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VIRTUALIZATION AND AUTOMATION OF THE LEARNING-TEACHING PROCESS IN OPTICAL COMMUNICATIONS SUBJECTS BY MEANS OF TELEMATICS TOOLS

In this paper, it is presented a different teaching methodology based on virtual and telematics tools applied to laboratory subjects regarding optical communications. The new education system forces a methodological renewal, focus on the learning process and the acquisition of skills. As a consequence, telematics tools provide an essential support to deal with the new educational scenario due to their flexibility and great development.
We propose the virtualization of the learning and the teaching process by developing interactive applications to be integrated in the well-known learning platform called Moddle. In particular, we propose the virtualization of the evaluation process under this platform by means of online remote questionnaires and virtual evaluable activities which at the same time facilitate the continuous evaluation process. Furthermore, we have brought the methodological process under review to efficiently enhance the quality of the learning process.
The results of this learning experiment have provided us an important feedback from students which will help to improve the weakest points of the subject. Indeed, part of the questionnaires has been designed so that students could describe the degree of difficulty, clarity and problems they achieved during each laboratory session. With this information, the teacher is able to efficiently identify those difficulties and issues which students should face at each lab session. Consequently, they can take advantage of this feedback to put more emphasis in those topics which should be improved or changed. On the other hand, the developed tools and methodologies have highly helped to speed the continuous evaluation process of students. In fact, the virtualization and the automation of the evaluation process achieves a remarkable reduction in the invested time in these tasks. Even more, it is remarkable that the virtual telematics tools integrated in Moddle are easy to maintain and can be remotely accessed from anywhere and at any time by both, teachers and students.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that students have considerably used the proposed learning tools, such as visual guides, remote questionnaires or the optical communication tutorial, as the main support along the subject. Furthermore, this teaching methodology permits measuring student knowledge directly at class, since they are obliged to prepare each lab session in anticipation of class, avoiding at the same time the traditional copy of results of previous years. As a consequence, the results of the experiments have reflected the degree of satisfaction of students with the integration of this new virtual methodology. Thanks to this experimental study, it has been measured the success of students and their degree of interest by analyzing their achieved marks along the subject and compared them with the results of previous years.