Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 2761-2767
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Teaching method at the Medicine School of the University of Castilla-La Mancha at Albacete is centered in the student. The course is divided into modules of objectives of three weeks each. In this frame, different pedagogical methods (lectures, self-training, problem solving, etc.) are strategically organized within modules into five different phases. Usually, the first phase is an introduction of the topic and the last one, an evaluation test. In 2nd-year physiology, phase 3 is dedicated to gain a deeper insight by problem solving and by addressing practical cases. Questionnaires are presented by the teacher and debated by the whole class. Interaction and feedback is very high during the activities as classes are small (25 students per class). In this context, the teacher can easily monitor the progress of most students even though, some remain anonymous. Student absenteeism is very low during the first phases but increases during the 3rd phase, in part because some students choose to invest that time in self-study. Although classroom attendance in EHEA (European Higher Education Area) is voluntary, it is known that this factor is positively associated with the overall grade of the students.

Attendance should be encouraged not by making it mandatory but by giving students the immediate and real sense that they are maximizing their learning time when they are in class. Also, it is desirable for both, teacher and students, to be able to track the progress of every single learner, and to address any doubts in the classroom as soon as they arise. Clickers are ideal for these challenges.

In this preliminary study, we have included a non-evaluative concept-test assessed with clickers in a Cardiovascular System Module of physiology classes. The activity was voluntary and performed in phase 3, one week before the exam (phase 5), when the students have already worked on the contents. We have analyzed whether this activity had any effect in the score obtained in the exam. Correlative analysis between exam score and the numeric grading calculated with the responses in the concept-test shows that these values are not related on a linear regression model. However, we found that the students who attended the activity obtained significantly better results in the exam than those who did not (t-test; p<0.0001), regardless of their score in the concept-test.

These results suggest that the teaching procedure analyzed here cannot be used as a predictive tool for students’ grades. Although further research should be done, we believe that this activity had a positive effect in learning (as well as in attention and enjoyment) which led to improve students’ scores. Besides, the use of clickers has great acceptance among students and promotes attendance and engagement.