DRIVING AN INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS COURSE ON THE ROAD TO BOLOGNA: BOLOGNA, JUST A FIRST STAGE OF THE JOURNEY OR THE FINAL DESTINATION?
Bologna process appeared to be an opportunity for a deep methodological change in Spanish Higher Education. Even if specific funding was never assigned for this process, the new degrees have implemented a new vision of the teaching and learning process. Innovative methodologies, with active classroom work, multimedia support, frequent demonstrations in the main course, continuous and assorted assessment, and other novel schemes, have been incorporated to daily teaching practice.
Our particular experience in the transition towards the Bologna model as teachers in the introductory Physics courses at Universitat Jaume I, Spain, reveals an improvement in the classroom working environment, a higher motivation for many of the students, and an enhancement in the student performance. Nevertheless, great effort has been required from university teachers to adapt the courses to the new paradigm, and all the perceptions are not always positive. The limitations in the initial background of students often prevent further advances. The workload is highly asymmetric: too charged for teachers, but sometimes the student tasks finally accomplished are too little. In addition, budget restrictions are becoming so stringent that the quality standards may be at risk.
In this communication, we analyze the changes in our teaching task brought by the Bologna process and think over the expectations and challenges for the near future.