Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
See Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - case study for Universidad Politécnica de Madrid case study.
The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) (Technical University of Madrid) is a public Spanish university, located in Madrid in Spain, with over 35,000 students. It was founded in 1971 as the result of merging the different Technical Schools of Engineering.
UPM's Schools are spread all over Madrid, instead of being placed in a unified campus. Some of them are:
- University City
- Campus of Montegancedo
- South Campus (Vallecas's Politechnical Complex)
- Downtown Campus (Schools inside Madrid's historical centre)
UPM is a member of EuroPACE. It also has affiliations to: CRUE,CRUMA, CESAER, IAU, SEFI, TIME, EUA, EAIE.
Its web site is at http://www.upm.es.
For a case study see Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - case study.
The material below will shortly be removed.
- 1 Institution
- 2 External environment
- 3 Strategy
- 4 Structure
- 5 Learning and Teaching processes
- 6 Meta Learning and Teaching processes
- 7 Staff
- 8 Students
- 9 Technology
- 10 Futures
- 11 References and reports
- 12 A note on degrees
- 13 e-learning at UPM
- 14 VLE
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
The UPM is a public university located in the capital of Spain. The majority of its centres were founded in the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of them maintained its independence until being grouped together to form the UPM in 1971. Being a public university, UPM operates on a non-profit basis and is integrated in the Spanish higher education system. Over 35.000 students attend classes during the year. The Technical University of Madrid (UPM – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) firmly intend to be a university with a strong international outlook. They promote student exchanges at all levels of study, in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, for several years. They started experimenting with distance education through new educatinal technologies already in the beginning of the 90ies. With the organisation of an international summer school in the frame of the The RACE project BRAIN. The ICT based learning is centrally supported by GATE (Gabinete de Tele-Educación), a department attached to the Vice Presidency of New Technologies and Web Based Services (Vicerrectoradoe Nuevas Tecnologías y Servicios en Red. Data for year 2004/2005 shows that the number of online-courses offered were 250 and that the total number of enrolments were 6,000, i.e. average enrolments per course 24.
The Open University of UPM CEPADE - Centro de Estudios de Postgrado de Administración de Empresas – (Centre of postgraduate studies of company management) was founded in 1971 to cover an increasing demand of knowledge in the field of company management. CEPADE belongs administratively to FGUPM (Fundación General de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, a foundation created with the aim to promote science, culture and education within the general objectives of the UPM) but is academically integrated in the UPM. As a result, all CEPADE degrees are in fact postgraduate degrees by the UPM. According to the figures, CEPADE is a megaprovider of e-learning. CEPADE has been working with First Class. The new academic year 2006/07 they change to Moodle.
* What is the institution's annual budget?
- How many staff does the institution have (a) in total? (b) as full-time equivalents?
The Royal Mathematics Academy in Madrid, founded by Philip II and which was in operation from 1582 to 1634, is one of the first examples of technological studies in Spain. After this, the creation of the Army Engineering Corps created by Philip V in 1711, which organised Engineering around a common structure, marked its definitive outset.
Between then and now, some of the most prestigious polytechnic education centres have been created in our country. Architecture was one of the pioneering areas, together with Naval Engineering (originating in the Marine Engineering Corps), Mining (with civil status since its creation) or Mountain Engineering. Some of the youngest centres are the Faculty of Information Technology, the Higher Technical School of Aeronautical Engineering, and the Higher Technical School of Telecommunications Engineering. In 1971, with most of the school already in operation, the current Polytechnic University of Madrid was formed.
In early 2008, the University had nine Engineering Schools, a University School of Technical Architecture, a University School of Information Technology, a Higher Technical School of Architecture, 6 University Schools of Technical Engineering, an Information Technology Faculty, a Sports Science Faculty, Polytechnic School of Higher Education and an Institute of Educational Science (ICE). There are also a number of associated centres: the CEU Higher Educational School of Architecture, the Higher Educational School of Fashion Design of Madrid, and the Higher Educational School of Brewing and Maltings.
- What is the institution's funding from government as a percentage of annual income?
Not known yet
- Describe the way that funding is provided for institutions in the institution's country, or state that it is the same as for other institutions in the country.
- Describe the legal status of the institution.
- List the language(s) that the institution uses for instruction with the percentage of students studying in each. (Bilingual study can also be included.)
Everything is in Spanish but The Polytechnic University of Madrid organised Spanish courses online for students on exchange programmes through its Internationalisation Language Programme.
- Describe any specific cultural issues that affect the institution's students or state that that it is the same as for other institutions in the country. Mention any features relevant to e-learning.
- Describe the external quality assurance and/or accreditation regime affecting the institution, or state that it is the same as for other institutions in the country. Mention any features relevant to e-learning.
Most curriculums of the UPM have been updated, which means that each subject has a number of credits (one credit is equivalent to 10 hours of study or class time, either theory or practical). Some curriculums have not been updated, which means that the subjects do not have credits assigned to them. The Spanish grades system is a decimal system from 0 to 10. These grades are accompanied on the student record by a non-numerical grade. To pass a subject it is necessary to obtain a grade of at least 5. Most subjects have a final written or oral exam which must be passed in order to pass the subject. If students do not pass the end of semester exam, they will have the opportunity to re-sit the exam during the September exams.
- 0 - 4.9: Suspenso – SS (Fail)
- 5.0 - 6.9: Aprobado – AP (Pass)
- 7.0 - 8.9: Notable – NT (Very good)
- 9.0 - 10: Sobresaliente – SB (Excellent)
- EUROPEAN CREDITS (ECTS)
The European Credits Transfer System is the standard of measure to which current studies at Spanish universities must be adapted by 2010. The ECTS is a measure of the total time required to pass a subject, consisting of theory classes, practicals, study, assignments and so on.
The ECTS states that the total workload for a full time student to complete during one academic year is 60 credits, which means that a semester is equivalent to 30 credits and a term is equivalent to 20 credits. As a guideline, taking academic activity to be approximately 40 weeks a year with a workload of around 40 hours a week, a European credit is established as a workload of between 25 and 30 hours (1500 - 1800 hours of student work per year).
The minimum number of hours per credit is 25 and the maximum is 30.
Enquire at the Centre where you wish to study whether they have the ECTS curriculum.
For further information see: www.upm.es/laupm/servicios/bibliotecas/ceyde/index_educacion - this has full information on the European Credits Transfer System. Some courses have already had their curriculums adapted to the ECTS. You will need to check the curriculum for each course.
- Describe the approach to credit transfer with other similar institutions.
- List the main associations that the institution is a member of, with a note as to the relevance of each to e-learning (if any).
CRU: Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas – CRUE The Conference of Rectors of the Spanish Universities (CRUE Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas), created in 1994, is a non profit organisation composed of Spanish public and private universities. The objective of CRUE is to be an easy and effective channel representing Spanish universities to facilitate the mutual co-operation with other European Rector´s Conferences.
(Do not include annual plans.)
- Describe or provide a document describing the current institutional strategy.
- Describe or provide a document describing the current learning and teaching strategy.
- Describe or provide a document describing the current e-learning strategy.
Do not include or refer to annual plans except as necessary to provide budgetary information.
- What is the percentage of students (a) taking courses wholly or largely delivered by e-learning (b) taking courses where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is "significant" (i.e. has an impact on staff or students) and (c) taking courses where the where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is insignificant? In each case comment on the answer.
- Give the percentage of the institutional budget that e-learning represents. Comment on how it is measured including the assumptions made, whether it is appropriate and any trends.
- Categorise the role (if any) of external funding in fostering the development of e-learning as (a) not relevant, (b) useful, or (c) essential. Comment on the choice.
- Describe the institutional structure, preferably supplying an organogram.
- Classify the e-learning support model as (a) hub (b) distributed (c) hub and spokes (d) complicated (e) non-existent. Comment on the choice.
- Describe in more detail the structure for the e-learning operation and how it maps into the institutional structure.
- Describe the committees that oversee e-learning (including the rank and role of the Chair in each relevant committee) and their relationship to the organisational structure.
Learning and Teaching processes
This has a focus on learning and teaching with other aspects viewed from this perspective.
Learning and teaching design and delivery
- Describe how choice of pedagogies and technologies is made for a typical programme that is envisaged to include significant e-learning.
- Describe what scope staff have at delivery stage to refine or in some cases override design decisions made earlier.
The courses offered in the UPM context belong to the field of higher education and continuing training. Nearly all subjects offered through the GATE are related to engineering and architecture. These very technical fields are certainly “onlineable” but sometimes require the development of special tools and applications that are used in the virtual laboratory. In addition to these technical challenges there are other difficulties that are more closely related to online teaching and learning itself: The GATE’s courses are largely based on asynchronous communication and characterized by an intensive use of virtual communication and collaboration tools, such as forums, WIKIS etc. It is sometimes difficult to find topics or problems that are open enough to be discussed and debated on. The very technical character of the subjects generates declarative and conceptual knowledge that is very little susceptible to debating and negotiating. However, the course design takes this difficulty into account and offers many complex learning activities like case studies and problem based learning in order to make a collaborative approach easier to be carried out. The intensive use of communication tools in online learning is considered a key factor for success. Communication and collaboration creates a group consciousness and supports a meaningful and efficient learning process. The UPM doesn’t understand e-learning as a form of ICT-based content provision. Not only the academic aspects of online activity are taken into account, but also the social perspective of togetherness in virtual environments, which can be an important and even decisive basis for a good teaching and learning performance. However, there is no flexible start-up and progression. A determined and structured time organization is considered a valuable help for the students in their task of managing their online learning experience.
Learning and teaching development
This includes materials and IPR.
- How much e-learning content is sourced from outside the institution? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful).
- Of all e-learning content sourced from outside the institution, what fraction is OER? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment.
- When staff in the institution develop content, is the content (a) owned by them and licensed to the institution, (b) owned by the institution but with some licensing back to staff, (c) owned by the institution but with no licensing back to staff, (d) unclear or disputed IPR position? Whatever option is chosen, provide a narrative describing the situation in more detail.
- When content is sourced for a programme within the institution, how much is sourced from other departments within the institution? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful).
- What is the role of student-generated content in the institution's programmes? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment.
Learning and teaching evaluation and quality
- Describe the quality procedures (a) in general terms and (b) with respect to e-learning.
- Describe the approach to evaluation of programmes (a) in general terms and (b) where such programmes have significant e-learning components.
A very important factor that characterizes the development of e-learning programmes by the GATE is evaluation which has been a key instrument in the implementation and application process of e-learning projects and courses since the beginning of the cabinet’s activity. The teaching materials and particularly the teaching processes are evaluated continuously with the help of questionnaires for teachers and students and employing observers that follow the course activities and check the resources, the contents and the learning activities “in situ”. Obviously the learning process of each student is also subject to evaluation. The results of these evaluation routines are summarized in a report at the end of the term and handed out to the teachers so that they can work on it as a basis document that indicates possible needs of improvement. The evaluation activity as a whole has generated and is based on a book of good practice. In addition to the evaluation processes, GATE runs a technological observatory that carries out research on pedagogical and technical issues in the e-learning context. The observatory is an important instrument to keep the institution up to date. One interesting example is the evaluation of a large number of e-learning platforms undertaken by the GATE and the Department of Electronic systems and Control (SEC). The project’s results played a substantial role in the decision of choosing MOODLE as the university’s VLE.
Meta Learning and Teaching processes
- Describe how the institution communicates good practice in e-learning within itself, focussing on communications across internal boundaries.
- Describe how the institution communicates its good practice in e-learning to organisations outside.
- Describe how the institution communicates good practice in e-learning from outside organisations into its own organisation.
- Describe recent occasions on which institutional leaders or managers have made presentations with significant reference to e-learning.
Value for money
- Describe the annual planning procedure (a) in general and (b) how it handles e-learning aspects.
- Describe the decision-making process for a typical academic programme, with particular reference to how e-learning aspects are handled.
- Describe the decision-making process for a typical large IT project such as selection and installation of a new VLE.
- Describe the approach to budget management with particular reference to the staff versus non-staff issues in budgeting for e-learning.
- Describe the procedures in the institution for assigning or negotiating teaching workload to/with staff, taking account of non-traditional styles of teaching as well as classroom teaching and taking specific account of e-learning.
As a public university the UPM has to be considered a service that is not subject to economic parameters. However, the cost-effectiveness in the area of continuing training is certainly satisfactory although the income is neither stable nor predictable due to the fluctuation of the number of registered students. The institution keeps a high degree of flexibility on the technical side in order to guarantee an ongoing validity of the created courses and resources. This is mainly undertaken by following the main standards that operate in the field of e-learning. Flexible employment is necessary in a field that does not allow exact prediction on volume and needs. The GATE keeps a flexible pool of part-time employees that can be activated according to the upcoming needs. Some of these needs are covered by trainees. Currently the “Gabinete de Tele-Educación” has 20 people employed, 11 of which have regular work contracts.
Teachers, lecturers, trainers and equivalent support roles
- Describe the approach to development of e-learning technical and pedagogic skills among staff, taking account of the different needs of different categories of staff. Set this within the context of staff development generally.
- Describe (a) the current level of staff competence in e-learning and (b) the expected level of staff competence in five years time. In each case use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Describe the extent to which staff attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Describe the way that the institution rewards and recognises staff with competence in e-learning, in (a) monetary and (b) non-monetary terms.
Management and leadership
This subsection concerns leaders (Rectors, Vice-Chancellors, etc) and academic and support service managers (Deans, Directors, etc). These do not need to have specific knowledge of e-learning details but must have the necessary strategic, management, costing and foresight capability to preside over decisions on key e-learning issues such as procurement of a new VLE, development of a new distance learning programme, rebalancing the library and its staff more towards web 2.0 and less to books, etc. This will require appropriate manager and leader training.
- Describe the approach to development of e-learning-related skills among (a) managers and (b) leaders.
- Describe the current level of (a) management and (b) leadership competence in e-learning related skills appropriate to their levels. In each case use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Describe the extent to which (a) management and (b) leadership attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Give details of the job description of the most senior manager/leader in the organisation who spends a significant portion of his/her time on e-learning matters (e.g. the Director of E-Learning).
The unconditional support of the presidency of the university has certainly been decisive when it came to providing means, approve initiatives, create spaces and canalize projects towards the GATE. Thanks to the mediated bottom-up approach followed by the institution where the first initiative rests with the individual employee but which at the same time provides effective guidance, the attitude of the staff has changed from an initial scepticism to a considerable amount of interest and proactive approaches. Apart from the increased familiarity and even expertise with e-learning and its related issues, the reformation of the university’s study plans according to the Bologna process has certainly contributed to a higher degree of consciousness and acceptance of online approaches as valid tools to achieve the necessary changes in the system. The considerable increase of the workload by taking responsibility in an online course is a key issue that is addressed already at the design stage of the courses. The intention is to limit the teacher’s active role without jeopardizing the communicative approach. Every teacher that is interested in designing an online course receives an 80 hour training package in order to help him to take correct decisions and prevent him from designing learning experiences that might not be feasible due to the big amount of work they would generate. In the whole process of implementation and application of e-learning, quality is considered a key factor for success. GATE has a whole unit dedicated exclusively to quality. The aim is to achieve a progressive improvement of all aspects of e-learning through constant evaluation before, during and after the process or experience. There are mechanisms and institutions for internal and external evaluation. The effectiveness of the administrative routines can be described as satisfactory. As a key factor stands the fact that the routines and tools have been developed by the institution itself which certainly guarantees a high degree of adjustment to particular needs and requirements. The collaboration with other educational institutions is frequent, fluid and certainly positive under the aspect of mutual enrichment. Collaboration, benchmarking, exchange of ideas, sharing training, courses and experiences (for example with universities in Latin America) has clearly contributed to success. Being a public university, the credibility of the UPM with the government and the public administration is total.
- Describe the approach to development of e-learning skills among students, taking account of the different needs of different categories of students. Set this within the context of students' more general information literacy and communication skills.
- Describe (a) the current level of student competence in e-learning on entry to the institution and (b) the expected level of student competence on graduation from the institution. In each case use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Describe the extent to which student attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
- Describe the extent to which students understand the demands on them placed by e-learning systems (e.g. for assignment handling).
- Describe the current approach to handling student plagiarism, both prevention strategies and detection strategies.
- Describe the current (i.e. at last survey) level of student satisfaction with the e-learning aspects of their courses. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.
The e-learning courses at UPM are always based on widely used technology in order to make sure that every student can access and run the courses without any special skills or additional hardware or software. The only thing necessary to be able to follow a UPM online course is a computer with a standard configuration and an Internet connection. This form of accessibility is considered a key issue for success because it makes the institution’s courses broadly available. All e-learning activity that happens in and around GATE is based on MOODLE as the institutional VLE running in the institution. Although it is true that there are some own developments in the field of learning management systems within the university as a whole, like AulaWeb and ARFO, in the specific context of the distance learning cabinet it is certainly an advantage not having to deal with several different systems and the need to integrate them under a common purpose. The GATE decided to use MOODLE, because it is a very comprehensive platform regarding the numerous resources it offers and after having analyzed the results of the mentioned evaluation of e-learning platforms. It was considered important not to depend on the services of a commercial provider and to be able to introduce as many changes as necessary in the original configuration or code of the application in order to adapt it to the institution’s needs and requirements. Another factor worth to mention is to see that there is an important academic community that uses and improves MOODLE constantly. The administrative system, and here we’re mainly talking about enrolments and registrations, runs with ORACLE. The integration of both systems, MOODLE and ORACLE, is not always easy and it was necessary to develop intermediate applications in order to ensure a correct communication between the two systems. Another complicated point is the certification process, particularly in continuing training courses.
The VLE of CEPADE is integrated with a lot of new technologies like YouTube, RSS, http://www.cepade.es/
- Describe the expected changes as they relate to e-learning within the institution's current strategic horizon (from the institution's strategy documents).
- Describe any changes further downstream that the institution is now considering or concerned about.
- Describe how the institution handles the foresight aspects of its operation with regard to e-learning.
- Describe how the institution handles advanced development oriented to e-learning (e.g. by a "sandbox" lab, innovation centre, etc).
- Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account present and future markets for its offerings.
- Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account present and future competitor suppliers for its offerings.
- Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account the views of other stakeholders, including but not restricted to employers, local authorities and the social partners (unions).
References and reports
See the papers:
- This institution/programme was discussed as a case study in the Megatrends project in its second report, Megaproviders of e-learning in Europe (PDF - 212 pages - EN), 2007 (ISBN 978 82 562 88184). UPM Interview itself: http://nettskolen.nki.no/in_english/megatrends/UPM_Interview.pdf
- SPREAD OF AN E-LEARNING SYSTEM IN A POLYTECHNICAL UNIVERSITY by Ángel García-Beltrán and Raquel Martínez
- USER INTERFACE AND FEATURES OF AULAWEB E-LEARNING SYSTEM by A. LÓPEZ, J. C. PÉREZ, C. ZOIDO, P. AVENDAÑO, T. HERNÁNDEZ, E. VILLALAR, J.A. MARTÍN, J.A. CRIADO, R. MARTÍNEZ AND A. GARCÍA-BELTRÁN
For more general material see http://upgrade-cepis.org/issues/2003/5/upgrade-vIV-5.pdf
A note on degrees
Is this consistent with Bologna?
In Spain there are two levels of technical studies. For engineering studies there is a 3-year degree called Ingeniero Técnico (Technical Engineer) and 5/6-year degree called Ingeniero (Engineer). In the case of architecture studies there is a 3-year degree called Arquitecto Técnico (Technical Architect) and a 5/6-year degree called Arquitecto (Architect). Those degrees will disappear due to the Bologna process and the new structure, at least for engineering studies, will most likely feature 4-year degrees with master's degrees on top. The current situation of 5/6-year engineering studies follows the widespread tradition of technical universities in Continental Europe, that award their students an Engineer's degree.
See Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - case study for Universidad Politécnica de Madrid case study.
e-learning at UPM
UPM runs Moodle.