INTRODUCING COMPETITION ON ENGINEERING PROJECT BASED EVALUATION AND TEACHING

R. Vilanova1, P. Ponsa2

1Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
2Technical University of Catalonia (SPAIN)
Following nowadays trend towards European convergence, with free circulation of citizens and recognition of University degrees within the E.C. (European Community) members, Engineering Schools are aiming at designing new curricula [1,2,3], to fit such challenge. So as to meet the challenge, new learning methodologies are approached as it is the case of PBL (Problem/Project- Based Learning) [3,4,5,6,7]. Since the development of PBL model by the University of McMaster in Canada in the late 60’s, many alternative approaches of the process have been presented [8]. In this communication we present the application of PBL as part of the evaluation on a last year subject within the Telecommunications Engineering degree at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB). In fact, students will already have to develop a final degree project, therefore we don ot concentrate here on such usual competences such are those based on group work and allowing students to play a role. Instead, here we state the project as an integrative way of putting into practice different knowledge the students have acquired during the theoretical part of the subject as well as in other subjects.

One of the main concerns into the development of any engineering project is that of the performance of the resulting engine. In fact, the engineer is supposed to deliver a product that provides a accomplishes the presumed task within certain levels of performance. Whatever the engine, there is always a way of constructing an index that measures the performance. The small is this index the better performs the system. On the other hand, to make the system work always implies certain cost. This cost can be interpreted in terms of energy consumption or, put in other words, how much should we pay in order to be satisfied with such level of performance.

What it is shown in this paper is the introduction of competition in the sense of providing the best cost/benefit ratio (quality- performance / cost) for the project at hand. The students will need to compete among them as part of the global evaluation will depend upon his position in the final classification regarding the obtained ratio.