STUDENT DEVELOPERS' MEETUP. A UNIVERSITY PLATFORM TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO TAKE PART IN A COMMUNITY OF DEVELOPERS AND SPECIALISED COMPANIES

J.A. Romero del Castillo, A. De Haro García

University of Córdoba (SPAIN)
Despite the growing interest of universities and schools in active student participation, today the learning process has turned into passive listening in the class and a few isolated alternative activities, if any.

After completing their studies, students face the competitive professional world and they find many problems when they have to look for a job because they don't do well at some desired skills like participating in groups, acting as a team member or even as a team leader. Collaborative work, communication skills, transmitting clear and structured ideas, problem solving using acquired knowledge to face new challenges, creativity skills, commercial vision, or development of business ideas, just to name a few.

Cooperative learning methods have demonstrated to improve student engagement, retention of classroom material and improve students' motivation to learn, as well as students' interpersonal relationships and expectations for personal success, a part from the fact that students working in groups achieve significantly more than those students working individually.

Despite that there is a great lack of cooperative learning activities integrated within syllabus and curricula. Other times the problem is that cooperative learning activities are isolated and far from the day to day life of the students leading to low student participation levels and consequently the academic progress and learning is diminished.

In this paper we present a platform to encorage students to form a community of developers in the university. This community is composed mainly of students of engineering but it is also composed of professional engineers from different companies, and opened to other teachers and people in general interested in the topic. We will specifically describe the application to a computer science developers community but the proposed platform can be used in any engineering area: electrical, electronical, industrial, mechanics engineering, etc.

For students to achieve the academic and social benefits the cooperative structure must be defined and implemented carefully. In this paper we will describe the platform details, the face-to-face interaction and the individual accountability for each student in the platform.