OUTCOMES OF DIGITAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT ACTIVE LEARNING IN ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING COURSES AT UNIVERSITY
Miguel Hernández University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:In the recent days, undergraduate courses on electronics have experienced an incipient growth due to the significant advances in new technologies and the associated demands of industry.
Traditional methodologies have mainly focused on revising theoretical concepts about the fundamental laws of electronics, generally tackled from a physical point of view. To our knowledge this former approach has evidenced numerous lacks and difficulties amongst students to acquire practical skills, which are crucial for future engineers.
In this context, our main goal is to come up with an innovative intervention which promotes an active and autonomous learning by renewing the outdated traditional methodology at the expense of introducing several digital resources, namely in many frameworks Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) resources.
As per our last research works in this field, we have already validated and tested the goodness of several approaches such as fusing the use of online simulation during the face to face lecture, or the use of portable labs to support theoretical lessons since they permit implementing and measuring real circuits so that a straightforward transfer between theory and practical operation of a circuit is conducted.
Considering the previous idea for the method, the course has been designed to facilitate students with extra resources that aid in the development of their practical skills, but also in their own active learning. This learning program took place during the second semester of the academic year 2020-2021 at the technical faculty of the Miguel Hernandez University, Spain. The participants comprised more than 300 students, enrolled in a same course on basic electronics that is taught simultaneously in three different engineering degrees. In order to extract statistically robust results, we conducted the research by group testing, arranging students in a control group (approximately 50%) and in a test group (the other 50%). The first group followed the former methodology whereas the test group agreed to work through an online platform in which lecturers hosted a compendium of different digital resources for them to elaborate a final assignment. Such platform was developed with Google Colab (Jupyter Notebook) as a dynamic website. The ICT resources consisted of: interactive exercises, simulation exercises in different platforms (Tinkercad and Falstad), support videos in the Youtube channel of the course, support e-books in the electronic library of the University and a set of registers to upload the measurement files acquired with the portable labs in the lecture room.
As a result, we have assessed the benefits and drawbacks of this proposal in several manners. Possibly, the most straightforward one is represented by the final achievement of students in terms of grades. These results are highly satisfactory since the test group clearly outperforms the control group. Furthermore, we have collected a survey with the students’ perception about this program, with again, positive feedback. Finally, we have compared the results of both groups, not only in terms of individual and average performance, but also in terms of dropout and pass ratios. In this manner, we come up with results on the real significance of some resources for the final benefits towards the active learning, in detriment to the traditional methodology of face-to-face master class.
Keywords: Electronics, engineering, ICT resources.