About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3363-3367
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain

PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY

J. Zorrilla

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
Mexican Higher Education (MHE) institutions face a major problem regarding the type of education students have when they receive them from the Mexican Upper Secondary Education System (MUSES). Students graduating from MUSES have low and mediocre performance in reading, writing, Mathematics and Science as different kinds of indicators show, including PISA 2009 ( OECD, 2009, PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do). Despite recent reforms in MUSES its teaching and learning at the school level remain traditionally geared towards memorizing abstract knowledge, definitions, procedures and algorithms. Essay writing and applying abstract knowledge to specific situations and problems has not been fully integrated yet in MUSES curricula. MHE institutions have tried to deal with this situation supplying general writing courses. These courses have failed to bring about the expected results. The inability of students to deal with the required academic literacy standards manifests itself in low graduation rates and longer periods to graduate than the four to five years set in most first degree programs.
This paper deals with a project geared towards designing a proposal for gradually changing the learning environment in a Mexican University. This public university is one of the major institutions of its kind in the country, created in the mid seventies in Mexico City. After 38 years it still faces a major challenge in terms of assuring, as it was mandated to do in its founding charter (ley orgánica) that all graduates of its first degree programs possess three main competencies: written and oral literacy, application of formal languages to professional work and use of content knowledge for problem solving. This institutional goal is widely accepted as being of the utmost importance for the institution. However, curricula remains firmly anchored to professional standards indifferent to these general competencies.
The project undertook a survey of all university departments in order to inquire about what is being done to promote these competencies, how is proficiency identified and evaluated and what should and could be done to strengthen the means of pursuing these goals. Additionally it carried 12 interviews in depth with a focus group of the highest ranking at the University.
Three main courses of action appeared: i) Gradually incorporating the general competencies as part of graduation profiles in all first degree programs, ii) incorporating into some graduate programs courses and research projects on pedagogical content knowledge, iii) creating a new university department in charge of assessing all departments undertaking curriculum reform; create a university program for assessing student progress in the achievement of the general competencies.
A report was produced with these findings and recommendations to the University authorities. It is expected that policy will be issued soon on this matter, hopefully before the conference takes place in November.
@InProceedings{ZORRILLA2012PRE,
author = {Zorrilla, J.},
title = {PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY},
series = {5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-0763-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {19-21 November, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {3363-3367}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Zorrilla
TI - PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY
SN - 978-84-616-0763-1/2340-1095
PY - 2012
Y1 - 19-21 November, 2012
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2012 Proceedings
SP - 3363
EP - 3367
ER -
J. Zorrilla (2012) PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY, ICERI2012 Proceedings, pp. 3363-3367.
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