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R. Vilanova1, P. Ponsa2

1Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
2Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (SPAIN)
The university is currently living a great amount of changes of conceptual and methodological nature, on the basis of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This new scenario promotes new learning and teaching methodologies with particular requirements. In a global sense it can be stated that a major consequence of this new approach is the increase on the amount of feedback required between the actors involved during the learning process (e.g. lecturer and students). In this article we present an experience where the organization of the lecture activities (teaching, evaluation, assessment, etc) are organized along a timeline that obeys to the purpose of increasing the feedback the student receives. Even it is well known that continuous evaluation may constitute a positive framework that can enhance student performance, it is shown here that if all the activities are designed as a whole the student’s self-feedback is increased and the final performance improved. As a particular case of this experience, the teaching of the Signals and Systems subject within the Computer Science Engineering degree is taken as a framework and improvements shown with data with respect to previous years.

The approach presented here is embedded within the Instructional Feedback paradigm, and realizes of the different players and the way they interact during the learning process. It may seem a quite obvious conceptual framework, however it is the authors opinion that it is a mistake; commonly encountered in the academic sector; not to take the time to stop and think about the way we are teaching and put into question implicit acts.

In this communication the idea of instructional feedback is reviewed and slightly reformulated highlighting the necessity and importance of another feedback loop that has to be closed on the student/learner side as well as providing the means for this. On the conventional instructional feedback model the feedback is received at the teacher/instructor side, whereas it is, on the author’s opinion, at the student side that has to be closed in order to be effective.

This approach has been tested on an Engineering degree when teaching Signals and Systems to Computer Science students. What is presented here is, after a revision of the instructional feedback model, how this model is modified and implemented. The method has been applied during two years and student performance is compared with previous years. This alternate proposal for the instructional feedback model constitutes, on the authors opinion, an alternative way of looking at continuous evaluation where the main goal is not just to asses the student/learner as he progresses along the syllabus but to provide means for self-learning and motivation on the topics where more attention is required.