DO SIMULATORS IN ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING HELP TO DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL SKILLS? STUDENTS' OPINIONS
CIAMBITAL, University of Almeria (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:After including engineering studies into the European Higher Education Area, on which studies' implementation is based on competences, it is fundamental to specify how the mentioned competences are evaluated. In University of Almería, these are differentiated into three kinds of competences for diferent degrees. There are two groups of generic skills, common throughout all the Industrial Engineering specialities (Industrial Electronics, Electricity with renewable energy mention, Industrial Chemistry and mechanics), established through royal decree 1393/2007. The last group are specific skills for each Bachelor's and and Master's degree. On this work we'll be focusing on the specific competences of Electronics. The use of simulation software is widespread in the engineering field. This has allowed students to naturally acquire essential skills and knowledge. Besides, acquiring proficiency on simulators favors design procedure control on any engineering field, being an useful skill for their professional life. The best way to acquire these abilities is, of course, using a simulator. Simulators also save long hours in the lab, since most of them include virtual instruments that allow the student to approach the laboratory in a friendly fashion, besides its main use for complex circuit design.
To perform the evaluation of these competences regarding simulation software expertise, students from 5 different electronic related subjects in the scope of the Bachelor's degree in industrial electronic engineering and the Master's degree in industrial engineering. These students are provided with an anonymous survey, consisting on two blocks with 11 questions each, valuing their opinion about simulators in both theory and practice. The mentioned surveys consider use of simulation tools by applying learning and professional worth indicators, among others. A total of 11 indicators are used, related to 8 specific competences of all the subjects evaluated.
A total of 264 students have been surveyed on this work. All indicators are globally postulated as approved, with an average of 6.4. The study of competences related to subjects has a value over sufficiency, with the exception of Analog Electronics, which values are close to pass. This subject is part of 3rd year curriculum, and have more credits assigned than the rest of subjects considered for this work, and the one with less number of surveyed students (just 11). Students of the current generation have implicit skill in software handling which helps them getting familiar with this kind of tool. This favors their inclination towards simulators, from which stems their good disposition and evaluation.
In the future the feedback received by student must improve, with the purpose of fostering the use of these simulation tools in the fields of aplicability and learning promotion among all subjects where values on these indicators are lower. To achieve this goal, new methodologies will be developed, stressing on the importance of these tools and their role in future workplace incorporation.
Keywords: Simulator, Industrial electronic engineering, electronic skills.