Universidad de Cádiz (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 5369-5376
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
The new information and communication technologies have irrupted into multiple aspects of our lives, university education among them.

This paper presents an experience in teaching innovation using CITs, within the framework of the subject of Microeconomics, taught at the Cadiz University Faculty of Economics and Business Studies during the second year of the Diploma in Business Studies throughout the academic years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.

The tools used, above all, and in this case, the virtual ones; present a series of characteristics and requirements which make them optimal for application to a specific context in the classroom, type of education, or subject. The mistake should not be made of wanting to apply or adapt all the tools the educator knows to a specific subject, but to find those which are suitable in accordance with their specificities. To this end, it is necessary to know, a priori, their principal characteristics, uses, advantages, disadvantages, etc.

In this work we are dealing specifically with two of these tools, which promote the innovation of teaching and the teaching-learning process followed by the European Higher Education Area: webquests and forums.

Both present numerous advantages for student and teacher alike, such as the development of the students' problem solving ability, the increase of their critical thinking and the ability to draw their own conclusions and develop individual thought, the motivation to learn, the active and social construction of knowledge or allowing the teacher to surprise the students with a new and different vision, organisation and philosophy of work or permit him to combine his creative ability with an immense wealth of IT resources, among many others. Obviously, certain disadvantages can be observed in their use or, to put it another way, when they are used in a way not in keeping with the end for which they are designed or their use is abused, which is where the teacher plays a special and important role as limiter and supervisor of the correct use of each CIT.

In order to put Microeconomics into practice correctly the students need to have a series of background knowledge, skills and abilities in order to work correctly with the subject being dealt with here. To facilitate the student’s teaching-learning process and help him to acquire and/or develop the abilities necessary to pass Microeconomics, the teachers have the inserted into the design of the Virtual Campus: webquests and forums.

The results obtained by the implementation of these tools in the subject of Microeconomics at the Cadiz Faculty of Economics and Business Studies during the last two academic years, although we only have the data corresponding to the first academic year (2009/10) due to the fact that the last one has still not come to an end, are quite positive, both as regards the number of accesses, the number of messages in the forums, the acceptance of the tools, etc. and as regards the improvement of the quality of education represented by the achievement of aspects such as: a better atmosphere in the classroom, a learning process combined with the process of the personal development of the student as a mature individual with the ability to deal with his obligations and an education adapted in form and content to the new requirements of technological and social evolution.

In short, all the above mentioned entails a transformation of learning strategy and a rupture with traditional structure, involving both a change in the mentality of the teaching staff (who does not now consider the student to be an "auditorium" but an "active participant" in the teaching-learning process) as in that of the student (who conceives a new way of learning, or self-learning).
Webquest, forum, Microeconomics.