Are Students Ready for a Virtual University?
Abstract: Establishing a virtual university in a small state is challenging especially when the technical infrastructure and the computer competencies of students are considered. This paper describes a study, conducted at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, which investigated: the students’ years of experience using computers; where students accessed computers and the Internet; the type of Internet access; the Internet-related skills students possessed; and, the technical skills needed to operate, maintain and secure computers. This study revealed that most students had access to at least one computer and the Internet at home. However, half of the students had dial-up; eighty percent had dial-up with one telephone line. Many students did not know how to secure their computer. These results imply that in order for students to be ready that they will need broadband Internet access; and, training in Internet-related skills, troubleshooting and security.
Presider: Francesca Collins, Monash University