I. Haapala, MS; J. E. Weirich, MEd; C. Probart, PhD, RD, LD. Penn State University, Nutrition Department, University Park, PA 16802.
Changes in School Food Service Directors' Computer Knowledge and Attitudes as a Result of Computer Workshops


Based on a needs assessment, workshops were developed to provide SFSDs with computer and nutrient analysis skills. Recognizing the array of existing skills in the target group, two sessions were conducted. Day one consisted of general skills training to provide confidence and computer familiarity. Day two consisted of an introduction to nutrient analysis and practice using approved USDA nutrient analysis software. Eighteen SFSD participated in the first session. A total of 48 SFSD completed the second session on nutrient analysis; 17 of those were "graduates" of the introductory first session. Demographic, knowledge, and attitude data were collected pre and post intervention and analyzed with Minitab statistical software. Most participants had worked in school food service for more than 10 years; most represented public schools. Half of the participants were between 41 and 50 years of age. As a result of the first day session, SFSD improved on an objective task-based 10-point scale from 3.5±1.8 to 8.1±1.7 (t=7.84,p<0.001) and all participants rated themselves higher than "beginners" on a rating scale. First day participants' self rating of their confidence in ability to learn computers improved significantly (t=3.0,p<0.01). At the start of day one, 56% of participants stated feeling "nervous" about using a computer; however, at the end of the session all of the participants stated feeling "at ease" at the computer. Participants at the second day improved pre to post test on the objective computer task scale from 8.6±1.8 to 11.1±4.4 (t=3.09,p<0.005). Measures of computer attitudes did not improve on the second day of training, however entry levels were high suggesting a "ceiling effect". In summary, an introductory computer workshop demonstrated significant improvement in computer knowledge and attitudes among SFSD. Additional nutrient analysis training showed improvements in computer skills, but changes were not detected in attitudes. This evaluation indicates that computer training will result in an increase in computer knowledge and positive attitude toward computers in SFSD. Specifics of the workshop content and evaluation will be presented in this session.