E.U.I.T Telecomunicación - UPM (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 6899-6910
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
This paper tries to summarize a pedagogical experience carried out with university students of optical communications aimed to find new ways to improve their learning process in this specific scientific field.
To start with it is interesting to explain what are the motivations leading this work. With the experience gained during more than twenty years of teaching optical communications to many generations of students, some conclusions must be highlighted:
- The study of optical communications is interdisciplinary in nature: in any textbook within this field we can find topics of very different scientific fields with different degrees of difficulty, ranging from solid-state technology, quantum mechanics, communication systems, coding theory, electromagnetism, optics, and many more. Obviously, this entails a high degree of difficulty to the students in following the different lessons.
- There are many issues of high degree of abstraction that demands a solid graphic or visual support to become enough clear to the students [1]. Indeed in some specific issues only with the support of moving images one can forecast some success degree in the teaching / learning process. The experience have shown to us that the simple formal description on the blackboard conveys almost anything interest to the students, because of his intrinsic conceptual difficulty.
- Lastly, the huge heterogeneity of the subjects addressed in a optical communications course, imposes to the teacher a high degree of flexibility when using his/her pedagogical resources to accommodate to each student’s capability [2],[3]. It is advisable to look for the best way to hold the student’s attention anytime and in any topic.
At this point a question naturally arises: Is there any way to successfully accomplish all the previously mentioned requirements using only conventionally education resources?. We think that, in this context, only through the synergy of a mixed use of conventional classroom activities, books and other print-based artefacts, laboratory experiments and a set of specific e-learning digital resources available to students, it is feasible to reach an education of adequate quality to an engineering level student. To fulfill this goal, the team of professors responsible of the optical communications at the EUIT Telecommunications from Madrid, have developed into a integrated digital platform based on Matlab©, a set of multiple pedagogical resources, ranging from 2D and 3D-animations, real videos, interactive simulations, reference texts, aside an self-assessment tool, to which the students can reach either local or in-remote way via internet.
So far only a limited number of students have tested the digital resources developed, but the surveys and academic outcomes have convinced us of the success of this b-learning strategy.

[1] G. Conole & M. Oliver, “Contemporary Perspectives in E-Learning Rechearch – Themes, Methods and Impact on Practice”, Routledge, Francis & Taylor Ed., New Yok, 2007.
[2] R. Donnelly & F. McSweeney, “Applied E-learning and E-teaching in Higher Education”, Information Science Reference Ed, Hershey 2009.
[3] M. Iskander, “Innovative Techniques in Instruction Technology in E-learning , E-assessment and Education”, Ed. Springer, 2008.
information and communication technologies, educative innovation, virtual.