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M. Caligaris, G. Rodríguez

Facultad Regional san Nicolás - Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (ARGENTINA)
There is consensus that engineers should not only master specific knowledge but also the know-how to make that knowledge effective. The “know-how” does not occur at random, it is the result of the implementation of a complex structure, including knowledge and skills, which needs to be explicitly recognized in the learning process. Therefore, the pedagogical proposal should contain activities that enhance the development of this structure. Working by competences, or integrating competences in an intentional way, supposes a framework that facilitates the selection and a more adjusted and effective treatment of the contents to be taught.

Competencies are the observable behaviours that encompass knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Todays´ engineers should have the ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. Furthermore, they should have the ability to work on multidisciplinary teams and communicate effectively, among other competencies. These latter skills are known as soft skills.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) lists eleven competencies for students attending their last year in Engineering. Five of these competencies are recognized as hard or technical skills and the other six as soft skills. They are listed below:
• the ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
• the understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
• the ability to communicate effectively
• the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
• the recognition of the need for, and the ability to engage in life-long learning
• the knowledge of contemporary issues

There is no doubt about the need of teaching technical skills, but technical competences are not enough in the actual world. Nevertheless, the suitability of teaching soft skills is still being discussed.

In order to introduce the learning and assessment of soft skills in a Numerical Analysis course at Facultad Regional San Nicolás, Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Argentina, a pilot test was made during 2017 in the course of Electrical Engineering. A special assignment was proposed where students had to solve a real problem simplified, selecting and applying numerical methods to solve an initial value problem and analyzing the validity of the obtained solution.

The methodology followed to assess students and the experience took into consideration:
• constitution and identity of teamwork: students grouped by affinity and friendship, and had to give identity to the group with a name and a logo
• partial written reports
• observation in class
• oral presentation, at the last stage
• evaluation of co-equippers, following a rubric
• surveys to gather the opinion of students
• rubrics to evaluate students individually

The results obtained were encouraging. Students showed interest in solving real problems, they really got involved, to the point that one group made a working model to simulate and explain the situation in the oral presentation. By doing this practice, students recognize the usefulness of numerical analysis. They also noticed it is very important to make oral presentations, and that they should practice more.
This paper intends to recount the experience about working in teams and analyzing a real problem with the acquired numerical tools.