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METHODOLOGIES TO ENCOURAGE SELF-STUDY OF THE SUBJECT OF TRANSPORT ENGINEERING

F. Aparicio, B. Arenas, F. Jimenez, E. Alcalá

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
Among the most valued generic skills within the field of engineering can include the capacity for analysis and synthesis, problem solving and ability to work independently. Clearly, these skills should be encouraged at the same time as the expertise of each subject and more specific engineering competences.

With the above premise, we have approached this project focused on the subject “Transport Engineering”. This subject combines a theoretical-practical approach. It is taught in fifth grade and first semester at the Industrial Engineering School of the Technical University of Madrid, being common to all students. It is structured around the following themes:
1. Transport. Importance and historical development.
2. Transport system. Modes. Key features of each mode.
3. Road transport. Vehicle: types, performance, braking and lateral behavior.
4. Introduction to the study of traffic flow. Variables and models.
5. Railways. General characteristics, railway and train movement.
6. Transport demand. Models.

Furthermore, it has other more general descriptive topics that are included in the bibliography but not taught during the course, such as transport safety, safety models and vehicle safety, energy demand and environmental impact of transport, intelligent transport systems and vehicles and internal industrial transportation.

It has been proposed to develop a methodology that encourages student self-study based on the following tools:
- Course guide, that includes distribution of times for different issues
- Self-study guide for each topic, guiding the student through the most important aspects of each chapter and preparing for problems solving. This guide also set a timetable of the course that will govern its evolution, the opening of questionnaires, the delivery of papers, etc. This guide is based on the specific targets of each of the topics and knowledge (theoretical or practical) related to those objectives provided by the recommended literature.
- Self-assessment questionnaires randomly generated from a large question set for each subject. These questions include theoretical or practical applications involving the student to do calculations to provide an answer. The questions are classified by level of difficulty.
- Problem solving process using diagrams to encourage students structured thinking. With this methodology is intended for students to raise the resolution of problems in a systematic way, looking where they are going and what data are needed and get them from those already available. Thus, it is intended that the student has a general overview of the problem and solving tools applicable, assess the possible paths and choose the one they have the necessary data.

This article describes the implementation of the methodology in one of the groups in which the subject is taught. Finally, academic results are shown, which have been compared with those obtained by students from other groups who have followed the traditional methodology.