the library or learning center. Students would not be required to purchase computers, but the institution would seek to negotiate student discounts for one or more makes of micros. There would be no local area network, nor would the institution facilitate the transfer of files by purchasing or developing file transfer protocols.
Computer literacy programs aim at providing each student with up to 50 hours of hands-on use during his/her enrollment at the institution. At least one computer oriented course is required of each student. Students have access to microcomputer labs to meet course requirements.
Courses are offered to all students, but they are optional rather than required. Up to 50 percent of the students might take at least one course and they might have up to 20 hours of hands-on experience during their enrollment.