DEVELOPING HORIZONTAL COMPETENCES IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF AN ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING DEGREE: A PILOT EXPERIENCE
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The Electronic Engineering (EE) degree at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is making a significant work to develop and explicitly integrate the horizontal competences in the curriculum, as a response to the need (determined by a social demand) and the importance of an education based on competences.
With this aim in mind, a continuous process has been followed from the design of the degree and its implementation in 2010/2011 to the current situation. The first stone was the definition of the horizontal competences for the degree. Then it was noted that a simplified approach was needed (from the point of view of both the coordination and the development of the proposal). Thus, a redefinition of the competences was suggested and a first scheme of the implementation plan was also sketched. In a more global planning, the Faculty of Science and Technology (ZTF-FCT) has been and is working towards an integrated approach for the development of horizontal competences in the different degrees offered by the Faculty. One main outcome of this effort was the definition of a common set of transversal competences, compatible to the fullest extent with the specific needs of the different degrees.
As a next step and coming to the present work, a specific team from the Graduate Studies Commission of EE, together with the coordinators of the subjects involved, is working in the pilot implementation of the explicit development of horizontal competences in the first two years of the degree. It is important to highlight the importance of the coordination at different levels, so the working team includes: the coordinators of the degree and the first two years, the coordinators of the subjects, as said before, and also the coordinators of the Final Year Project (FYP) and of the Mentoring Plan. We should keep in mind that the whole work is ultimately focused on the students to achieve skills that are finally assessed when presenting the FYP (which is compulsory). In this sense it is also important the work done by FYP coordinators at Faculty level. Besides, the Mentoring Plan brings a powerful tool to provide the feedback to the students (by means of a portofolio, for instance), mandatory in a gradual competence achievement process.
In this paper, three subjects will be considered: "Introduction to Computer Science" (1st year, 1st semester), "Programming Fundamentals" (1st year, 2nd semester) and "Electronics" (2nd year, 2nd semester). The main results of the work done in these subjects will be summarized in the paper.
Two different aspects of the work will be taken into account:
- Describing and critically analyzing the work made by the coordination team for carrying out the plan: approach taken, real-time review, future improvements, etc.
- Studying the results of the implemented activities as a diagnosis of the situation of transversal competences in the EE degree and approaches to feeding the students back.
Finally, it is worthwhile to emphasize that the whole work is being supervised by the Educational Counseling Service (SAE-HELAZ) of the UPV/EHU, through an innovation project oriented to that end.