Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate


The present action research study involved a participant-researcher and her undergraduate students enrolled in the Course: Visual Arts Computing, at the University of South Carolina from 2012 to 2013. This research examined six sections of the course with an average of 20 students in each section, totaling 120 participants. The overarching Research Question for the present study was: What factors from social cognitive theory (cognitive, environmental, behavior) influenced students’ self-efficacy with computer technology in an undergraduate graphic arts course? To answer this question the participant-researcher administered a pretest and posttest of the computer self-efficacy scale by Compeau and Higgins (1995b). The course focused on learning foundational art and graphic design concepts through projects created with the graphics software, Adobe Photoshop. “Graphic Skills Acquisition” (GSA) which is associated with improved “computer self-efficacy,” was used in this action research study to increase students’ confidence levels with computers and enhance feelings of positivity when interacting with technology in general. The research showed, based on the pretest and posttest scale, GSA has the potential to influence academic student achievement, workplace productivity, and personal computer self-efficiency outside of the course. The factors identified from Bandura’s social cognitive theory were: independent learning (environmental), new and unfamiliar tasks (cognitive), and behavior modeling (behavior).


© 2016, Michele Dames