A NEW TOOL TO FACILITATE THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN SELECTING SUBJECTS OF THE MARINE ENGINEERING STUDIES
Nowadays, the new technologies are widespread throughout the society and specially the youngsters. Most students have mobile phones, tablets or other devices linked to the internet. Thus, offering a tool reachable from the web seems a good idea to link with the students and to make the contents more accessible and dynamic and a good way to promote the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales (E.T.S.I.N.).
This is an application designed for students and possible future students. Its goals are to facilitate the current students in selecting subjects of the studies of the E.T.S.I.N. and to promote the studies within the future generations.
The main functionality of this tool is to show the relevant subjects based on the selections made by the user. Then, info of these subjects is available for consultation and even links to other subjects with similar characteristics (even from the different bachelors and the master that are offered in this university) are provided.
The tool database is implemented on Microsoft Office Access. At the time of deciding on the database to be chosen, there were no other obvious alternatives (this database application was chosen because it was already present in all the ETSIN computers). Pros of Access are that it allows the creation of a graphical interface in a very easy way and it does not impose coding on command line. Cons are that in an entry level, it seems not very flexible as many options are prefixed.
The database has been populated with information of all the subjects available in the Naval Architecture studies of this University. Their characteristics (description, objectives, semester, number of European Credits Transfer System (ECTS), skills achieved once subject passed, previous subjects needed before application to the subject, subject coordinator, knowledge area / fields of study,…) has been obtained from the Educational Reports available from 2009 to 2015, which contained detailed information on all the subjects.
The tool has an attractive graphical interface to the users to get their attention. The final layout/skin was selected among several drafts after a poll amount 10 voluntary pilot users currently studying in the university.
On start-up window, the tool allows the user to select 1 of the 2 options available: knowledge areas or Bachelors / Masters.
If the user selects the Knowledge Areas, it is directed to the following screen:
Once there, if the user clicks on any of the arrow buttons or the text next to it, the tool will show in the window two new options: a list of subjects and a drawing about this knowledge area. The list will contain all the subjects of the different grades and the master belonging to this area. Each subject has a reference to its course year and its semester.
If the user selects the Master/Bachelor option, the tool shows the following window:
Where the three studies offered in the E.T.S.I.N.: the Naval Architecture Grade, the Maritime Engineering Grade and the Naval Architecture and Oceanic Engineering Master.
If it chooses one of the three options, the window will show three new options: subjects, objectives and competences. This gives the students the opportunity to discover all characteristics about his Grade/Master and it also is a good way to show all the content of the studies to potential future students.