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Title: Examining the impact of the ethnoscience teaching philosophy on academic performance in introductory computer programming
Authors: Sofowora, Mayowa A. 
Keywords: Computer programming;Ethnoscience;Academic performance
Issue Date: 20-Sep-2021
The mastery of the core technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) seems to require a set of skills that are reputed to be difficult to learn. This also includes general STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related know- how where computer programming is considered by many as the new linking glue of the 4IR despite its reputation of being difficult to learn and to master. 4IR is credited with a wide range of advantages, such as improved production, communication and participation, but it also comes with several disadvantages, such as the widening of the digital divide and higher levels of unemployment, especially for unskilled people. In fact, computer programming and other STEM related skills are crucial for the optimization of the benefits of the 4IR and for the minimization of its disadvantages. This is why this study is examining the impact of a different type of teaching approach known as the ethnoscience teaching approach, a STEM teaching philosophy, on students’ academic performance in introductory computer programming. A content analysis of existing literature on academic performance factors was first undertaken, both for introductory programming and for STEM subjects, in order to design an aggregated theoretically sound model of academic performance factors for these two fields. That model was then partially empirically tested by this study first within a totally culturally neutral teaching approach, then with a quasi- experiment whose experimental group was taught and tested with the use of the ethnoscientific teaching approach and philosophy while the control group stayed with the conventional culturally neutral teaching approach. The results of this study indicate that the ethnoscience teaching approach significantly improves students' academic performance in introductory computer programming compared to the conventional teaching approach. They also indicate that students’ prior language and computing
subject choices affect their performance in conventional but not in culturally sensitive introductory computer programming. The participants of this study were selected from the introductory programming 2018 class of the IT Department of the Durban University of Technology. Should the findings of this study be confirmed with more programming concepts and with different samples, they will confirm the intrinsic value of culturally sensitive computing education.
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2021.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Accounting and Informatics)

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