Technical University of Madrid, High Naval Engineering Technical School (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3688-3696
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
During the adaptation process of the Spanish Universities to the European Higher Education Area, all Technological Schools syllabuses have been modified to the new Bachelor and Master degrees. Progressive introduction of these new curricula is faced from different temporal planning depending on each University or even each School. At the High Naval Engineering Technical School there are currently two of them: the so-called Plan-2002 (P-2002) based on traditional teacher lectures and the Plan-2010 (P-2010) under the Bologna Process. From the 2010-11 academic year onward no new students can enrol on the P-2002 and each academic year a new P-2010 course is gradually establishing while an old P-2002 course is accordingly extinguishing.

While both syllabuses exist, a large group of students from the P-2002 with different advanced stages in their careers have two routes to complete their studies. These depend on the temporal duration of their qualifications and the modification of some of the professional responsibilities involving such alternatives. They have to decide if switching to the new P-2010 or remain in the P-2002.

In order to optimize the academic performance of these students, a Decision Support System (DSS) has been developed and it offers the best choice of enrolment as a function of both the time constraints and the University normative. Various historical factors and the self-reported availability of the student for the course which will enrol are computed.
This paper presents this DSS together with the Graphical User Interface (GUI) designed to be easy and friendly.
After a student access to the DSS through its GUI by simply entering his/her personal identification code(ID), the system connects to the central database and both personal and institutional historical data are obtained: passed subjects and/or credits per each year, relative difficulty of each of the thematic contents and others. On the other hand statistics from all the subjects are obtained too and different weights (values) are computed.

A neural network algorithm processes this information and two outputs are obtained: a boolean associated to the decision whether or not this student should change from P-2002 to P-2010 and -under this true response- the maximum number of recommended enrolment credits. If the system cannot offer an unique solution due to uncertainties, it is the own student who can select their subjects to enrol observing the effects of internal weighting from historical data associated with ID and subjects.
This system is intended to operate during the next academic year and the agreement between the success of students who have followed the DSS recommendation and those who have freely chosen will be later analysed. Of course, all students are completely free for enrolment with the only restrictions of the University regulations in force.