A VIRTUAL COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR COORDINATING THE TEACHING OF STATISTICS IN BUSINESS DEGREES
Universidad de Murcia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The adoption of the European Higher Education Area by Spanish universities has supposed deep changes in approaches to the teaching-learning process. The role of the teacher has moved from being a mere transmitter of knowledge to that of guide and facilitator of student learning. This means careful design and planning of the activities to be performed both in and outside the classroom.
Another important feature of the European higher education approach is between-subject coordination, thus avoiding overlaps, maximization of learning efficiency and a uniform distribution of student workload. In degree courses with a large number of groups, as is the case in Business Administration and Management at the University of Murcia, there is the further need to coordinate the teachers of same subject groups. This goes beyond fixing common teaching criteria and takes in the design of suitable materials for autonomous work and assessment.
The large number of teachers involved, plus the fact that teachers may also work in other centres, makes it advisable to use a virtual environment that favours communication and sharing of materials. Thus, University of Murcia devoted to fostering online teaching, a request was made under the new modality centred on promoting the use of networks to build collaborative teaching teams for a project for Statistics for Business II.
The University of Murcia has made space available in its Virtual Classroom (a platform designed under the Sakai project) for teams whose requests were approved, where all the digital material developed is to be stored. The space itself favours much of the collaborative work. Its calendar feature fixes the deadlines for the reception of provisional documents that teachers have undertaken to prepare (guidelines regarding the main concepts and tools to develop, activities for practical classes, self-learning guides). The Forum tool allows debate about the material and helps in reaching a consensus on the definitive files. Other activities have been designed for assessment and self-assessment processes. For the latter, a battery of questions is being prepared under the Examinations tool. This will be completed in time and made available to students the next academic year.
This method of working has meant teachers can reflect on the subject and share opinions and materials flexibly and efficiently. A bank of materials is underway and will be updated over the years so as to be available to future teachers assigned to this subject. This initial experience may also serve as a starting point to drive collaborative learning among students.
Keywords: Virtual collaborative environment, European Higher Education Area, coordination.