University of The Basque Country (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 9731-9738
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.2031
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Herein, we describe the design of a research based learning (RBL) project focused on the sustainable development Goals of the Agenda 2030 program for undergraduate students of Physical Chemistry during the degree in Chemistry in the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Specifically, this project promotes the goal 12 corresponding to the responsible production and consumption in a single intervention undergraduate program that promotes the students global awareness on the responsible production, consumption and treatment of chemicals.

Chemists and scientists should possess specific qualities such as, organizational, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills. They should be able to design experiments, perform a critical assessment of the accuracy of the attained experimental results as well as the reliability of the data treatment, and disseminate the derived main conclusions in the pertinent forums and committees. In order to enhance these key abilities for the formation of future chemists in the degree of Chemistry in the UPV/EHU, a research based learning (RBL) approach is proposed as an ideal methodology to promote the acquisition of the following specific transversal skills:
i) autonomy and self-regulation,
ii) scientific dissemination, and
iii) critical thinking.

The proposed methodology enables that students get involved in their own learning processes, being the main protagonist, and tries to be a realistic training that makes them future sustainable and competitive chemists. This RBL project is carried out in the second course of the degree of Chemistry simultaneously in a theoretical (Physical Chemistry (PC)) and an experimental (Experimental Physical Chemistry (EPC)) Physical Chemistry course. In the PC course the fundamental theoretical concepts on different materials are explained, while in the EPC course, laboratory experiments regarding the synthesis and characterization of studied materials are carried out. Both subjects belong to the Basic Module of the degree of Chemistry, an ideal stage to initiate students in the scientific method.

In brief, each experiment in EPC is proposed as a little research project, where students formulate the objectives and hypothesis, propose the required tasks and the corresponding time-frame, perform and analyze the results applying the theoretical concepts explained in PC. To this aim, key questions are provided by instructors to guide students´ investigation, and a sequential lab program is requested, which is supervised and validated by the academic team (all the lecturers and professors involved in the teaching of both subjects), who provides the required feedback to redesign the experiment if required.

The assessment of the success of this RBL project is gathered by the evaluation of the improvement of the marks of the students and the satisfaction of the implementation in comparison with other experiments developed following the traditional teaching methodology in EPC subject. In addition, specific evaluation tools are designed to assess the improvement of students’ performance and awareness regarding the goal 12 of the sustainable development Goals of the Agenda 2030 program.
Research based learning, Physical Chemistry, Sustainability.