Just because we teach it does not mean they use it: Case of programming skills

Branimir Pejcinovic, Melinda Holtzman, Malgorzata Chrzanowska-Jeske, Phillip K. Wong
2013 2013 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)  
We are assessing the effect of our new freshman electrical engineering course sequence on follow-on courses. One of our assessments is a survey distributed to sophomores in electrical circuits and juniors in microelectronics courses. Roughly one half of freshman year is spent on programming in MATLAB and C, and problem solving using these programming tools. Our observation is that students consider programming important and have reasonably good confidence (self-efficacy) that they can solve
more » ... lems using MATLAB and C. However, when asked about frequency of use for these tools students report using them somewhere between once a week and once a month. There is a significant number of students who report almost no usage at all. Results are consistent across sophomore and junior years with a slight up-tick in frequency of use for juniors. We are hypothesizing that students do not view MATLAB and C as tools for problem solving but as yet another item to acquire in their studies. Our plan is to change instruction in sophomore courses so that more problem-solving which requires programming will be introduced. The existing survey will be used to measure future improvement.
doi:10.1109/fie.2013.6685038 dblp:conf/fie/PejcinovicHCW13 fatcat:kegsyo3wbvdv7fkhrp43a3caky