AN EXPERIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE IN THE TECHNICAL INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING ABOUT CONTINUOUS FORMATIVE EVALUATION BASED ON PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
The new bachelor’s degrees, promoted by the European Space for Higher Education (ESHE), were launched during the 2010/2011 academic year, obligating the teaching guides to adopt a new philosophy to go along with the new methods of teaching and learning, which are focused on the student.
In this new scenario, the actual challenge is to minimize the effort required to design and implement quality degree programmes, adapted to the ESHE. The Team of Innovation and Quality in the Learning of Architectonic Projects (Equipo de Innovación y Calidad en el Aprendizaje de Proyectos Arquitectónicos - ICAPA) aims to this target in the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Universitat Politècnica de València - UPV), for the education of new computer science engineers and architects. The team is composed principally by professors of the Department of Architectonic Projects (Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos - DPA), although also there are professors of the Department of Information Systems and Computation (Departamento de Sistemas Informáticos y Computación - DSIC), of the UPV. ICAPA promotes the application of educational methods based on Project Based Learning (PBL).
This work is motivated by the previous success acquired by ICAPA members in improving the learning process of subjects related to Architecture (i.e. Projects I - PRI, Projects II - PRII), through the use of Continuous Formative Evaluation (CFE) techniques, which are based on PBL. Since, learning and evaluation of Computer Science and Architecture share some common aspects –both create basic skills in the students, providing them with a broad vision of the range of technology resources that are available–, this work starts from the hypothesis that the application of CFE to the teaching of Computer Science could be helpful to deepen understanding and improving students’ interest in learning, which should improve their results in evaluations.
To validate the hypothesis, this paper presents an analysis of the CFE that is being applied to the teaching of Computer Science (Informática - INF) in the Industrial Electronic and Automatic bachelor’s degree, which is taught in the School of Design Engineering (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería del Diseño - ETSID), of the UPV. This CFE was designed in the 2009/2010 academic year, as part of a pilot program that involves a group of students who voluntarily participate in the program, with the objective of validating the new teaching guide that was created for the ESHE’s bachelor degrees. It is based on deliverables, one minute papers and objective tests, distributed along the course. As a result of this pilot, and considering the results obtained by DPA from the application of PBL in the program, a new evaluation process has been designed, which integrates PBL, and is still compatible with the previous one.
Since the 80% of the students have successfully complete the course, which is satisfactory for the purposes of this work, this paper aims at improving the learning of the students, seeking an improvement in the average grade attained by the students.
The obtained results validate the initial hypothesis, revealing that the use of PBL in the ECF process is a tool that can help the student in deepening in the content, while improving his/her qualification in the subject.