The Internet is full of articles describing education in Europe. But most often they are superficial and give only a general idea. I decided to explore the educational process in Spain.
Of course, I cannot give any specific assessment of the quality of education or fully describe your own feelings just after a week at school. It takes months or even a couple of years. I have one semester at the Polytechnic University of Madrid on the Erasmus+ program.
In this article, I will talk about what immediately catches the eye when it enters a new environment with its own distinctive features. So to say, my first impression.
All subjects at the university are divided into two types: compulsory and elective. For some educational programs, however, there are additional restrictions. For example, I’ve met guys for whom this choice was made in the office of academic mobility. Others were allowed to determine for themselves what items to sign up for. It all depends on the type of scholarship.
Grant Erasmus + allows you to fully control the list of subjects for study, including mandatory ones. The main thing is to collect a certain amount of ECTS by the end of the semester. At the moment I have chosen six, but according to the regulations, within three weeks I can change the decision: add or remove something from the list. In the end, I get a schedule that is convenient in time and includes only interesting subjects for me.
Classes do not begin at eight, and not at ten in the morning, as is often the case in Russian universities, even in the magistracy. At the moment I come to study at 15 o’clock and I leave at 19. The schedule ideally coincides with the schedule of buses to the corps. This is important because the campus of Montegancedo, where the School of Information Technology (ETSIINF) is located, is located out the transport zone A.
On the one hand, training time is strictly limited to 4 hours. Two pieces of 2 hours each can fit into this section, or three subjects, two of which will be 60 minutes each. On the other hand, there is no break between classes so you can stay without an extra meal. I got caught on it the very first day. Now I grab fruits and snacks.
The biggest difference between Europe and Russia. While Russians are only on the way to the model of free learning with self-education at the head, in Spain this model is practiced with might and main. No one will force a student to learn except himself. Professors do not claim that their subject is the most important in the world. They will not look at the student with a sidelong glance if in the middle of the lecture he leaves the audience, whether by need or from lack of interest. It’s up to you.
The task of the lecturer is to interest. They get acquainted with students and memorize all the names, that is impossible in Russia, where they turn by surname. First of all, they are not intimidated by the fact that someone will not surrender but claim the opposite. Everything is simple here: observe a couple of simple conditions and you will pass the subject without any problems by the end of the semester.
The cherry on the cake – interactive lectures. I immediately buried the memories of the tedious speeches of our professors in the department, when I want to sleep 10 minutes after the start of the pair. Here you are involved in the process every minute, and feedback plays a fundamental role. For example, in one of the Interaction Design lessons, we discussed the secrets of iPod success and Spotify for 45 minutes. I note that the professor readily listens to everyone’s opinion, even if they are in some way repeated. Active discussion – the one that catches.
Forget about the standard format of the exam or test! Several times during my studies in Petersburg, I managed to do nothing during the semester and get good grades at the end. In Madrid, everything is different: the assessment is complex, based on various aspects. Work in the classroom, initiative, individual and group projects, homework in the forums of the online portal Moodle. Each aspect has its own “weight” in the final assessment. All this is called Continuous Assessment.
The rating scale is decimal. In order for the item to be credited, you need to score 5 points. If the student could not get the coveted half for the semester, he can pass the Final Exam, which also contributes to the final amount. There are also such subjects where there may not be a final exam at all, and you can earn half the points on a group project. Again, it all depends on the student.
What are the features of education in your country? Write in the comment section below!