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Does Everyone Use Computational Thinking?: A Case Study of Art and Computer Science Majors

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Topics in Computing and Information Technology-II

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Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Andreas Febrian Utah State University

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He received his bachelor and master degree in computer science (CS) from Universitas Indonesia, one of the top university in Indonesia. He was an active student who involved in various activities, such as research, teaching assistantship, and student organizations in the campus. He developed various CS skills through courses and research activities, especially in computer architecture, robotics, and web development. Through being a teaching assistant and joining student organizations, he developed an interest in psychology and Affective Computing. Currently, pursuing the Doctoral degree in Engineering Education at Utah State University with focuses in self-regulated learning in engineering design.

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Oenardi Lawanto Utah State University

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Dr. Oenardi Lawanto is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University, USA. He received his B.S.E.E. from Iowa State University, his M.S.E.E. from the University of Dayton, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to Utah State, Dr. Lawanto taught and held several administrative positions at one large private university in Indonesia. He has developed and delivered numerous international workshops on student-centered learning and online learning-related topics during his service. Dr. Lawanto’s research interests include cognition, learning, and instruction, and online learning.

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Kamyn Peterson-Rucker

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Alia Melvin

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Shane E. Guymon

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In this digital age, being computer literate and having computer science skills are essential, especially since most real-life solutions are technology-driven. Many K-12 and higher education institutions, states, and countries incorporate computational thinking (CT) into their curriculum. Although Wing describes CT as a problem-solving approach that utilizes fundamental computing concepts, which is applicable not only for scientists but everyone, most of the computational thinking instructional approaches are related to computer programming. Unfortunately, it is also unclear whether people use CT when solving non-programming problems. This study aims to answer two research questions: (1) In what ways do students use computational thinking skills when solving non-programming problems if any?; and (2) If students use CT when solving non-programming problems, in what ways do their approaches differ from computer science students? We conducted a qualitative multiple within-site case study research with three units of analysis. We recruited two students from computer science, a civil engineering student, an instructional design student, and an art student as cases, and asked them to think aloud while solving three problems. The collected think aloud data was transcribed and qualitatively coded to identify various CT skills. Our preliminary analysis of a computer science student and an art student reveals that they used various CT skills when solving all problems, and the application of CT skills was influenced by their background, experiences, and goals. Furthermore, we found that the art student was capable of utilizing various CT skills despite her lacked prior exposure to CS or CT, which shed new light on the nature of CT.

Febrian, A., & Lawanto, O., & Peterson-Rucker, K., & Melvin, A., & Guymon, S. E. (2018, June), Does Everyone Use Computational Thinking?: A Case Study of Art and Computer Science Majors Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30344

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