FINAL YEAR PROJECT AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN THE INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE. IDEAS AND DISSERTATIONS: A CASE STUDY
University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 7752 (abstract only)
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The new adaptation of the different degrees of higher education to the EHEA (European Higher Education Area) requires that each student develops, presents in public exposition and defends a Final Year Project (FYP). Its aim is to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that students have acquired in their studies. This FYP is a project or academic task that must be accomplished individually by every undergraduate students of engineering program in order to obtain the attributions to graduate. In this context, the Final Year Project plays a crucial role in the teaching-learning process. It is also a way of identifying the ability of the student to perform an industrial project or applied research linked to the knowledge discipline. So this exercise can be considered as a motivation for the students because it allows them choose methods, tools and make decisions during its development. However some students do not yet have the necessary skills to complete successfully the FYP, which implies an extra-work for their supervisors. Professor has an important role as student coordinator in the project development and moreover ensuring that is developed in the right way. Several approaches have been proposed for the classification and assessment of FYPs, but among them rubrics have become a standard for this type of evaluation; due to the different competences that must be evaluated (final report, oral presentation, complexity level, communication skills, knowledge…). The main idea is to incorporate more objective criteria for the project evaluation and thus replace the old system of subjective assessment. A rubric has three essential characteristics (evaluative criteria, quality definition and scoring strategy) that make it a good system to evaluate a special topic as is the FYP. This new approach is considered better because it uses a points system which ranges from 0 to 100.
Traditionally in technical degrees, the conclusion of university studies required the development of a Final Project, which represented in many cases the first contact of the students with the professional activity and research. It is therefore a crucial component in the quality improvement of the engineering education. This paper presents the current trend of the degree final projects based in the engineering school. In the engineering program, project can be considered as a problem based learning (PBL) where student need to apply and integrate their knowledge and skills to solve an academic task. Thus, the positive and negative aspects in such projects are reviewed, considering the modern educational techniques in order to provide a series of recommendations. The selection of topics for Final Year Projects usually is determined by the students. In general there is a relationship between the subjects selected by students in the years before the FYP and the choice of project topic in most cases. Thereby, many students tend to choose projects in the courseware development and creative multimedia applications. Some project topics are: technological applications for industry, modelling and simulation, product design, robotics and automation… It is also important to include feedback and monitoring activities to ensure an adequate progress in the project. The coordinated effort between the student and the supervisor is essential for getting an excellent result. In conclusion, suggestions are made to improve the identified weaknesses in order to enhance the process.
Keywords: Final Year Project, Higher Education, Projects and Experiences, Motivation, Knowledge Integration, Assessment, Professional skills, Educational Innovation.