A Delphi Study on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Applied on Computer Science (CS) Skills

By Porta, Marcela; Mas-Machuca, Marta et al. | International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, April 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

A Delphi Study on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Applied on Computer Science (CS) Skills


Porta, Marcela, Mas-Machuca, Marta, Martinez-Costa, Carme, Maillet, Katherine, International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology


ABSTRACT

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is a new pedagogical domain aiming to study the usage of information and communication technologies to support teaching and learning. The following study investigated how this domain is used to increase technical skills in Computer Science (CS). A Delphi method was applied, using three-rounds of online survey questions, given to 17 TEL experts from different European countries. The results showed that these experts consider TEL an effective and interesting support to acquire CS skills. Furthermore, the findings revealed the five best tools in TEL to acquire necessary CS knowledge. Future research can provide a guideline to implement effective TEL tools in CS studies.

This manuscript investigates Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) tools and its applications to learn specific skills in CS. As general content the results of a Delphi study that identifies the benefits of TEL while teaching are highlighted.

Keywords: CS studies, Technology Enhanced Learning, learning methods, teaching methods.

INTRODUCTION

Despite a growing demand for work in the information technology sector, the number of students enrolled in courses which prepare future professionals for CS in Europe is decreasing (OCDE, 2006). This decline brings as consequence a low number of professionals in the field and further on different economic impacts for European countries.

Many studies have attempted to identify the reasons of this decline, pointing out that CS curricula are not always well adapted to industry because it contains many unrelated courses (Kobayashi et al, 2008; Gil et al., 2010; Slaten, 2005). Furthermore, the training for skills required to work in CS is not properly provided in current educational activities and also that the poor quality of teaching is to blame (Plice & Reinig, 2007).

Because of this two important needs are highlighted:

It is important to establish a list of unique skills required in order to perform CS work. This list must represent the necessary competencies demanded by industry and therefore represent a clear expected content in CS curricula.

It is also primordial to define dynamic teaching and learning alternatives that can cooperate in the acquisition of these skills.

The following investigation determines if the strategic implementation of TEL can represent an effective means to acquire the skills represented in CS curricula. The short list of knowledge and skills has been identified in a preliminary research phase as Mathematical Logic, Algorithms, Programming, Data Bases, Data modeling and Operative Systems (Porta et al., 2011). This preliminary list of skills will also be integrated to this investigation in order to confirm its content from the expert's perspective.

The main purpose of this research was to recognize the tools and programs available online to acquire CS skills and define the position of TEL experts in relation to these tools. This investigation uses the Delphi methodology among experts in the TEL field. The experience will confirm the list of specific skills in computer science and will make it possible to establish a connection between them and the TEL material to learn them.

The structure of this investigation is presented below:

First, this article presents previous literacy about TEL and its use to teach CS.

Secondly it will provide some definitions that clarify CS concepts.

Next, it explains the Delphi methodology that uses survey rounds to obtain information from a panel of experts. This method was applied during this research work.

Furthermore, the results and findings of the study are presented along with the conclusions in each round.

Finally, the discussions in this study allowed us to offer an overview of the investigation's results.

1. BACKGROUND

The following section provides theory about TEL related to the acquisitions of skills in CS. …

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