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Motivating and metacognition for engineering students


Sociology International Journal
Alice Elizabeth González, Lady Carolina Ramírez

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Abstract

This article presents an experience on motivation and metacognition in civil engineering students who participate in the subjects ‘Elements of Environmental Engineering’ and ‘Workshop d Module on Environmental Engineering Extension’ (ModEx). ‘Elements of Environmental Engineering’ is a course for all Civil Engineering students of all professional profiles. Initially, the elaboration of a guided monograph on some topic of the national reality proposed by the students themselves was required for passing. The monograph and the oral final were performed in groups. However, the growth in university enrollment meant that the ability to guide the monographs was exceeded and the subject began to be exonerated based on the result of two partial written exams. The Faculty decided to support the continuation of the monographic and that allowed a new optional subject to emerge: ModEx. ModEx addresses real problems that challenge both students and teachers. To guarantee a comprehensive training process, the student must have direct contact with social reality, which is an opportunity to ask questions that are not defined a priori in the traditional teaching process. In these subjects, giving students the role of protagonists in the development of the subject, proposing them to face real situations, working together with teachers and other classmates, are mandatory. The parenthesis of the pandemic implied the need to make an additional effort in both subjects to adapt to virtuality, without losing the special value of addressing issues that are not comprehensively addressed in current undergraduate studies and experiential contact with reality. But the challenge continues: the return to face-to-face courses finds us with courses specially redesigned with pre-pandemic students in mind, but current students are different. They show little interest in conventional face-to-face activities, but they are very interested on practical work, such as ModEx. In the design of new proposals for today’s students, the holistic approach to problems nor the rigorous environmental engineering sight should not be lost.

Keywords

motivation, cognition, metacognition, University extension, engineering training, teaching for understanding, Uruguay

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