Univeridad Carlos III de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 3400-3404
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
The demands of the European Higher Education area make necessary the introduction of new teaching strategies that account for the continuous evaluation of the students as well as establish criteria for competences and skills achievement. At this point, it is worth to distinguish between specific/technical and general skills (i.e. problem solving methodology, workgroup abilities, use of information resources). Technical competences are evaluated through class exercises proposed to revise the main topics covered during the sessions, evaluation tests, and a final exam. Among the different teaching methods available for general skills evaluation, such as the portfolio, the fishbowl scenario, teamwork projects, etc., in this work it is proposed a discussion forum to assess the critical attitude of the student towards identifying and evaluating technologies related to the different topics covered during the course. Moreover, the discussion forum provides a snapshot of the student research skills to get information and knowledge from other sources different of the course material.

According to that, 520 students where asked to participate in a discussion forum on emerging power generation technologies. First, the students proposed current or future power generation issues, which they believed will play a major role on power generation. Later, the most relevant topics proposed were chosen to be openly discussed within the Forum. Finally, to improve team effectiveness, the more discussed topics are assigned as workgroup project among the students.

The proposed methodology has been applied to the course of Thermal Engineering, belonging to the new Mechanical, Electrical Power, and Automation and Industrial Electronics Engineering degrees of the University Carlos III of Madrid. The aim of that course is to understand the thermodynamic basic processes that determine the performance of elementary engineering devices (valves, turbines, compressors, heat exchangers and power plant cycles) and the basic principles related to heat transfer, present in any field of engineering (electronics, electrical and thermomechanical).

As a result, the 50% of the students participated within the Forum two or more times. Due that the discussion Forum accounts for a 15% in the final score, in this work the effect of the Forum participation on the global course rate is analyzed by taking into account the different evaluation criteria of the assessment system.
Teaching strategies, bologna process, discussion Forum.