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The Teaching-Learning Process Paradox of Earth Sciences Engineering Education
The major paradox in teaching Earth Sciences Engineering lies in the inconsistency between traditional teaching-evaluation methods, and the true methodologies applied in Engineering as a professional activity.
Conventional systems are based on unidirectional information-transfer processes between the professor and the student. Moreover, the main instrument used to measure the learning process is based on inflexible tests, where students have to give individually a solution to an idealized academic issue without the analysis of available information, field observations, no computational tools, and no team feedback. The examination relies on memory skills and the reasoning capacity of the student who needs to demonstrate his proficiency in a short period of time.
Our Research Group promotes a methodology that focuses on developing professional skills necessary to solve real life problems. In this sense, true engineering projects have been adapted into academic challenges such as calculating water budgets, determine aquifer vulnerability, or locate abstraction sites in coastal aquifers, in which students are able to integrate available information, work in groups, use computational tools, and even analyze economical and logistical issues, in order to provide an optimal solution, from the quantitative point of view, which is closer to the practice of their future professional activity.
This methodology has been implemented in applied geological topics and advanced groundwater courses with successful results.
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