Focused on raising the quality of the education given to its students, Tecnológico de Monterrey experienced a historical watershed on the 12th of August, 2019, with new syllabuses that incorporate all the elements of the TEC21 Model.
In 2013, the Tec opted for an extreme transformation: the design of a new teaching model for the changing world of the twenty-first century.
“As we’ve already mentioned, the challenges of the world require us to educate our graduates to work in companies that have yet to be created, use technologies that have yet to be invented, and solve problems that perhaps have yet to be identified”, commented Tec Rector David Garza to CONECTA.
The Tec21 Model changes the traditional teaching model and gives way to an educational approach focused on challenge-based learning.
“Everything we’ve done in recent years, like the challenging activities in iWeek and iSemester, are showing very good results. We aren’t improvising. We’ve worked extremely hard on this model,” noted Román Martínez, the Tec’s Vice Rector for Educational Transformation.
This coming August, 2019, new syllabuses come into effect, whose curriculum design encourages students to acquire skills and competencies that will last a lifetime.
This educational model comes to life with four components: challenge-based learning; flexibility as to how, when and where learning takes place; the company of inspiring teachers and a memorable university experience.
To paraphrase Tec President Salvador Alva, this kind of education model seeks to turn young people into transforming leaders who create an impact on our country and the world.
“Seven years ago, we said that we wanted to attract the best talents to the Tec (...). We knew that if we were to attract them and help them achieve their dreams, our educational methods would have to evolve so as to be able to face the challenges not just of today, but of tomorrow,” he said.
The Tec21 Model is vested in experience-based learning through which students are exposed to real-life situations where they apply and develop their knowledge, skills and competencies.
One example of how the Tec has implemented this type of learning since 2016 is the project work done in iSemester where students experienced challenge-based instead of traditional learning for a whole semester.
Under the guidance of and in coordination with their teachers, and in collaboration with a training partner (a company, NGO or government agency), students have solved modern problems outside the classroom.
“A block is a packaged challenge closely linked to a real-world setting.
“There are going to be modules with materials to teach skills and impart knowledge students have to learn”, explained the vice-rector of the Tec’s Educational Transformation area.
The director said that there are particular blocks in the new syllabuses that are similar to those in iSemester, while iWeek is the foundation of the new Tec Weeks.
One aspect of the Model is that students will have more options available when choosing a degree and how to take the course.
The new generation of Tec de Monterrey students will undergo their professional training in three stages: exploration, focus, and specialization.
At the exploration stage, students will be able to choose from six broad areas: Business, Health, Social Sciences, Creative Studies, Built Environment and Engineering. During this stage, they will take subjects and blocks involving exploration challenges to learn the fundamentals of their chosen area.
- At the second “focus” stage, students will be able to choose their degree course. Here, the subjects and blocks will enable them to acquire disciplinary competencies directly related to that specific course of study.
- Finally, at the specialization stage, students’ attention will be concentrated on one or more topics selected by them that are relevant to their future interests and plans.
A MEMORABLE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE
Another aspect under the Tec21 Model that the Tec is vested in is a memorable university experience, which consists of integrating activities into the curriculum that complement education programs, like sports, culture, leadership, and wellbeing.
These activities will take place in the context of the LiFE (Student Leadership and Education) ecosystem, which seek to support skills development.
Students will be able to be spectators, learners in classes or workshops, organizers, and will even be able to put forward new programs for consideration.
Another important component of this pillar of the Tec21 Model is internationalization, which affords students the opportunity to complete part of their studies abroad, as well as having international teachers working in Tec campus classrooms.
Activities to foment the development of an enterprising spirit and experiences to develop human skills will also form part of students’ university experience.
In this new educational model, teachers play different roles: advisors, testers, mentors, challenge designers and professors.
To achieve the objectives of challenge-based learning programs, teachers will work together on their design and evaluation by simulating real work settings.
Teachers will also test their students’ competencies in both academic subjects and LiFE.
This will be implemented as a new competency-grading scheme in addition to the traditional scale of zero to a hundred.
Furthermore, the director said that three new roles would be created: student success mentor, academic advisor and peer mentor.
- The student success mentor will focus on advising students on their progress, wellbeing and education throughout the course of their studies.
- The academic advisor will guide students throughout their syllabuses by helping them with academic decisions and selection of subjects, blocks, learning experiences and professional development.
- Peer mentors are fellow students at higher levels who will use their experience to provide guidance and support.
For Rector David Garza, all the elements the Tec21 Model comprises are geared towards young people learning to face uncertainty and change and using this ability to create their own opportunities.
“For us, integrated learning is not simply a case of developing the technical skills required by their studies, but of having the capacity to solve complex problems and adapt to new situations with innovation and a renewed commitment to society,” concluded the rector.
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