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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Information Systems instructors have always sought to analyze the characteristics of their first-year students' prior computer experience so as to inform a variety of instructional decisions and devise optimal classroom management strategies. Despite the extensive research literature that has been published in the last two decades regarding students' computer experience, there is no single definition of computer experience and no universally accepted construct for its assessment. This study supports the need for deconstructing approaches to examine computer experience and proposes an analytic framework for its assessment, based on different variables studied in bibliography. Computer Experience Assessment Framework (CEAF) includes the variables of: knowledge sources, social environment, opportunities for computer use, freedom of use, goals of use, technical environment, breadth of use, perceived knowledge, negative events, and intensity of use. Usefulness, internal structure, and previously reported use of each variable are presented. A questionnaire was developed and administered to first-year students of a Greek university in order to analyze the contribution of each variable in recognizing students with heterogeneous computer experience. The pilot study indicated that the framework could successfully reveal multiple aspects of the students' background. Various ways of exploiting CEAF are discussed in the last section of the paper.

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