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On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, Dean Mancina wrote:

> We are, again, looking at interactive basic skills software for our
> community college students.
>
> Currently we are looking at NEW CENTURY and SKILLSBANK.
>

We just got Skillsbank IV, so bear in mind my comments are based on very
little true data, just a few observations.  Also, I have looked at very
little beyond the English/reading skills.  Someone else will have to
answer about the Math section.

While I personally found the exercises quite easy, that was not the case
with several of my Developmental Studies students.  They became quite
frustrated when the exercises required skills not yet taught.  For
example, in the section on comma use (probably the number one problem area
for students here!), students were asked to place commas in material that
also contained quotation marks--a skill that had not yet been covered.

the students who worked on Skillsbank IV gave up because they couldn't
comprehend the instructions (or lack thereof).  It seemed self evident to
me that one should look around the screen for a likely button to push, but
that, again, was not the case here.

I think this could be a useful program--IF students are supervised while
they learn to use it.  If one uses the program as a self-study guide to
English and grammar, I'm not sure it does the trick for basic level
students.

I'll look forward to reading other people's experiences.  Maybe we haven't
given the program enough of a chance.

Peggy Keller
English/Reading Instructional Technician
Writing and Reading Assistance Center
Assistance Centers for Education
Department of Adult and Developmental Education
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
525 Buena Vista, SE
Albuquerque, NM  87106