HOW TO BOOST ICT SKILLS IN STUDENTS AT HIGHER EDUCATION? A LOW-CODE APPROACH
1 Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto/ISRC- Interdisciplinary Studies Research Center (PORTUGAL)
2 Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (PORTUGAL)
3 OutSystems (PORTUGAL)
4 Do IT Lean (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:How to prepare the higher education students for future jobs? How to motivate students for ICT (Information and communication Technology) competences and increase the supply of ICT qualified professionals in the market?
The demand for ICT professionals has been increasing every year and the shortage of qualified ICT professional is widely asserted. With the COVID-19 disruption, we have seen a quick deployment of technology everywhere and in just a few weeks the problem has aggravated even more. To tackle this issue, companies became more digitized to remain competitive, which led to a growth in the need for automation of processes and an increase in the demand for devices and software, although, there were not enough experts available to produce them, and a lot of ICT jobs across the globe were unfulfilled. Given this, there is an urgent need to motivate and capture the attention of students for ICT skills with frameworks and technology that could engage students in ICT specialized competences.
This paper outlines the usage of Low-Code technology and active learning methodologies, to improve ICT Skills for students at System Lab2 (LSIS2), from the Systems’ Engineering bachelor’s degree, at Porto School of Engineering (ISEP/IPP). These 36 students (number related from the academic year of 2020/2021) are not from the ICT course originally, but they acquired knowledge along their degree about management, informatics, electronics, mechanics, chemistry, mathematics.
In LSIS2, students are challenged to think about a real problem and develop the best solution with a minimum viable product (MVP) using Low-code technology (apps, websites, etc.) and Scrum framework as planning and working in group. The low code technology (OutSystems) is a software that uses a graphical interface to define, model, program and test a digital solution. Throughout 4 weeks, students used this technology to build the MVP, with weekly assignments and a final presentation to an audience.
A quantitative analysis from final evaluations showed that, on average, students performed much better on ICT skill development activities than on previous ICT disciplines, from their academic path. In fact, data suggests that the average score increased from 13,3 to 15,3 in a 0-20 scale. Based on a questionnaire we handed out to students, we recognized that there had been a 96% increase in motivation using this technology.
In this paper we also compare the student´s choices regarding their internship before and after the introduction of Low code in their curriculum. Results show that there is a substantial increase in the number of students that selected ICT related internships, which will eventually affect the decision for their future job.
Keywords: Future jobs, ICT skills, Higher-education, Scrum, Innovation, technology.