IS THE APPLICATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES A SYNONYM FOR QUALITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION?
In the last 10 years there has been a fast development of the application of new technologies in higher education. Any University that considers itself as innovative and progressive has e-learning platforms.
Several reasons explain the fast development of the e-learning systems: the diversity of learners, in terms of background, age, origins, also the economic uncertainty of present times, and finally because the increase competition and accountability demands.
The e-learning possibilities are very extended and nobody rejects the fact that Information Technologies provides mobility and accessibility to students and lecturers in terms of space and time.
This way, the relationship between students and professors changes, there is not a need of a physical meeting between the tutor-student. Tutors have the flexibility and freedom to shape and extend the platform for getting their main aim: teach and evaluate to their students the acknowledged acquired.
However, even when the application of IT to higher education sounds very attractive at first, it requires an additional work from both sides, the tutor has to update the platform constantly, explaining very accurately what he is expecting from the student and how the teaching/evaluating process is developing. At the same time students need to learn how to use the new tools, not only do they have to learn a subject in particular, but also all the technological requirements the course is implying.
This paper focuses on the particular case of the application of new technologies to the course of Economics of Aeronautics taught at Polytechnic University of Valencia. The students of the course are freshmen and even when they are used to surfing in Internet, they have never got in touch with an educational platform.
The duration of the course is a semester; the tutor uploads the platform all of the content in different formats, including short videos, tasks, exercises, and even exams are temporized.
The study analyzes the students’ perception, in terms of quality of the learning and the application of IT to the teaching and evaluation process.
A questionnaire was developed and passed to the students at the end of the semester analyzing the level of satisfaction of the students with the application of IT to the course. Also, the study reflects which ways the IT´s are improving and stimulating the learning and/or the weaknesses of the technologies applied.