T. Barberá, C. Dema, C. Devece, S. Estellés

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
One of the main objectives of the convergence process of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is the development of learning methodologies focused on the student as an active player. The student should not be anymore a passive subject or a mere listener in the classroom but the main actor, and the lecturer a facilitator or guide of the learning process. The objective is the fostering of active methodologies, and one of the most prestigious and recognized of these methodologies is the project-based learning.

Traditionally, the project-based learning has been a central methodology in the last year of any engineering curricula, where the students, individually or in group, must solve a real, open problem. This study presents the planning and results of an educational innovation project where the active methodology was based on the collaborative project-based learning. The educational innovation project was developed in the last year of industrial organization engineering with the subject “commercial management” during the 2009/10 course. The subject has 3.75 credits (about 37 hours of classes and 100 hours of work for the student) and lasts 5 months. The methodology was implanted in two groups of 70 students each. The methodology was used during the whole course and syllabus, and the problems proposed were complex, needing knowledge from two subjects of the previous year (“strategic management” and “business administration and economic environment”) and a subject of the same year (“Design, planning and management of production systems”).

The problems proposed to the student groups were open, all of the problems beginning with the question “How do you create a marketing plan for a new industrial product you has just designed?” The students had to write a marketing plan of an industrial product of their own choice. The projects developed by the student group were complex, since the course lasted 5 months and the initial problem was unstructured and open, leaving room for decision making by the students.

The objective of this experience was to test the development, compared with a traditional method, of specific as well as generic competencies that define the profile of a graduate student on industrial organization engineering using collaborative project-based learning. In order to assess the capacity of group work, the project developed by the students and the project presentation, questionnaires and rubrics were designed. With these assessment tools, the students evaluation was objective and with consensus.
This study presents these questionnaires and rubrics and the results of the method.