A comparative evaluation of computer literacy amongst dental educators and students

Mattheos, N., Janda Schittek, M., Nattestad, A., Shanley, D. and Attström, R. (2005) A comparative evaluation of computer literacy amongst dental educators and students. European Journal of Dental Education, 9 (1). pp. 32-36. ISSN 13965883 (ISSN)


A task-oriented questionnaire was designed, aiming to quickly assess competence with the use of computers. The questionnaire consisted of distinct computer-related skills, representing various competences in educational computer use. A total score from 0 to 49 was calculated upon completion of the questionnaire, based on the sum of all the positively identified competences. The questionnaire was distributed to an international group of leading dental educators during the DentEd Global Congress in Prague in 2001 and to a cohort of first year dental students (2001) in the Dental Faculty, University of Malmö , Sweden. Certain attitudes towards the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in dental education were also measured through Visual Analogue Scales in the educator's group. A total of 149 questionnaires were collected from the educators' group and 58 from the dental students. There was no significant difference in the average computer competence score between the two groups. The educators' group average score was 20.7 (SD 9.9) and students' average was 18.1 (SD 8.5). A significant positive correlation (r = 0.395277, P < 0.0001) was found between the competence measured by the questionnaire and the year of graduation in the educators' group. The attitudes towards the role of ICT in dental education amongst the educators were very positive, regardless of their competence with computers, year of graduation or academic position. The results from this study indicate that there is wide diversity in computer competence amongst both students and academic staff. In addition, students' actual competence in the use of computers might not be as high as is often perceived through self-assessment and ordinal scales. © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2005.

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