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Discovering the Role of Problem-Solving and Discussion Techniques in the Teaching Programming Environment to Improve Students’ Computational Thinking Skills

Nor Hasbiah Ubaidullah, Zulkifley Mohamed, Jamilah Hamid, and Suliana Sulaiman

Abstract—Computational thinking skill is one of the essential abilities to be learned and perfected by students of this century. Studies have shown that in the teaching and learning of programming courses, discussion and problem-solving techniques have been widely used. However, studies based on the suitability of such teaching techniques for the development of the computational thinking skills of students are, however, lacking. In this context, this research was conducted to define the teaching techniques used by university lecturers when teaching a computer programming subject and to explore how the techniques can influence the development of the computational thinking skills of students. This research was based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches involving a semi-structured interview and a survey method, respectively. The research sample consisted of eight (8) university lecturers recruited from several Malaysian public universities, who had been teaching computer science to undergraduates. The results showed that in teaching computer programming, a majority of the respondents used discussion and problem-solving methods, with each assisting students to gain computer programming skills and learn certain components of computational thinking. As such, it is recommended that teaching practitioners incorporate the discussion and problem-solving techniques in the teaching and learning of programming courses. The incorporation of such strategies will help students develop good computer programming and computational thinking skills encompassing all the fundamental elements. The results also revealed that the respondents had no experience in using the metacognitive technique. As such, it is also proposed that future research should focus on this technique to investigate any possible effects that it may have on the growth of the computer programming and computational thinking skills of undergraduates.

Index Terms—Computational thinking skill, computer programming, problem-solving technique, discussion technique, metacognitive technique.

N. H. Ubaidullah, J. Hamid, and S. Sulaiman are with the Faculty of Arts, Computing and Creative Industry, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Perak Malaysia (Corresponding author: N. H. Ubaidullah; e-mail: hasbiah@fskik.upsi.edu.my, hjamilah@upsi.edu.my, suliana@fskik.upsi.edu.my).
Z. Mohamed is with the Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Perak Malaysia. (email: zulkifley@fsmt.upsi.edu.my).

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Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (Since 2019), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar, Crossref, etc.
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net

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