RAPTOR - A Vehicle to Enhance Logical Thinking

Research shows that logical and critical thinking are very important for writing efficient programs but unfortunately many of our students lack these skills. This in turn affects our ability to produce graduates to meet the needs of increasingly computer dependent industries and to maintain our nation’s position as the global leader of high technology arena. The educators and administrators are challenged to find ways to engage and promote success and retention of students while maintaining standards in introductory computing courses. We believe that this problem can be effectively addressed by enhancing students’ logical and critical thinking through the use of visual programming tools such as RAPTOR in introductory computing courses. RAPTOR is a visual programming development environment based on flowcharts. Students can build simple procedural programs without learning the details of a language. These features of RAPTOR has helped us in providing an Interdisciplinary Integrated Teaching and Learning experiences that integrates team-oriented, hands-on learning experiences throughout the engineering technology and sciences curriculum and engages students in the design and analysis process beginning with their first year. The objective of this paper is to discuss our experiences with the use of RAPTOR in various science and technology courses.