CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE CHEMICAL ENGINEERING STUDIES AT UNIVERSITY OF CASTILLA-LA MANCHA DURING THE LAST YEARS
University Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this work has been to analyse the effect of the Bologna Process in the evolution of the Chemical Engineering studies at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. The study has been focused on, under our point of view, the three main effects of the Bologna Process: the study programme, the methodology and the organization of the studies. Moreover, in order to analyse all the potential influences on the Chemical Engineering studies an external factor, the social environment, has been included.
As result of this analysis, it has been observed that the background of the chemical engineering studies have evolved from a technical profile, based on scientific knowledge (mainly chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.) to a profile with increasing importance of management skills (economy, planification, business organisation, strategic direction, etc.).
Regarding to the methodology, it has been observed changes mainly in the evaluation procedure, which shifted from a evaluation based on a single exam to a continuous evaluation procedure where several activities are graded by the teacher along the course, yielding the final mark at the end of the semester. It is important to remark that the appearance of seminars, tutoring activities, course projects, etc. helped the students to develop new skills and also to integrate the concepts learned along the subject with other subjects from the same and even different courses. Also the appearance of internet-based tools, such as Moodle, allowed the users to increase the interaction and feedback, amongst students and between students and teacher, offering to the students the possibility of take part of the subject even when the student mobility is not easy.
The third influence has been identified as the organizational procedures. Formerly, the courses were slightly programmed and the definition of the evaluation procedure, the important dates for laboratory activities, exams etc. were defined once the course was started. However, nowadays all these items are clearly defined before the start-up of the course, allowing the students to program their agendas and to select only these subjects that can be properly attended. This is a very important change that allowed the students to enhance their efficiency by avoiding timetable conflicts and allowing to identify synergistic situations between subjects. The organizational aspects were also clearly influenced by the approval of the National Quality Evaluation Agency (ANECA) which approve or reject the study programmes. This agency clearly enhance the quality and homogeneity of the studies, which is very important. However, due to its burocratic procedures, the changes in the programmes required too much time and effort, reducing the flexibility and response capacity of the study programmes when short term changes arise.
Last but not least, it must be taken into account the influence of the social environment. During the last years the students` interest on the chemical engineering studies has experienced peaks and valleys which could be related to the dissemination of information related to the absence of legal competences. Hopefully, the high employment rate obtained by the graduated allowed the Chemical Engineering studies to avoid very important fluctuations in the applications. In this sense it is important to remark that, under the actual situation of crisis, the employment of the chemical engineers is over the average.
Keywords: Chemical Engineering, study programme, evolution, analysis.