BOLOGNA PARADIGM IN A PORTUGUESE POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE - THE CASE OF THE FIRST CYCLE
In this paper, we describe a study carried out in a Portuguese Polytechnic Institute, aimed to identify and characterize the implementation level of the Bologna Paradigm.
The Bologna process has some basics principles such as: teaching-learning processes centered on students; achievement of well-established competencies; strengthening of the autonomous work of students; closer relationships with problems from real life and economic environment.
The Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (IPS) adopted the Bologna paradigm in the academic year of 2006/2007 in the majority of its courses (1st and 2nd cycles). In the academic year of 2008/2009 UNIQUA/IPS (Unity for Evaluation and Quality) designed a questionnaire, aiming to evaluate the characteristics of the introduced changes in the contents and pedagogic methods, in the 1st cycle courses. The questionnaire presented 17 questions that allowed to profile the innovations at course´s and school´s levels, and was answered by 420 teachers, responsible for the majority of curriculum units (800 curricular units). The results have showed few changes, several limitations and constraints taking in account the expected principles.
Regarding the changes in teaching learning activities, the answers related to “stopped using” showed that no activity was significantly abandoned. For the answers to “started to use”, the higher percentages were concentrated on: Electronic communications (24%); Tutorial orientation (14%); Presentation with themes for discussion (14%); Participation in on line discussion forum (12%); Information research on line (10%).
Regarding the changes in the evaluation elements, the answers to “stopped using” showed that no element was significantly abandoned. The answers to “started to use” had the higher percentages mainly on: Individual activities on distance learning (12%); Group work related to classroom (8%); Group presentations (8%).
As a more general conclusion, we can say that the most expected changes with the Paradigm of Bologna have had low levels of adoption.
No significant differences were found between the two schools of technology, but visible differences were shown between the school of education and other schools.
This study did not questioned important aspects such as: desired competencies and their achievement, relationships between contents and competencies, coherency between ECTS and total workload, pedagogical approaches adequacy to scientific matters, relationships between school success rates and pedagogical approaches, learning methods adopted by students.