Universidad de Cádiz (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 4263-4267
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
In view of the important challenge of the European Higher Education Area, relevant methodological aspects concerning new university degrees are being discussed by the academic comunity. Due to the practical character of such curricula, different pilot plans have been assayed in different Spanish and European Universities, in order to test learning models based on supervised academic activities (AAD in spanish). The number of such activities in a single core matter can be very high.

In the other hand, teachers of the Chemical Engineering subjects for the students of Chemical Engineer Degree in the University of Cádiz state an important methodological deficiency: students in the last courses have problems to link the concepts of the different matters in this field. Many times, they are not capable of understanding the knowledge correlations or dealing with a specific problem from the different perspectives that every subject offer.

With this innovation project, we have tried to improve the horizontal and vertical coordination among all the core matters, not only attending to their contents, but also in their methodology and evaluation process. Several academic activities related with the same case/problem were suggested; this case acts as the common thread of the 12 subjects during all the learning process.

The project was promoted by the University of Cádiz in 2007 and it was entitled: "Nexo project: Design of supervised academic activities implemented through horizontal and vertical coordination between subjects of the area of Chemical Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Degree". For this purpose, students carry out activities in the different subjects (12 in the whole course) using a "case of study": the processing of rice husk by acid hydrolysis for the obtention of simple sugars, convertible to bioethanol by fermentation. On the basis of this chemical process, very up-to-date and technically improved, teachers of the different subjects suggest different activities along the season, every one in the scope of the current matter. The students receive a portfolio in the first course in which they file all the activities done related to the case of study, previously corrected by the teacher, being the starting point for the activities in the next courses. With his constant participation, the student will be able to integrate the different subjects with a global view, realising how the same problem can be faced from various ways.

The subjects involved were: Chemical Processes Principles (1st course), Thermodynamics and applied kinetics (2nd course), Basic Operations in Chemical Engineering (2nd course), Experimentation in Chemical Engineering (3rd course), Basic operations in fluid flow and heat transfer (3rd course), Chemical Reactors (4th course), Separation operations (4th course), Experimentation in Chemical Engineering II (4th course), Simulation and process optimization (5th course), Control and instrumentation in chemical processes (5th course), Biological and Biochemical reactors (5th course) and Experimentation in Chemical Engineering III (5th course).

With the present communication we are trying to evaluate the preliminary results in the first three years of application. In this sense, nowadays there are three courses involved (about 65 students) and 13 teachers joining the project. The work includes examples of exercises proposed and qualitative evaluation of the study.
Horizontal and vertical coordination, academic activities.