Rapid evolution of microcomputer use in a faculty of health sciences. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: To assist with educational planning we surveyed health sciences faculty members in 1989 to determine their use of microcomputers, desire for further instruction and perceptions on what microcomputer services should be provided for students. The 1989 results were compared with those of a similar survey performed in 1986. DESIGN: A self-completed, mailed questionnaire, with up to three reminders. SETTING: Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. PARTICIPANTS: All full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) faculty members were sent the questionnaire; over 80% of the FT and 65% of the PT faculty members responded in 1986 and in 1989. RESULTS: The proportions of faculty members who used microcomputers increased significantly over the 3 years, from 71% to 87% among FT members (p = 2.2 x 10(-8)) and from 48% to 69% among PT members (p = 4.9 x 10(-8)). There were significant increases in the use of many of the applications, especially database and filing uses (from 10% to 41% among FT members [p less than 1 x 10(-9)] and from 6% to 34% among PT members [p less than 1 x 10(-9)]) and on-line access to bibliographic databases (from 7% to 37% among FT members [p less than 1 x 10(-9)] and from 3% to 18% among PT members [p less than 1 x 10(-9)]. These changes occurred mainly through individual initiative and voluntary continuing education. CONCLUSIONS: The extraordinary rate of adoption of microcomputers attests to their perceived usefulness. Curriculum planners need to consider how the success of microcomputer applications can be evaluated objectively and how successful applications can be integrated into educational programs.

publication date

  • January 1, 1991

published in