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Current college-wide policies

Walters State Community College is committed to the importance of computer competency. The college requires all degree-seeking students to demonstrate computer competency either by passing an exam or by successfully completing a designated computer course.

During the first thirty (30) hours of college level course work at Walters State, students must complete the requirements in their major for proving computer competency. The student's advisor will help determine which steps a student should follow to show proof of computer competency.

Students should consult with their academic advisor to determine if the chosen major has a computer course requirement that fulfills the computer competency requirement. If the chosen major does not have a specific computer competency course requirement, then the following points should guide the student when determining how best to meet the computer competency.

  • Students must fulfill the computer competency within their first 30 hours of college-level course work.
  • Students may elect to either take the Computer Competency Exam or they may take INFS 1010 – Computer Applications, or its equivalent, to fulfill the computer competency requirement.
  • If a student chooses to take the Computer Competency Exam, the computer competency process must be followed.
  • There is a $10 charge per test session to students for taking the Computer Competency Exam, with a maximum of two attempts.

Note: For majors that require a specific course to fulfill the computer competency requirement, the Computer Competency Exam may not be used in place of the designated course.

For More Information:

The Computer Competency Process, Step by Step

Students must be a currently registered Walters State Community College student in order to take the Computer Competency examination.

Students who are in a major that does not have a specific computer course requirement may elect to either take the Computer Competency Exam or take INFS 1010. To help determine the student's level of readiness to take the computer competency examination, the student should click here and complete the Self Assessment . It is STRONGLY suggested that the student complete the Self Assessment prior to registering for the examination. Once the self assessment is successfully completed, and if the student still wishes to complete the Computer Competency Exam, the following steps should be followed:

  1. The student must call the Technical Education Division at 423.585.2644 and schedule a time to take the Computer Competency Examination. The student should schedule this at least 3 days prior to the date that the student wishes to take the exam. After scheduling the exam but before the time to complete the exam, the student must go to the Business Office and pay the $10 testing fee. The student must bring the receipt for this payment on the day of the examination in order to take the exam.
  2. The test is entirely computer-based and will take approximately one hour to complete. Students will need no supplies to take the test. The student must score 75 or higher to pass the Computer Competency Exam. If the student scores below 75, he or she may register and pay for one more attempt at the exam, which must be scheduled at least one week after the initial examination. If the student fails to achieve a score of 75 on the second exam, he or she must register for and take one of the courses that is designated to fulfill the computer competency requirement.
  3. The student's score will be provided immediately upon completion of the examination. Once the student has successfully completed the Computer Competency Exam, he or she will receive a written or printed score verification. A note will be placed on the student transcript indicating successful completion of the computer competency requirement.

Computer Competency and Transfer Students

Transfer students have several options to fulfill the computer competency requirement at Walters State.

  1. If a student has completed coursework at another institution that he or she believes would meet the computer competency requirement, the student's academic advisor should complete a Course Substitution form with the corresponding courses listed. This form should be submitted to the Technical Education Division for evaluation. Quarter hours will be converted to semester hours if a course substitution is to be completed. Computer courses must cover similar content, including the operating system and software packages, in order to meet the computer competency requirement. Content of the courses must also be current; that is, software packages and operating systems must be those found in use today. Outdated software content, for example, may disqualify a course from consideration for computer competency. Courses must be evaluated individually, based on course descriptions and course syllabi, to determine whether the content is appropriate. It is the responsibility of the student requesting the review to obtain course descriptions and/or syllabi to support the request. Due to changes in software over time, not all courses will qualify for the computer competency requirement.
  2. Upon admission to Walters State, the student may complete the Computer Competency Examination process as outlined previously.
  3. The student may complete an appropriate course, such as INFS 1010 Computer Applications, or an equivalent course, in order to meet the competency requirement.

Computer Competency FAQs

Click on a question below to view the answer.

What is computer competency?
Computer competency is a process whereby a student demonstrates his or her ability to perform college level basic computing work. This process includes the successful completion of a Computer Competency Exam or the completion of a specified computer course.
What is a "specified computer course"?
Some majors specify a computer course as part of the area of emphasis. If your major is not one of these, then the specified computer course for your major is INFS 1010 Computer Applications.
What will the Computer Competency Exam cover?
In order to prove basic computer competency at WSCC, a student must demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Additionally, a student must demonstrate knowledge in computer use terminology, hardware selection, and simple maintenance functions.
Who is eligible to take the Computer Competency Exam?
Any student who has not attended or completed INFS 1010 or its equivalent is eligible to sign up for the Computer Competency Exam. Students who have registered for INFS 1010 or its equivalent but have not attended the class may register for and take the exam. Students who have attended INFS 1010 or its equivalent are no longer eligible to take the Computer Competency Exam.
If I decide to take the Computer Competency Exam, at what point in my college career do I have to have the exam completed?
The Computer Competency Exam must be completed prior to the student registering for the next semester after the student has attempted 30 or more college level hours. This total does not include learning support coursework. For example: If you take 16 hours in the fall semester and register for 16 hours for the spring semester, you will have to complete the Computer Competency Exam before attempting to register for the summer or fall term.
What is the cost of the Computer Competency Exam?
The Computer Competency Exam may be taken by the student a maximum of two times; there is a charge of $10 for each attempt, which is the cost of the exam to the college. The student must register and pay for each attempt in the Business Office at the Morristown campus.
What is the difference between taking the Computer Competency Exam and taking a computer course?
A person who completes INFS 1010, the basic computer course at WSCC, will be prepared to perform computer tasks that are more complex than what the Computer Competency Exam will test. Successful completion of INFS 1010 early in a student's college career prepares him or her to use the computer to write papers, calculate arithmetically using spreadsheets, research topics, and present information in a variety of formats. All of the skills acquired in INFS 1010 will help the student to not only perform at a higher level at WSCC, but to also be better prepared to enter the local workforce
Do I get any course credit for taking the Computer Competency Exam?
No course credit is given for the Computer Competency Exam and no grade is assigned for taking the exam.
What is the process for taking the Computer Competency Exam?
There are several steps involved in taking the Computer Competency Exam. They are as follows:
  1. Access the web site
  2. Click on the icon for computer competency and read the information
  3. Complete the self-assessment questions.
  4. Contact the Technical Education Division to determine that you are eligible to take the Competency Examination.
  5. Sign up for, pay for, and take the examination.
  6. Pass the competency exam with a score of 75 or higher
  7. Once the exam is successfully completed, the Student Records Office will place the appropriate designation on the student's transcript.
How do I know if I am ready to take the Computer Competency Exam?
Completing the self-assessment checklist is the first thing to do. This checklist includes all material from the competency exam; the material will be presented in questions based on knowledge of material and on practical applications. If you can successfully complete the self-assessment checklist, then sign up for and take the examination. This self-assessment is not a guarantee that you will pass the examination. It is provided to allow you to make a self-evaluation as to your current level of knowledge and experience, and to help you find areas that you may need further preparation or practice.
What happens if I fail the exam?
If a student makes less than a 75 on their two attempts at the Computer Competency Exam, they will be required to complete INFS 1010 or its equivalent course. The student must complete INFS 1010 or its equivalent within the first 30 hours of college level course work, excluding learning support courses.
What is the Computer Competency Exam like?
The Computer Competency Exam is a skills-based test. This means you will be asked to perform certain operations using Microsoft software products. In demonstrating a proficiency in using Microsoft Word for example, you will be expected to manipulate a document and perform certain functions like bolding text, cut and paste, and changing margins. The test also covers Microsoft Excel and Power Point as well as general questions on computer operation.
Where do I find information on the Computer Competency Exam and process?
Go to the web site and click on the icon for Computer Competency. Follow the links to find the information you need.
Where do I go if I have problems or additional questions about the computer competency exam?
Contact the Technical Education division at 423.585.2644 or via email at
Does everyone have to take the Computer Competency Exam or take INFS 1010?
Though everyone must prove computer competency, some majors have students take a specific course for their major. A student should work with their advisor to determine if the computer course INFS 1010 is acceptable or if another course is required for their major. Advisors will also be able to inform students if taking the Computer Competency Exam is a viable option.
I took a computer course at another college; will this course meet the computer competency requirement at Walters State?
Transferability of coursework is determined by the Admissions Office at Walters State. In order to meet the computer competency requirement, a transfer course must have covered the same material that is covered in INFS 1010. This means that older courses may not be sufficient to meet the computer competency requirements, based on changes in software packages.
I am already a student at WSCC, and I have taken a computer course previously. Will the computer course I have already taken count for the computer competency requirement?
A determination will need to be made as to whether or not the course you have taken is sufficient to meet the new computer competency requirement. If you have taken INFS 1010 at WSCC within the last seven (7) years, you may use this course to meet your computer competency. Courses taken prior to 2002, or courses taken to satisfy the computer competency in another major, will have to be reviewed on an individual basis. In each case, the Dean of Technical Education will make the final determination as to the applicability of transfer coursework to meet the computer competency requirement. If the student wishes to request course credit for previous course(s), a Course Substitution form must be completed by the student's faculty advisor and submitted to the Technical Education Division for the Dean's review.
I am in a major that does not require a computer course, but it does require several hours of electives. Can I take INFS 1010 and count it as an elective, and fulfill the computer competency with the same course?
Yes. You may use INFS 1010 to fulfill the computer competency, and if your advisor permits, you may also use the same course as an elective for the area of emphasis in your major.
Can I take any course other than INFS 1010 to fulfill my computer competency requirement?
Certain programs of study do require computer courses other than INFS 1010 to fulfill the computer competency requirement. However, if your major does not specifically require a different course, then INFS 1010 is required to fulfill the computer competency requirement.

Computer Competency Self-Assessment

Answer the following questions with a YES or NO.

Using Microsoft Word

  1. Do you know how to save a document to the hard drive?
  2. Do you know how to print a document?
  3. Do you know how to change the font in a Word document?
  4. Do you know how to make a portion of a Word document bold?
  5. Do you know how to remove a portion of a document and move it to another part of the same document?
  6. Do you know how to change a paragraph from single space to double space if the paragraph is already created?
  7. Do you know how to change margins in a text document?
  8. Can you use spell check and grammar check in a Word document?
  9. Can you import text from another document to the document you are creating?
  10. Can you import a picture from one document to the document you are creating?
  11. Do you know how to use specialized features within Word?
  12. Can you use keyboard shortcuts, menu commands, and ribbon commands within Word?

Using Microsoft Excel 2007

  1. Do you know how to create a spreadsheet?
  2. Do you know the elements of the Excel screen?
  3. Can you create a multi-page spreadsheet?
  4. Can you navigate within a spreadsheet?
  5. Can you create formulas?
  6. Can you use the "if" statement?
  7. Can you use the Excel function?
  8. Can you use absolute and relative cell references?
  9. Can you create formulas that use data from multi-page spreadsheets?
  10. Can you apply a formula to multiple cells?
  11. Can you copy and modify data within an Excel spreadsheet?
  12. Can you import data into a spreadsheet?
  13. Can you format cells?
  14. Can you move cells?
  15. Can you modify row and column settings?
  16. Can you apply and clear cell formatting?
  17. Can you modify columns and row settings?
  18. Can you apply and clear cell formatting?
  19. Can you print a spreadsheet in a variety of formats?

Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007

  1. Can you create and modify a presentation?
  2. Can you use the menu and ribbon commands within PowerPoint?
  3. Can you add sound to a presentation?
  4. Can you animate different elements of a presentation?
  5. Can you modify elements of a presentation such as layout, size, and lists?
  6. Can you print slides for a presentation?

Operating system questions

  1. Do you know the basic operations of Windows Vista?
  2. Do you know what toolbars, menus, and icons are, and what each does?
  3. Can you open, resize, maximize, minimize, and scroll a window?
  4. Can you start and exit a program?
  5. Can you switch between applications?
  6. Can you create a file, a folder, a directory, and subfolders?
  7. Do you know how to create shortcuts to programs and data?
  8. Do you understand the basics of file management and organization?
  9. Can you copy a group of files?
  10. Can you arrange icons?
  11. Can you save a document to a hard drive and external drives, including CD, DVD, and USB devices?

General Computing Questions

  1. Can you identify the following peripherals on a computer and tell what they do: a mouse, speakers, wireless devices, a printer, external drives, and USB devices?
  2. Can you download a document from the Internet?
  3. Can you e-mail a document as an attachment?
  4. Can you import pictures into a document?
  5. Do you know how a computer processes and stores data?
  6. Can you identify the types and functions of memory?
  7. Do you know the details concerning purchasing, installing, and upgrading software?
  8. Do you know what threats to computers exist and how to prevent them?
  9. Do you know what connections to the Internet exist, and how to navigate the World Wide Web?
  10. Do you know how to find information on the World Wide Web?