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LEARNING PHARMACOLOGY WITHOUT FRONTIERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ONLINE PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING COURSE

M.V. Barahona Gomariz1, M.I. San Andrés Larrea1, S. Rubio Langre2, F. Gonzalez Gómez1, M. Sánchez de la Muela1, R. Tasayco Alcántara3, J. Juárez Eyzaguirre4, J. Aliaga Arauco5, D. Bustillo Merino1, J. Sánchez Nogueiro1, M. Arribas Blázquez1, L.A. Olivos-Oré1

1Complutense University of Madrid (SPAIN)
2Alfonso X, El Sabio University (SPAIN)
3Universidad Nacional Hermilio Valdizán (PERU)
4Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (PERU)
5Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (PERU)
Information and communication technology (ICT) can transform the learning process and make it widely available to everyone in society, improving the learning experience. In a period of deeply economical crisis we have to be prepared to reunite our efforts by working together in multi-professional teams in order to “multiply” and not just “add”. The moment has arrived to be versatile, to search for a common language, to create networks and disseminate our capabilities.

We consider unquestionable the connection of information and technology is necessary to create interdisciplinary teams. Our project aims to foment the educational use of ICT to develop a cooperative spirit changing the way our students learn and share in internet, promoting the capability for informational competences.

Taking advantage of our experience to work in a face to face Problem-Based Learning (PBL) course with pharmacology students from Veterinary School of Universidad Complutense of Madrid, we shifted from the classroom to designed an pilot online course that would facilitate problem-based learning in an international group of students from different universities such as Complutense and Alfonso X El Sabio (Madrid, Spain) and Nacional de San Marcos, Cayetano Heredia and Hermilio Valdizán (Lima and Huanuco, Peru) in which we are initiating our working with students from pharmacy schools in order to promote the interdisciplinary communication and points of view exchange related to common issues from their curriculums.

In a qualitative analysis from the pilot online offered PBL course and using a constructivist learning theory, we better understand ─and confirm some previous studies─ how a problem-based learning environment can enhance different educational aspects such as promoting an effective student-centered instruction, interdisciplinary collaborative behaviors, encouraging development of higher order thinking and information-reasoning skills, all of which are increasingly required in today’s knowledge-based world.

Our first results provide a holistic picture of the course development where we positively value:
i) how students gain confidence of their knowledge when solving problems,
ii) what role colleagues and instructors had in facilitating problem solving,
iii) what extent students are capable to interact with students from other disciplines, and different geographical, social and cultural backgrounds.