IDENTIFYING THE INTERESTS AND TRENDS OF TELECOMMUNICATION ENGINEERING STUDENTS IN COMPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES
The educational innovation project PIE13-84 funded by the “Universidad de Málaga” is focused on the development of complementary activities in order to provide Telecommunication Engineering students with an integral education, composed of technical knowledge and personal skills.
The main activity of this project is the "Technological Challenge" that consists on the formulation of a specific problem that students must face in a certain period of time in competitive regime to encourage the involvement of the students in actual engineering tasks. The first edition was held during the academic course 2014-15 with the following lemma: "How much could you compress the information?" This activity was done in collaboration with “Servicio de Publicaciones y Divulgación Científica” and the department “Ingeniería de Comunicaciones”; and with the support of ETSIT and Google.
An additional objective of this project is the identification of the real interests of the students in order to include them in complementary activities, thus making these activities more attractive and producing better results. The first approach to the task of identification students’ interests has been the second edition of the technological challenge. In this occasion, the challenge proposed has been designed with a transversal aspect that affects to the entire society in mind. This challenge was entitled as the Fight against Gender Violence. Unlike the first edition, the responses to the challenge were meant to be proposals that can be fully implemented with the current technology.
The second edition of the challenge has provided even better results, with a higher level of participation and higher quality responses. However, in order to better identify the real interests of the students, we performed a survey focused on the Telecommunication Engineering students.
The survey analyzes the data collected using a specific questionnaire with 16 questions about the nature of their preferred activities, the timetable or the communication channel they prefer to receive the call for those activities. The survey has been carried out at the end of the second semester, in June 2015, collecting data from the four levels of the Telecommunication Engineering degree. Students from Telecommunication Systems degree, Electronic Systems degree, Sound and Image degree and Telecommunication Technologies degree participated in the survey, with an average age of 21 and a male-female gender distribution of 80%-20%, respectively.
One of the results of the survey draws the distribution of the time dedicated to leisure, studies and other activities. On average, 30% of the time is for free time, 50% for study and 20% for other activities. However, the most representative values are 20%, 60% and 20%, respectively.
The survey also reveals that the preferred communication channel is the moodle-based learning platform, named Campus Virtual. Other communication channels like the social networks (facebook, twitter), the email, the traditional printed banners or leaflets, or the informative displays distributed along the campus are way far from Campus Virtual.
With regard to the complementary activities, the most interesting results could be summarized as follows: more than 38% of the students did not participate in the complementary activities due to lack of information, the 32% because of the lack of time, and a 30% due to the overlapping of the activities with the lectures and regular courses.