IMPROVEMENT OF TEACHING METHODS AT UNIVERSITY OF WEST BOHEMIA
The main task of universities is to educate a new generation of students and prepare them for their professional career. This is not a simple task. Unfortunately, each university, resp teacher has to face many obstacles. One of them is the loss of students' interest in study. The reason is simple. Thanks to the extensive possibilities of our times anyone can, regardless of education, to work online from home. It is necessary just to know how to use a computer and appropriate software, to have the knowledge of modern trends (eg. Youtubering), to be creative and to have self-control. Young people like this approach, of course. They do not need to spend more years by studying specialization, in which either does not work then (eg. because of low pay conditions, loss of interest about the specialization, etc). Furthermore, they are not bound by fixed working hours and they are their own masters. All these reasons and many others caused the decrease of number of students at universities. Fortunately, there is always an appropriate solution quickly to every such problem. In this case, the solutions are the new teaching methods, such as: project-based learning, e-learning, problem-based learning, reverse engineering-based learning, etc.
This article describes the methods of application of these learning tools into the educational model of technical disciplines at University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. At the beginning, a survey focused on the attractiveness of the existing learning model was conducted. The survey confirmed that is needed to change access to teaching. In the first stage was applied the methodology of e-learning materials. Obsolete teaching materials have been replaced by new ones. Teaching material is available online and includes interactive 3D PDFs with models for better visual imagination. In the second phase, implementation of project-based learning and problem-based learning took place. Subjects have been modified. Students must work in a multidisciplinary group and seek solutions together. The topics are chosen with focus on the possible realization of the project. At this stage, students' interest has already been shown. Some students realized projects in their spare time and gained more information and experience. The current stage is implementation of reverse engineering-based learning. Students work again in a group on a specific project. However, the lesson is already on the created part and the task is to modify one of the parts. Students must to use machines and tools from the beginning. During the processing, they get new information about the importance of the links between individual parts. This process helps them to make the process of designing the modification.
Applying these new teaching tools leads to increased interest in learning, while reducing the number of students who do not complete the subject for the first time. It also brings lessons closer to practice and facilitates transition between phase of theory and practice after graduation.