The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Technology Assessment determining online readiness

By Mario Montalvo/ne news editor

A new policy requires students who have never taken an Internet course or who have taken an Internet course but not received a grade of C or better to take and pass an online assessment before registering for distance learning courses in the spring.

The SmarterMeasure assessment is a group of questions designed to help students determine if distance learning is right for them. It helps them discover if they have the necessary technical skills and self-discipline to be successful in an Internet or instructional television course.

The assessment has been available as a voluntary tool for students to gauge their technical and academic skill level for two or three years, said director of distance learning Kevin Eason.

After attending a conference, Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley requested the program be mandatory because she thought it could help ensure student success, Eason said.

SmarterMeasure assesses students’ strengths and weaknesses in reading rate and recall, technical competency, individual attributes, life factors, preferred learning styles and typing speed and accuracy. The assessment takes about 35 minutes to complete, and students can log out and finish later if needed.

“The assessment won’t guarantee that a student will be successful in an online course, but it does help to show whether or not they have certain skills that can lead to success,” Eason said.

Students are required to earn a score of at least 60 percent for reading rate and recall and technical competency, 50 percent for technical knowledge and must type a minimum of 15 words per minute to complete the registration process. Students may retake the test after 48 hours if they do not meet the minimum scores required. The grade students receive on the assessment will not affect their grades in their distance learning classes.

First-year student Eme Tucker plans to take all online classes next semester and took the assessment early.

“It wasn’t really that hard,” she said. “It took about 30 minutes.”

Tucker considers herself to be computer-proficient and said she discovered she was a visual learner.

“There was typing to see how fast you type, and all kinds of technical skills that you need to learn for distance learning classes,” she said.

Generally, faculty feedback has been positive, Eason said.

South Campus assistant professor of French and ESL Floreen Henry took the assessment when it was initially offered in 2008 and found it to be accurate, she said.

“I believe that the intent of the assessment is not to be intrusive or be an additional hurdle for a student new to distance learning, but the opposite — to provide additional support and advisement for those who may be new to the higher education experience and/or do not understand the involvement in distance learning courses,” she said.

Students may enroll in distance learning courses thinking they will be easier only to find them more difficult if they have reading and writing weaknesses they are unaware of, Henry said. This could be a problem since students are now limited to how many classes they can drop, she said.

Results will be available immediately, and students can download the report or email it to themselves. But students will have to wait 24 hours before registering for their desired distance learning courses.

The SmarterMeasure assessment login page can be found at http://tccd.smartermeasure.com.

Students can log in using their WebAdvisor credentials.

Students may call distance learning at  817-515-4357 with any questions regarding the assessment or registration requirements.

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