The Perspective of Higher Arts and Design Educators on Teaching Computer Programming

Eduardo Morais, Carla Morais & João C. Paiva (2018)


A review of arts and design undergraduate programmes offered by Portuguese public higher education institutions found out that 50 out of the 105 programmes include at least one unit concerning computer programming in their curricula. A preliminary study partially based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), conducted through an online survey, sought to find out how lecturers in those programmes regard the subject of computer programming. A sample of 68 educators participated, split between 43 that reported no knowledge of computer programming and 25 that reported programming proficiency, 14 of which were engaged teaching the subject. A noticeable gender discrepancy was found concerning proficiency, raising the question of whether there’s a relation to the anxieties of female students regarding programming found in a related study. Commenting on the relevance of the subject, some educators stressed that coding is both a fundamental problem-solving tool and a means to teach logical thinking, while others highlighted the creative potential of programming.

Given the push to demystify computer programming, institutions can be encouraged to reduce the gender imbalance in the programming competency of educators. More research concerning educators’ attitudes towards programming is welcome, both through practice characterization case-studies and through a deeper understanding of technology acceptance models applied in higher arts and design education.