J. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, D.T. Toledano

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
One of the main competences that Engineering students must obtain is the ability to solve complex problems with limited time and resources in reduced working teams. In this paper, we will show the experience during the last years in the teaching of “Random Signal Processing and Stochastic Processes” and “Digital Signal Processing” in Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where significant improvement have been obtained in the performance of students in their final examinations, which consists mainly in problem solving. The classical approach to problem solving is based in problems solved by the teacher, while students maintain basically a passive attitude, just trying to understand what the teacher does but without any other kind of complex reasoning. In our approach, each session contains, usually after a theorical introduction of some new concepts, and sometimes after one or two problems solved by the teacher, a cooperative activity consisting in solving new complex problems in small groups of two or three person each, with a strict well-designed timing per problem section, and with several clues that the teacher unveils progressively, helping those delayed and motivating those who already chose the correct options to progress in the solution of the problem. The paper will show a detailed analysis of the proposal, its benefitial influence over class-by-class motivation and self-study, the improvement of class attendance rates, and the influence over the final qualifications of the students.