Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lynda Kintz


Some students do not possess the learning management system (LMS) and basic computer skills needed for success in first-year experience (FYE) courses. The purpose of this quantitative study, based on the Integrative Learning Design Framework and theory of transactional distance, was to identify what basic computer skills and LMS skills are needed for first-year students to be successful in FYE courses. A survey was offered to 368 first-year students and 47 first-year instructors at a large Midwestern community college to compare instructors' perceptions of the computer literacy skill levels necessary for FYE student success with FYE students' self-reported current computer skill levels. An independent-samples t test was used to compare the means of the 2 groups (FYE instructors and FYE students) to evaluate whether the groups were significantly different from each other regarding needed basic computer skills. Analyses revealed significant differences between the groups in adding borders and highlighting in word processing software, posting initial threads and replies in discussion boards, submitting assignments, locating the online course calendar and syllabus, and forwarding e-mails. The findings of this study prompted a recommendation to change the student entrance policy to include student computer literacy workshops and placement exams. This study impacted positive social change by providing information to educators at the study site as to the computer literacy and LMS skills that are needed in a FYE course, therefore aiding FYE students in the future.