Date of Award

8-1995

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Carol Costello

Committee Members

James D. Moran, Jackie H. McInnis, Frank W. Davis, Mark McGrath

Abstract

A survey was administered to assess the current and future state of academic computer use in teaching front office management courses, and to evaluate the degree of importance educators of these courses placed in various features of educational software. In addition, an instructional or industry-specific computer simulation program was integrated in a front office management course for undergraduate students. The purpose of this experiment was to determine if there were any differences in students' knowledge of the subject matter, attitude toward computers, and ability to transfer the learned skills to another industry-specific software, which could be attributed to the usage of either type of software.

Simulations via computers were considered as the most commonly used learning activities incorporated in teaching front office management courses. Results showed that students who initially used industry-specific simulation were able to transfer the learned skills more accurately than students who used instructional simulation. No significant differences were found between the change in knowledge of front office management and change of attitudes towards computers which could be attributed to students' gender, prior computer experience, or prior hotel work experience.

It was concluded that there is a pressing need for objective information on the effectiveness of instructional or industry-specific software programs that are being used by hospitality educators. Educators can make an important contribution toward generating the required data base by conducting small evaluation studies of software that they are using. Although any single study is likely to have low statistical power and limited generality, the aggregate data acquired from many studies will be of great value in helping to identify the effectiveness of available software.

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