Supporting computing and technology distance learning students with developing argumentation skills

Piwek, Paul (2013). Supporting computing and technology distance learning students with developing argumentation skills. In: IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON 2013), 12-15 Mar 2013, Berlin.

Abstract

The development of students’ critical thinking skills is an important part of a university education. This paper focuses on helping Computing and Technology (C&T) students improve their argument analysis and construction skills. At the heart of the current approach sits the use of a diagram-based technique for scaffolding argument analysis and construction. The technique, known as argument mapping, has been pioneered in Philosophy degrees. We discuss the specific challenges posed by using this technique in the context of distance learning for C&T students of a large (>1000 students) entry-level gateway module. Our approach includes innovative interactive computer-based formative assessment of argument mapping. After describing the approach, we evaluate it in terms of data from formative and summative assessment, detailed analysis of student work, and feedback from both students and module tutors.

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