D. Fernandez-Novoa1, X. Costoya2, M. deCastro1, M. Gomez-Gesteira1

1University of Vigo (SPAIN)
2University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
The University Program for Seniors was implemented in order to incorporate people older than 55 years to the University of Vigo. This qualification represents a singular program and a great challenge for teachers since it includes students with a very different background. In fact, there may be students that only finished the primary school but also students who received higher or university studies. Therefore, teachers must adapt the methodology and development of the subject to allow all the students a successful experience in this program.

This paper shows the methodology developed to reach the objectives established in the University Program for Seniors, from the particular case of the Meteorology subject. The first step, and the most important, both from the point of view of students and teachers, was to know the previous background of the students and to compensate the existing differences. The objective is to establish a common and necessary background for the proper development of the subject. Thus, it is possible to lay the necessary foundations, which allow understanding the main concepts of the subject. Once common background about the subject was established, the main topics were introduced with a continuous exchange and debate with the students to achieve a deeply comprehension of the addressed concepts.

Theoretical and practical activities were developed together in order to get an active student participation, which reinforces the learning. In addition, most of the practical activities were focused in the application of the knowledge acquired to the real life, which results in a strong source of interest and motivation for the students. By last, a continuous review of the concepts already discussed was made throughout the subject in order to strengthen them.

The aim of this study is to show some examples to develop a methodology, which allows a successful development of subjects regarding the area of the physical science in the University Program for Seniors. The purpose is to provide ideas and material, which can be applicable and serve as example to other subjects of this Program. The exchange of experiences and new approaches is especially important at this level due to the inherent characteristics and difficulties of the Program for Seniors. The degree of success of this approach was tested through several assessments with the students.