Methodologies for teaching an engineering subject in different countries: comparison and results
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SourceProceedings of INTED2015 Conference 2nd-4th March 2015, Madrid, Spain
Engineering or technical degrees are difficult to teach and, consequently, have always been characterized by a large number of academic failures. Therefore, continuous assessment has been applied to classes of similar content, related to Port and Coastal Engineering during these last years in three different Universities worldwide: University of La Republica (Montevideo, Uruguay), Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and Cadiz (Spain). This paper presents different methodologies used to teach and evaluate these courses at each University, together with the results of the evaluations of the students who were enrolled during the current and previous stages. Generally, a decrease in the number of students who abandon the classes has been noticed together with an increase in the percentage of students who pass and an improvement of their grades, except at the University Nova de Lisboa were the results have remained stable. In addition, changes experienced in the courses are discussed herein by comparing the percentage of success in the different locations. Moreover, influence of the different methodologies and the possible reasons for these changes are also presented and analysed. As a conclusion, the improvement in educational outcomes has been achieved through the concurrence of different factors: the existence of more frequent written and/or oral exams, practical examples of case studies as well as access to specific tools of new technology and to documentation specifically prepared for the classes and available online. Evidently, the above mentioned tasks require a strong commitment and great effort by the teaching staff. If human resources diminish, as it is happening in Spain and Portugal due to the budget reduction in education, two difficult questions arise: For how long will teachers’ current effort be maintained? What impact will have their complete devotion to teaching in their research performance?