IMPROVING THE TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS IN ECONOMIC THEORY THROUGH THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION DEGREES
Universidad de Cadiz (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The main aim of this project is to improve the teaching/learning process in Economic Theory through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). As it is well known, Economic Theory is based on economic models generally related to graphical and mathematical analysis which students often find hard to understand.
In line with our goal, we propose a process to improve the understanding and learning of the concepts explained in the subjects of “Economics” and “Microeconomics”, both taught with the methodology of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). These first-year subjects belong to the Degree of Business and Administration offered by the University of Cadiz (UCA) and are taught within the module of basic training during the first and second semester respectively. Besides, it should be noted that they are simultaneously taught in three campuses: Algeciras, Cadiz and Jerez. The target group of this project is approximately 700 students who are enrolled in the abovementioned subjects.
The teaching/learning improvement process will be carried out through the implementation of a set of ICT tools, which include the following:
-Making our course available through OpenCourseWare, that is to say, launching an online course related to the syllabus of the subject in order to complement the contents explained in the lecture classes.
-Creating videos in Shockwave Flash format to explain those graphical analyses that students usually find difficult to understand.
- Facilitating the student self-assessment, through online tests that will be made available on the virtual campus by the end of each unit.
-Creating Webquests for those mathematical difficulties that students may have. This Webquest are defined as "an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet, optionally supplemented with videoconferencing” (Dodge, 1995)
This set of tools will be added to the virtual campus of each of the two subjects and is expected to improve the teaching/learning process in at least two ways: on the one hand it may enhance the understanding of the contents taught in the subject; and, on the other hand, it may equip students with one of the skills claimed in the syllabus of these subjects: the autonomous learning.
Finally, we identify the advantages and drawbacks of the project and make and comparative analysis of the results obtained before and after its implementation.
Keywords: e-learning, virtual teaching, OpenCourseWare, Webquests.