About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 2136 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY II

F. Zorrilla

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
Mexican Higher Education (MHE) institutions face a major problem regarding the type of preparation students have when they enter high education. Students from the Mexican Upper Secondary Education System (MUSE) have low and mediocre performance in reading, writing, Mathematics and Science as different kinds of indicators show, including PISA 2009. These problems are widely acknowledged. In the last two years Mexico has enacted two major constitutional amendments. The first of these amendments increased compulsory education to include Upper Secondary Education (USE) and the second seeks to correct serious structural problems regarding the organization of the educational system, evaluation of teachers and its impact on equity and quality.

Despite these changes and a reform dating from 2008 that adopted a competences approach for MUSE, teaching and learning at the school level remain traditionally geared towards memorizing abstract knowledge, definitions, procedures and algorithms. The inability of students to deal with the required academic literacy standards for Higher Education 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, as a previous one presented at ICERI in November 2012, 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 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. Unlike the previous paper, this one deals with the progress already made as a result of the advances in two of the courses of action proposed by the survey.

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 11 interviews in depth with a focus group of the highest ranking at the University.

The actual courses of action taken so far are: i) Gradually incorporating the general competencies as part of graduation profiles in all first degree programs by means of a project geared to support university lecturers interested in developing individual proposals for their own courses. ii) Organizing two commissions in charge of designing two proposals for a definition of three key competences: reading and writing, mathematics and problem resolution. The results of these two initiatives has been very encouraging and fuller data can be provided by the end of May 2013.
@InProceedings{ZORRILLA2013PRE,
author = {Zorrilla, F.},
title = {PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY II},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2136}}
TY - CONF
AU - F. Zorrilla
TI - PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY II
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 2136
EP - 2136
ER -
F. Zorrilla (2013) PREPARING A NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY II, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, p. 2136.
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