Using Problem-Based Learning to help Portuguese students make the Bologna transition
The Bologna Declaration has opened a stage of big and deep changes in the internal university organization, external cooperation, teaching models and methods, among other., all over the European countries. Here we will present and discuss a pilot experience conducted at the Engineering Department of the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal, during the second year of that transition period. In brief, we will present a set of non-mandatory courses proposed to the students of each individual syllabus, with one hundred hours duration, each, approximately seven hours/week, fifteen weeks long, with the permanent help of a specialized trainer to aid the students in their "homework". The formal bureaucratic transition is also presented. Design and implementation issues, supported on problem-based learning and experimental lab learning classes, final assessment results, as well as the opinion of the students, are presented and analyzed. We believe that this methodology helped to make the transition smoother to the students, but also to the teaching staff.
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