The Effect of Computer Software Interaction on Students Cognitive Abilities Enhancement: The Case of Engineering Educators’ Perspective
Keywords:Computational thinking, cognitive skills acquisition, Computer Software Interaction, Phenomenographic Research
In this digital age, the deployment of modern technology in the workplace to mitigate global challenges has become paramount. Therefore, the academic program, as accredited by the regulatory and accreditation bodies, is to ensure the production of quality industry-ready engineering graduates. These products are expected to be technology savvy and proficiently skilled in using computer software (CS) for productivity towards engineering activities. Unfortunately, there exists a gap in the quality of the graduates produced by tertiary engineering institutions in the developing world. This gap can be associated with the lack of computational thinking (CT) skills to meet the industry needs in this age of IR 4.0. Therefore, the paper reports the engineering educators’ perceived contributions and gains achieved while employing computer software in the course of instruction towards the cognitive ability enhancement of the engineering students. It provides an in-depth exploratory inquiry into the deployment of CT and its impacts in engineering education while focusing on its integration at what level in the course of study. The research follows a phenomenographic research approach explored the experiences of engineering educators from different engineering disciplines in the higher education institutions, namely chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, to gain valuable insights. Data collected through a semi-structured, in-depth interview was coded using NVivo 12 CAQDAS and analysed for relevant themes. The findings indicate a significant potential benefit of enhanced cognitive abilities leading to the development of special knowledge, generic intellectual abilities, and personal attributes. In addition, the integration of CS should be the focus of instruction at the most appropriate level of study to allow for considerable exposure to CS to achieve the desired learning outcome. These findings have direct implications on the engineering educators and students, engineering faculties, and other stakeholders.
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