Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.

ENHANCING THE ADVISORY PROCESS IN VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS. AN APPLICATION FOR THE MASTER'S THESIS CASE

In last years, the number of students that has decided to extend their academic career with postgraduate studies has significantly increased. In postgraduate studies, the subject with the lowest student attendance rate in the exam is the compulsory subject "Master's Thesis". Given the current economic restrictions, in this subject the number of students supervised by each professor is substantially higher year in year out. Under this situation, the suitability of the advisory and supervision function by the traditional learning means has been put into a question.

This problem has been more noticeable in virtual environments, where the advisory and supervision function has usually carried out by email. Many students, who successfully complete the other subjects of the master degrees, do not pay enough attention to the tasks of planning and, rarely, the students properly work in compliance with the schedule and framework proposed by the supervisor when the email is the main communication tool. The email does not allow students to follow a structured and proper learning process for the Master’s Thesis.

The use of software for learning and teaching is always useful. However, there is not any available software to support the advisory and supervision function in postgraduate works, without the need to maintain a face interaction between the supervisor and the student. In this context, the main purpose of this study is, through an innovative educational project, to develop a web application for supporting the advisory and supervision function in virtual learning environments.

This project has been applied in the “Master in Sustainability and CSR” provided by Universitat Jaume I and UNED (Spain). The main results reveal that the web application clearly has facilitated the learning process for "Master's Thesis" subject. This application has helped professors to follow closer the development of the works, improving the communication and enhancing the planning for students.