- VIDEO LECTURES OF ALL COURSES, ALL YEARS: make studying and working together a reality
- EXEMPTIONS AND PARTIALS: the regulation of midterms in addition to ordinary examinations.
- CLA AS A TRUE LINGUISTIC CENTRE: it’s left to the University to take charge of the English certification and not only.
- MORE SUPPORT FOR WORKSHOPS
- NUMBER OF EXAM SESSIONS AND EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS: reintroduction of midterm sessions for master’s degrees and extension to everyone
WHAT WE ARE DOING AND WHAT WE WANT TO DO:
Education is the grounding centre of the university system and it is on this, on our education, on the path we take, that we believe it is vital to start in our work of representing and building a better university! The progress of our university should be guided by a focus on the needs of our community, the student community. We are the active, living and vital part of the Politecnico and it is time that we take our rightful role as such, becoming active and not passive elements of change, of teaching and of the university’s message.
We decided to write ‘what we are doing’ because our work on didactics is more contemporary than ever! In fact, after the discussion on the mid-term sessions, we demanded and obtained a revolution in didactics, more student-friendly, mindful of the mental health and actual success of those who attend the courses: us.
In this period of transition, we have laid the foundations for our vision of didactics, of the university and of society, as opposed to the Politecnico’s status quo that pushes us to conform solely to our stereotyped and rigid ‘professional figures’. We want to be free to set our own path, to acquire new knowledge, to explore reality with new tools.
- EXEMPTIONS AND MIDTERMS
We believe that relying on the performance of a single exam at the end of a months-long learning path is indicative of an educational system that can be, at the very least, improved, weighing less on the students’ mental health. This is why we therefore propose, for those subjects that lend themselves to being split into several parts, the regulation of optional in-progress tests in addition to the ordinary examinations. This is already common in some courses, where it is possible to take in-progress tests, which allow study and evaluation to be subdivided during the semester, but this is done without any real structure or regulation, using loopholes such as mentoring.
We propose that real in-progress examinations be encouraged, with the aim of ensuring greater flexibility in the organisation of study and thus reducing the stress and tension associated with the date of the single exam, while also ensuring a more accurate valuation of the subject’s learning process.
In addition, we also propose proper midterms to be instituted for those subjects that are already organised into several, suitably separate sections, allowing for a greater in-depth study of each of these by the student.
- ELIMINATION OF RANKINGS FOR OPTIONAL COURSES
Access to culture and education in no way must be bound by meritocratic logic. Currently, some optional courses are accessible by rankings based on a ‘merit’ criteria. We consider this discrimination between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ interested students to be inexcusable. Optional courses represent the only possibility, within overly narrow study plans, to personalise one’s study path. As such, they must be open to all those who are interested in supplementing their knowledge with the topics covered by that teaching.
- HOURS/CFU RATIO
The Politecnico of Turin delivers a total of 10 hours of lectures per CFU, compared to other universities, which usually deliver 6 or 8, leading us students to be incredibly overloaded throughout the weeks and months of lectures. We believe that this causes serious damage to our level of preparation, to our ability to plan our study time, and also to the university’s ability to organise its spaces and resources.
This is why we propose that this ratio should be reviewed, even on a different basis according to the type of teaching, trying to reduce the amount of time we spend in class, also adapting the subject schedules and allowing for greater organisation of the students and teachers.
- IN-HOUSE AND IN-COMPANY TRAINEESHIPS
At the moment, the University is questioning what actions should be put in place to facilitate the entry of new graduates into the world of work. Among the proposals put forward are unpaid internships or extra curricular internships, i.e. those that do not count for the achievement of credits to obtain the degree. We have ensured that there are many more internship formats within the teaching load of each master’s degree course, but we believe that there still needs to be an improvement on the management of internships, especially for the bachelor’s degree and unpaid internships, which should be discouraged by our university career service.
- BETTER ORGANISATION OF COURSES INVOLVING MULTIPLE MODULES
Within the teaching catalogues of the individual study courses, subjects are taught in several modules, which in many cases also correspond to two separate examinations on two separate dates. According to Ministerial Instructions, study programmes are required to design their course offerings in such a way that there are a maximum of 20 exams for the Bachelor’s degree and 12 for the Master’s degree. A course that contains two modules must therefore have a single exam in a single call, thus avoiding fragmentation.
- CLA AS A TRUE LANGUAGE CENTRE
While obtaining a recognised certification such as IELTS as part of our university course is undoubtedly an advantage, it is unacceptable for us to burden students with the restrictions imposed by certifying institutions. We cannot delay graduation for this reason. We want the university to take charge of the English certification, without having to go through an external certifying body, as is already the case in many universities in Italy. Furthermore, we want the university to go even further, guaranteeing the possibility of taking courses and obtaining certifications in different languages, also in anticipation of the outgoing mobility paths offered to students.
We want to extend the possibility of having the IELTS exam taken at a reduced price through the university to those who are in the process of enrolling, in order to make the enrolment process less burdensome for those coming from other universities.
- ENSURING WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES
The student community should not pay for anything; labs and lectures should cost nothing to carry out! Unfortunately, in the field of Architecture in particular, this is not a reality, with projects weighing on students’ pockets for materials and tools. We believe that this must stop, and that the Polytechnic must give everyone the opportunity to carry out the activities at no extra cost. This is why we propose that they must be accessible for the realisation of the academic projects.
- GUARANTEE VIDEO LECTURES FOR ALL COURSES, EVERY YEAR!
Video lectures represent an added value to the teaching offered by our university and are a very useful tool, much appreciated by students and which we have tried to maintain in the post-pandemic restart. These are intended as a supplementary tool to listen to and review what has been explained during lectures in order to clear up any doubts. We have already had to put the infrastructure in place by making video recordings (also accessible on a deferred basis) available for all courses.
We want to maintain this tool, not just for some courses, but for all of them, making the possibility of studying and working together a reality and improving teaching by extending the tools for all the students.
- SOFTWARE AND MICROCREDENTIALS
We believe that the use of professional softwares in our academic career is a great addition to our career path, which is why we believe that the gaining of technical skills in the use of these softwares should be further highlighted.
First and foremost, we want the use of digital devices to be a key focus for all students at the Politecnico, not limited to engineering courses. This is why we are asking for licences for the Adobe package and other software useful for educational purposes.
Furthermore, we call for the introduction of optional courses aimed at the acquisition of microcredentials as professional certifications in the use of software/programming language/suite/other.
- REMOVAL OF CONSTRAINTS FOR ACCESS TO THE MASTER’S DEGREE
In the whole academic vision, the master’s degree courses are the natural follow-up of the three-year degree courses. For this reason, we believe that all three-year degree graduates should have the opportunity to continue their studies and we oppose any additional entry requirements for the degree.
In the master’s courses, students are provided with the tools to apply and deepen what they have learnt previously, and it is unacceptable that the Politecnico of Turin itself does not recognise a degree that it has itself awarded!
Once cleared with the idea that there must be ‘merit requirements’ the danger is imminent for everyone. On engineering courses, we have always managed to limit the soaring thresholds, caused by ministerial constraints that can lead to the termination of courses, on 5 of the 6 courses where restrictions had been proposed. On Architecture and Planning the situation is even more out of control. As of this year, it is possible to get in even by not (slightly) respecting the average limits, by taking tests on criteria dictated by each course.
We consider it of fundamental importance to work so that all people are assured the possibility of continuing their studies, and we pledge to pursue this battle with even more determination!
- ESSENTIAL ABOLITION OF THE FORFEITURE AND BLOCKING OF THE FIRST YEAR
In the first year of a three-year engineering degree course, the 26 CFU barrier rule is in force: if by September you do not pass at least 26 CFU of the basic engineering exams, your career is blocked and you cannot enter the second year.
We have always believed that the barrier is detrimental to students, and only aggravates the already difficult situation of those who fall through it. It also produces the ‘CFU race’: having to take the 26 CFUs, most of us will concentrate on those exams that are easiest for us, dragging the more substantial ones behind, often until graduation!
The problems do not end for those who manage to leave in January and will have to take the second year starting in the second semester: they will be forced to do the entire three-year degree in ‘alternating semesters’. We therefore intend to propose the removal of the barrier or, at the very least, its sharp lowering, which does not take into account CFUs but rather the number of exams taken (e.g. by setting the threshold at 2 exams).
We have also always taken a negative stance on forfeiture. We thus intend to propose, once again, a radical revision, calling for the removal of ‘clause B’, which affects freshmen who do not pass the block within two years.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
REGULATION REJECTING THE GRADE
At last, our representatives in the Academic Senate have achieved a historic victory, overturning a law from the 1920s: refusal to vote will be regulated uniformly, without being left to the will of individual lecturers!
Aligned with many other universities such as Bologna, Naples, Rome; from the academic year 2023/2024, the modalities for refusing a vote will be as follows:
- You will have 48h from the validation of the grade to communicate, through a procedure on the Teaching Portal, your intention to refuse, otherwise the grade will be automatically recorded.
- There is no limit on the number of times this right can be exercised.
P.S. It is only right to specify that in the case of examinations in which part of the assessment depends on the realisation of a project, the only grade that can be refused will be that relating to the final exam of the course, and not that of the papers produced during the semester.
In 2021, we succeeded in obtaining the institution of additional sessions in the autumn and spring terms. This great victory, at the recent March session of the Academic Senate, was cut in half in the three-year degree course (with the possibility of taking only one exam per session) and completely eliminated in the master’s degree course.
In the run-up to the resolution, we had collected the testimonies of more than 2000 students in favour of the sessions and organised an open assembly (both students and lecturers, including the Rector himself) where everyone had the opportunity to express their opinion, and we on our side, loudly expressed the need for the additional sessions to remain active.
However, this was not enough to avoid the tragic cutback on one of the most appreciated and requested tools by the student community.
But it didn’t end there! We have taken action to express our dissent and that of the students, and we will not stop! We will continue to do so, because we no longer want to graduate bald out of stress.