1 Universidad de Huelva (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Sevilla (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 6192-6200
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
1. Introduction:
This work has involved conducting a methodological change in the teaching-learning process in industrial organic processes based on collaborative work and the use of a virtual tool called Prochem (, created for this purpose. Incorporation of group work as a competent and learning strategy improves students’ capacity to integrate themselves in the whole group to both cooperate actively in order to obtain the learning objectives and to learn in groups to be able to develop strategies of how to work with others.
The study has been carried out for three years. The University of Huelva (Spain) offers an optative course called Industrial Organic Processes which is the adecuate platform for implementing this new model. The multidisciplinary virtual environment has been created primarily to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary work in the fields of chemical engineering and organic chemistry. To enhance and optimize digital resources, seminars have been organized based on the management of virtual tools (wiki, forums, blogs, etc.). Directed activities were designed to encourage the use of the virtual tool and contribute to the proper organization and presentation of information in its collection.

2. Objectives:
The aim is to implement educational practices that promote the development of various skills: knowledge, values and skills that simulate significant actions in the development of professional activity. Thus, we have designed a new teaching methodology consistent with the requirements of the European Space for Higher Education, with the aim to provide students a better idea of how the industrial organic chemical processes convert raw materials into useful products, and provide a complete picture the way in which chemical engineers make decisions and assess the constraints to devise new industrial processes and products of interest (Harris & Briscoe-Andrews, 2008). This approach pretends to create some of the most relevant engineering skills required nowadays such as the ability to cooperate in order to find appropriate information; to solve problems through critical and creative thinking; and to make decisions and to communicate effectively.

3. Work Description:
Starting from minimum baseline information, students have selected a topic of interest through a process of literature search for further design and synthesize a flowchart of an industrial chemical process. This task involves the selection of appropriate technology, determination of the reasonable conditions of operation, optimization of important process variables, the integration of energy needs, as well as the calculation of flows of matter and energy.

4. Results:
Assessment surveys along with the final grades have been employed to assess the results of the study. Real conditions of working life of chemical engineers have been simulated: decision making, teamwork, use of databases, to meet deadlines for delivery of a specific project, presentation of results both orally and in virtual format. We found a high student satisfaction with the methodology proposed work and its perception of achieving good results thanks to collaborative work. Assessment tools were adapted appropriately to the methodological procedures used.
Decision Making, Development of Competences in Chemistry, Cooperative Learning, Rubric, Assessment.