About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1707-1712
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0502

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

IMPROVING RETENTION AND SOFT SKILLS THROUGH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: A PROPOSAL OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AT UNIVERSIDAD PANAMERICANA

Our understanding of teaching and learning in higher education has changed dramatically in recent years. New models of teaching refer to student-centered, active participation, and technology and social media integration among others. Besides, since 2003, ABET, the accreditation board for engineering and technology programs, introduced a set of skills, called professional skills that engineering graduates should possess such as multidisciplinary teamwork, ethical responsibility, effective communication, and life-long learning. Despite these efforts, a gap has been identified in the skills graduates have and those needed to succeed in the workplace (PayPal, 2016).

Moreover, pre-college preparation plays a significant role in the level of success in STEM courses, and in consequence in the decision of students to stay in their programs. For some students, first-year STEM courses are easy to take, and for others, they are very challenging and frequently they do not succeed (Chen, Soldner, 2013).

To address the previous problems, the College of Engineering at Universidad Panamericana partnered with the Center for Innovation in Education to redesign the introductory physics course. The primary objective of the course is to teach pre-college physics through project-based learning (PBL) and to develop soft skills through well-designed activities.

This paper is divided into two sections. The first section presents a description of the physics course including the design characteristics, the number of sections taught and the number of students attending the class, and a brief description of the professors.

The second section describes preliminary results of the focus group interview with the students participating in the class. Students described professors´ strengths and challenges in teaching the course such as their patience, the knowledge of the subject, and their difficulties of planning and managing time in the redesigned course. Also, the students refer to their learning experience as challenging and rewarding. They share how they were able to develop soft skills such as creativity, and critical thinking, problem-solving, and verbal communication among others. Finally, students shared how they were able to relate the class content with the practical profession of engineering.
@InProceedings{GARCIAHIGUERA2018IMP,
author = {Garc{\'{i}}a-Higuera, M.C. and Niembro-Garc{\'{i}}a, I.J. and Alem{\'{a}}n-Ju{\'{a}}rez, A.},
title = {IMPROVING RETENTION AND SOFT SKILLS THROUGH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: A PROPOSAL OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AT UNIVERSIDAD PANAMERICANA},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0502},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0502},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {1707-1712}}
TY - CONF
AU - M.C. García-Higuera AU - I.J. Niembro-García AU - A. Alemán-Juárez
TI - IMPROVING RETENTION AND SOFT SKILLS THROUGH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: A PROPOSAL OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AT UNIVERSIDAD PANAMERICANA
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0502
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 1707
EP - 1712
ER -
M.C. García-Higuera, I.J. Niembro-García, A. Alemán-Juárez (2018) IMPROVING RETENTION AND SOFT SKILLS THROUGH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: A PROPOSAL OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AT UNIVERSIDAD PANAMERICANA, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 1707-1712.
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