CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Bridging the Proficiency Gap: A Study of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy of Nontraditional College Students in Accelerated Learning (AL) Programs

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science (DISC)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven Zink

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Marilyn K Littman


Accelerated Learning, adult education, computer literacy, continuing education, ICT literacy, nontraditional students


In order to complete degrees faster, many nontraditional students enroll in Accelerated Learning (AL) programs where they often use communication software or devices, also called information communication technology (ICT). ICT literacy is the ability to use ICT appropriately to solve information problems. Gaps in ICT literacy can frustrate nontraditional students and distract them from learning course content. Due to AL programs` fast pace, there is little opportunity for students and educators to discover and fill ICT literacy gaps.

Millions of nontraditional students enroll in programs designed for traditional students. Identifying ICT literacy gaps for students can help educators address specific academic needs. Identifying and bridging ICT literacy gaps is essential in preparing all students to succeed in the information age. While the mission of the National Higher Education ICT Initiative includes addressing the ICT literacy gaps of both traditional and nontraditional students, little effort or

research exists to date, which examines the ICT literacy gap of nontraditional students. This lack of research makes it more difficult for institutions to recognize the issue of nontraditional students` ICT literacy gaps. This lack of research also makes it more difficult for institutions to address effectively these ICT literacy gaps.

The goal of this research was to compare the ICT literacy gaps of traditionally aged students in traditional programs to the ICT literacy gaps of nontraditional students in AL programs and to help determine if nontraditional students in AL programs have unique ICT literacy gaps that warrant identification and remediation. This study expands the body of knowledge concerning ICT literacy gaps of nontraditional students in AL programs.

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