MITIGATING THE EFFECT OF EDUCATIONAL SHORTCOMINGS IN THE FIELD OF GRAPHICAL EXPRESSION BY A SELF-GUIDED COURSE: A PILOT EXPERIENCE IN HIGHER ENGINEERING STUDIES
All the subjects of Graphical Expression taught during the first courses in the different specialties of Engineering at the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT) have in common their eminently applied character, as well as pursuing the fundamental objective of not only teaching but also making the students understand the so called "graphical language".
The use of this language is of vital importance for both a better understanding of other subjects in later courses and the subsequent exercise of the profession of Engineer. However, many of the students of the first courses of Engineering begin their studies without knowing the basic notions of Graphic Expression.
In fact, there is a significant percentage of first year students in all UPCT degrees who have not taken Technical Drawing in Baccalaureate, or who have done so only during the first year, which severely hampers their learning. These students often use explanatory videos available on the Internet to try to fill their learning gaps, but this of way learning is often slow, unstructured and generally inefficient, needing an investment of lots of hours to achieve acceptable results.
This article describes an experience of teaching innovation carried out during the 2019-2020 academic year in the subject of Graphical Expression for all the degrees attached to the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineering (ETSII) of the UPCT. The experience consisted in the creation of a self-guided COURSE "0" that collected the main concepts on which the subjects of Graphical Expression of the different degrees of UPCT are based, to try to compensate for this lack of fundamental knowledge and to make learning as autonomous and efficient as possible.
Enrollment in the course was voluntary, and the end of the quarter was set as the deadline for completion. To host the course, a space was created for this purpose in the UPCT Virtual Classroom, and a training program was established based in the use of .PDF files with short explanatory videos (less than 2 minutes) embedded, activated by "clicking" on the image. A second identical version of the Course was also generated with linked videos hosted on the UPCT multimedia content server, for those users with compatibility problems.
Students passed a knowledge test before and after completing the course and were given the option of conducting a voluntary assessment survey. There was an average increase of 4.64 out of 10 in the final basic knowledge test score. Similarly, the final assessment survey showed that 54.5% of students considered that the course had helped them "A lot" or "Much" to understand the subject, and only 9.1% said that it had helped them "Little" or "Nothing". Similarly, 90.9% of the students felt that the course had helped them "A lot" or "Much" to study more easily and efficiently, also indicating 90.9% that they would recommend "A lot" or "Much" the completion of the course.
In view of the positive results, it is concluded that this self-guided Course "0" is a useful tool to improve the basic knowledge of the subject and gives the student more freedom to study or review it.