top of page

Student Workload and ECTS in ICT

Although it can be observed that there is no concrete uniformity in the number of hours of student dedication in each implementation of the system in the European space, the use of the ECTS reference eliminates any ambiguity in the recognition of degrees in the EHEA. In other words, a degree taken in Spain will be recognized in Germany in terms of ECTS credit points and not in terms of the number of hours spent by the students.


At this point, it is essential to remember that the EQF focuses learning on the student, and his/her dedication/effort defines the number of credits of a bachelor/master (or even the course). Thus, in addition to describing concretely the learning activities that a student must develop in a given subject of the curriculum, the student's hours of dedication/effort for each activity must be indicated. This description constitutes the student's work plan, measured in hours and, therefore in ECTS credit points. In other words, the ECTS permits us to plan how best to use students' time to achieve the aims of the educational process rather than considering teachers' time as the primary constraint and students' time as basically limitless.


Developing meaningful and measurable LO for ICT levels 6, 7, and 8 of EQF is fundamental to systematically improving the educational experience for students, but more is needed. LO must be taught and learned, and their achievement level must be assessed. Considering again the relationship between ETCS and the assessment framework, it can be said that the activities that compose this work plan identify the achievement/measurement of the learning outcomes at each level associated with the subject in particular and to the curriculum/bachelor/master, in general. A priority objective of the assessment framework is to identify the learning/teaching activities and to associate quantitative (student work hours, for example) and qualitative indicators to the assessment process and the achievement of the LO.


To build and define these reference activities, it is essential to define the assessment framework in a structured and systematic way, adapted to the domain of the discipline, which in this case is ICT. This assessment framework aims at defining a structure based on dimensions grouping the different learning outcomes (Knowledge, Skills, Wider Competences) in subsets specific to the ICT discipline. For each dimension, it is necessary to define the references for the different assessment forms of these learning outcomes, the learning activities (focused on students) and teaching (focused on teachers' practices). Adopting appropriate teaching and learning methods or modes and accurate assessment tools is a critical issue.


As shown in the assessment framework section of this document, the division of the different learning activities corresponds to the three types of LO systematically included in the assessment framework. Associated with the knowledge-type LO, activities such as the following can be highlighted: Attending lectures, workshops and webinars, developing Oral/written exams and essays, cooperative/group learning, autonomous learning or informal learning. Regarding skills-type LO, relevant learning activities can be indicated as doing practical assignments, lab work, cooperative learning or critical thinking (particularly important when writing essays and practical assignments). Finally, in the case of LO of Autonomy and Responsibility (Wider Competences), some cross-cutting activities can be highlighted, such as coaching and consulting, competition-based learning, peer learning/assessment, reviewing technical aspects of advanced solutions, reviewing ethical, sustainable and inclusive aspects of solutions, webinars/workshops for soft skills or reflective practical assignments.


The heterogeneity of the different activities may indicate that there is no clear identification of criteria. Still the association of ECTS credit points to each activity allows for a comparative measure, including the granularity level in each activity's detail. As mentioned above, each of the above activities can be associated with a dedication in number of hours and, therefore, some ECTS credit pints. This measure allows the identification and comparison of the complexity of the activity and the effort dedicated by the student.


It is worth highlighting the importance of the laboratory work activities (individual, group, collaborative) that constitute the basis for evaluating and fulfilling the learning outcomes in the ICT domain. Although, indeed, the evaluation framework developed in this document does not value the dedication in ECTS credit points of the activities, a uniformity in this type of activities is desirable to improve the comparison of bachelor’s/master’s and, therefore, the mobility of students at European level to study ICT programs.

Student Workload and ECTS in ICT continued...

bottom of page