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Required Technology Skills for Coursework

The skills listed below are the minimum skill set that is expected of incoming students before taking courses at the School of Information Sciences. Students deficient in these skills should seek out local training opportunities, such as classes at a library, community college, or computer training center, to gain the required and recommended skills. Many print resources and online tutorials are available on the University of Tennessee website. For more information, visit and ICT Learning Resources


These basic competencies are assumed on the first day of class. Students must assume responsibility for learning these skills if he/she does not already possess them. If an instructor finds that you do not have the required skills and knowledge, you may be asked to withdraw from the course.

Basic Knowledge of Computers

  • Understand basic computer hardware components and terminology
  • Understand the concepts and basic functions of a common computer operating system
  • Start up, log on, and shut down a computer system properly
  • Use a mouse pointing device and keyboard
  • Use Help and know how to troubleshoot routine problems
  • Identify and use icons (folders, files, applications, and shortcuts/aliases)
  • Minimize, maximize and move windows
  • Identify common types of file extensions (e.g. doc, docx, pdf, html, jpg, gif, xls, ppt, pptx, rtf, txt, exe)
  • Check how much space is left on a drive or other storage device
  • Back up files
  • Download and install software on a hard disk
  • Understand and manage the file structure of a computer
  • Check for and install operating system updates

Proficiency in Using Productivity Software

  • Create documents of various types and save in a desired location
  • Retrieve an existing document from the saved location
  • Select, copy, and paste text in a document or desired location
  • Print a document
  • Name, rename, copy and delete files
  • Understand and know how to use the following types of software programs:
    • Word processing (example: MS Word, Google Doc, Writer)
    • Presentation (example: PowerPoint, Impress)
    • Spreadsheet (example: Excel, Calc)
    • PDF reader (example: Acrobat Reader, Preview)
    • Compression software (example: WinZip, StuffIt, 7-Zip)

Electronic Communication Skills

  • Email, using a common email program (example: MS Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail)
  • Compose, Send, Reply, Forward messages
  • Add attachments to a message
  • Retrieve attachments from an email message
  • Copy, paste and print message content
  • Organize email folders
  • Understand what an electronic discussion list is and how to sign up and leave one (example: Listserv, Listproc)

Internet Skills

  • Set up an Internet connection and connect to the Internet
  • Have a working knowledge of the World Wide Web and its functions, including basic site navigation, searching, and installing and upgrading a Web browser
  • Use a browser effectively, including bookmarks, history, toolbar, forward and back buttons
  • Use search engines and directories to find information on the Web
  • Download files and images from a Web page
  • Understand and effectively navigate the hyperlink structure of the Web
  • Understand how keep your information safe while using the Internet

Moving Files

  • Transfer files by uploading or downloading
  • View and change folder/document security settings
  • Copy files from hard disk to storage devices and vice versa

If you have specific questions concerning these competencies, please contact the SIS Technology Coordinator,, ph. 865-974-1405.

In addition, new students will have an introduction to Online@UT – Canvas and Liveonline@UT - ZOOM training.

Before your first class at SIS you should:

  • Understand how to log into Canvas at
  • Be able to navigate through your class site
  • Know the steps needed to upload Assignments

Before your first ZOOM class session you should be familiar with:

  • How to log into ZOOM class sessions
  • How to perform a sound/microphone check and what to do if you don’t have sound or microphone
  • How to use the ZOOM interface