About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1343-1352
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF AN ACTIVE LEARNING MODEL USED IN TEACHING "INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE" TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS

A. Varona, L.J. Rodriguez-Fuentes, R. Justo, M. Penagarikano, J.M. Alcaide

University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
The subject “Introduction to Computer Science” (ICS) is mandatory in the first course of the Degrees in Mathematics, Physics, Electronic Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Geology, at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of the Basque Country (EHU). Lectures, seminars and practice sessions take place in the autumn semester. The study presented in this paper is based on results and opinions gathered from students of Electronic Engineering, Mathematics and Physics, who share 70% of the subjects in the first course (Algebra, Calculus, Physics and ICS)
ICS aims to place students in the current context of computer science, to provide them a wide view of its possibilities and the basic knowledge and skills to make use of the computing resources for a number of interesting applications in each particular degree. The competences to be acquired in ICS can be summarized as follows:
1. Being able to design algorithmic solutions to problems of low-medium complexity in a programming language relevant to scientific computing
2. Having skills in numerical analysis and graphical interpretation of results
3. Being able to model simple physical problems in an autonomous way
4. Being able to communicate and present results using suitable computer tools
With the introduction of new curricula in 2010/2011 (under the European Space for Higher Education initiative), EHU wanted to drive a cooperative and dynamic teaching-learning model named IKD. IKD invites students to become architects of their own learning through active methodologies that enhance student autonomy, involving decision making, habit formation, collaborative work, the development of thinking skills, etc.
The IKD model was implemented for ICS. Among the active methodologies found in the literature, that known as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) was considered the most suitable taking into account the profile of students enrolled to ICS. The problems were chosen from the common core subjects of Mathematics and Physics studied during the same course. The Moodle platform provided the necessary tools to upload/download slides, communicate, making tests, etc.
Students were divided into two groups for lectures (one-third of the classroom activities), each using one the two official languages in the Basque Country: Spanish and Basque. In spite of this division, groups were still too crowded: 97 students for Spanish and 131 students for Basque. Thus, the traditional education based on taking lecture notes had to be applied. In contrast, seminars and (computer programming) practice sessions (two thirds of the classroom activities, 25% for seminars and 75% for practices), were organized so that students from different degrees were not mixed and the IKD model could be applied. For these activities, three Spanish groups (one per grade) and five Basque groups were defined.
In this paper, we first describe the activities specifically designed to make students have an active role in their learning. Based on the academic results obtained in the first term of 2010/2011 and the opinions gathered among students, we discuss how ICS should be learned/taught to get better academic results and whether it should learned/taught in different ways depending on the degree the student is enrolled to. Finally, we suggest specific ways of improving our current implementation of the IKD model for the foregoing course, towards a more flexible (customizable) profile and evaluation tasks.
@InProceedings{VARONA2011STR,
author = {Varona, A. and Rodriguez-Fuentes, L.J. and Justo, R. and Penagarikano, M. and Alcaide, J.M.},
title = {STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF AN ACTIVE LEARNING MODEL USED IN TEACHING "INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE" TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1343-1352}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Varona AU - L.J. Rodriguez-Fuentes AU - R. Justo AU - M. Penagarikano AU - J.M. Alcaide
TI - STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF AN ACTIVE LEARNING MODEL USED IN TEACHING "INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE" TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 1343
EP - 1352
ER -
A. Varona, L.J. Rodriguez-Fuentes, R. Justo, M. Penagarikano, J.M. Alcaide (2011) STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF AN ACTIVE LEARNING MODEL USED IN TEACHING "INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE" TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 1343-1352.
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