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The paper focuses on educational projects developed in the ETSII (Escuela T\u00e9cnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales) of the Polytechnic University of Madrid during the past fewyears. These projects were developed as newtools for enhancingthe active role of students, for improvingpractical teaching, especially by means of virtual laboratories and different sets of problems and exercises, and for promoting self-learning. The paper analyses the use of ICT in teaching, with the case of a developed e-learningplatform as a trackingsystemfor subjects. The paper concludes by discussingthe new educational trends in theCentre, devotedto develop an active role of students byactivities such as peer mentoring and laboratory monitors programs, and competitions for achieving multidisciplinary engineeringchallenges.
Traditionally, SpanishUniversities have been immersed in an educational system mainlybased on master classes, where the teacher transmitted a lot of information to the students (G\u00f3mez- Senentet al. 2004). In that system, students are helped by seminars and laboratory practice, but they spend most of their time listening to lectures and taking notes. At the end of the semester, theyhave to pass the \ufb01nal examination.
According to pedagogical theories, as constructivism (Hansen 2004), problem-based learning(Serpil Acar 2004), and use of newtechnologies(Ciglaric andVidmar 1998, Maclaren 2004), to the requirements of new educative trends (Wankat and Oreovicz 1993, Mauniliv
(a student-centred credit system), and to the requirements for Quality approach, Spanish Universities have been acquiring newtools and newmethods for improving the educational system. At this time, in engineering education inSpain it is vital andnecessary to further and signi\ufb01cantlyreformthe structure andteachingstyle of the courses.
In this context, the most important aspect of education innovation at our Centre, theEscuela T\u00e9cnicaSuperior deIngenieros Industriales (ETSII) of theUniversidadPolit\u00e9cnica deMadrid (UPM), is increasingstudents\u2019 interest and makingthem more active learners.
With 3200 students and 310 professors, ETSII-UPMfocuses in a modern and dynamic manner on a passionate professional activity such as engineering for industry, with nine intensi\ufb01cations: automatic controls and electronic, electrical engineering, materials, indus- trial organization, industrial chemistry and environment, energy techniques, manufacturing, construction engineering, and mechanical engineering. In the last three years, other degrees and masters degrees such as chemical engineering, industrial organization engineering, and automatics and electronic engineering have also been offered.
Our Centre has supported several projects, in recent years, in order to apply information and communication technologies (ICT) to engineering education, as a help to make the learning process more effective and better-adapted to student needs. The general objectives of these projects were:
problems and exercise compilations, practical teachingbased on self-learning, practices based on the Internet (for example, systems for remote control of tools in a laboratory), and so on. There were also different projects forhorizontal service with the aim of serving to develop future newprojects, such as the organization of different subjects.
The varietyof matters andtopics coveredby these projects is in accordance with the gen- eralist and integrated studies that characterize theindustrial engineering grade in the Centre. With the aim of facilitating knowledge of the contents, most of these projects are brie\ufb02y summarized in table 1.
A set of animations (see \ufb01gure 1) in two and three dimensions for the understanding and analysis of questions and problems about kinematics.
Self-learning computer aided station for laboratory practice in Elasticity and Strength of Materials
Interactive Graphic Simulator for a Nuclear Power Plant for training and education purposes
Three numerical models have been developed, in order to illustrate three important topics of Nuclear Technology. Models are able to calculate the time evolution of key parameters.
A systemdesignedto assist students with their learning endeavours andwith their own training in the practical use andknowledge of induction motor speed andtorque control drives.
An interactive multimedia system(see \ufb01gure 3) developed for Robotics and Automation self-learning, with a theoretic and practical point of view in mind.
A single cylinder air cooled compressor which is driven by anAC motor mounted onto two ball bearings, with full instrumentation this unit enables a comprehensive study to be made of the
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