Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Suzanne McCray

Committee Member

Karen Hodges

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili


Assessment, Computer education, Computer skills, higher institutions, academic support


This cross-sectional survey study was conducted to determine if California community colleges designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) assess incoming students for basic computer skills, provide learning support for these skills, as well as assess the attitude of administrators towards basic computer skills of incoming students. Prior published research documented the false assumption in higher education incoming students are “digital natives”, capable of effectively using technology expected on college campuses; however, there was no research focused on community colleges designated as HSIs. The study adds to the body of literature about the assessment of and support for basic computer skills on college campuses.

For purposes of the study, “basic computer skills” were defined in five categories:

• The ability to use word processing software (most commonly Microsoft Word);

• The ability to use spreadsheet software to prepare charts and graphs (most commonly Microsoft Excel);

• The ability to use software for classroom presentations and speeches (most commonly Microsoft PowerPoint);

• The ability to navigate the Internet for research; and

• The capability of learning and participating in online classrooms using various platforms or software.

The participants in this study were administrators in key academic positions representing all 55 community colleges HSIs in the state. All participants in the study held an administrator position at the time of the study. Each participant was asked a series of nine survey research questions, distributed via e-mail. All participants were asked the same questions and responses were electronically recorded and analyzed.

The survey determined the following:

1. Community college HSIs in California do not assess incoming students for basic computer skills.

2. Community college HSIs in California have varying academic support for basic computer skills.

3. Basic computer skills courses are not prerequisites for non-computer skill courses or programs.

4. Most California community college HSI administrators believe computer skills are basic college level skills.

5. However, most California community college HSI administrators are not concerned about the level of basic computer skills of the student body.

The responses from participants in the study emphasize the need for institutional change.