DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF E-LEARNING AND M-LEARNING RESOURCES IN THE AREA OF OPTICAL COMMUNICATIONS
The new higher education system requires university to revise and to renew traditional teaching and learning techniques. This objective implies a great increment in the student workload since it encourages more students’ autonomy to acquire the skills demanded by the new degrees. Furthermore, teachers will also suffer from an increment in their workload as the new methodologies involve an extra effort to prepare new materials and to assess a higher amount of students’ work. In this context, e-learning and m-learning (mobile-learning) resources can be used in combination with current learning strategies due to their high potential and great development. At the same time they offer teachers and students techniques to cope with the exigencies of these methodologies. As a consequence, we propose the design of a set of resources that cover three relevant aspects with the aim to improve traditional teaching-learning techniques: to promote the access to restricted material as, for example, laboratories, to re-use teaching material already created and to include new technologies that will motivate students.
In this way, we propose to provide subjects with high flexibility by designing video-tutorials supported by voice regarding complex concepts and software simulators used in classes and laboratories. In particular, in this paper we have focused on subjects from the optical communications area. This area is highly complex and it is a good scenario for the practical use of our proposal. The main objective is to promote a virtual access to optical communication experiments and simulations related to laboratory subjects. However, these software applications also pretend to be a powerful tool in master classes to explain fundamental principles and physical phenomenon.
In addition, SCORM technology is also proposed to homogenize subjects. Accordingly, we intend to integrate in a unique digital unit (SCORM learning packets) every content (i.e. resources, interactive applications, video-tutorials and auto-evaluable activities) keeping the same structure and format. The main advantage of using SCORM packets is that they can be directly used in other subjects and could be integrated in several online learning platforms, such as Moodle. Finally, we complement our proposal by promoting new m-learning applications which allow technology to be integrated in the traditional teaching-learning techniques. In this way, Android applications were developed to provide students with resources which easily allow to visualize and to understand difficult physical phenomena regarding optical communications. These tools do not only pretend to virtualize learning strategies, but also they let students to remotely access to them and permit to adapt their used according to their necessities and learning capabilities. In summary, the integration of e-learning and m-learning techniques in the current teaching-learning methodologies promotes the acquisition of the required students’ skills and also their capacity of work and motivation. Furthermore, they enhance the quality of the teaching-learning process and speed certain teaching tasks involved in the educational process, such as a better and fast explanation of principles quite difficult to visualize and comprehend.