Universidad de Málaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 2969-2975
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Our educational team is implementing innovative teaching techniques in different subjects of the degree in Chemical Engineering since 2006. The latter of these experience is been performed during the latter three academic years in the subject Simulation and Optimization of Chemical Processes. Some of the results observed at the beginning of that educational innovation have been presented in previous editions of the different conferences organized by the International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED) [1, 2].

Two sources of information have been used to evaluate the performance of this educational experience. The first one is based on anonymous surveys performed a few weeks before the end of the term. The aim of those surveys is the measurement of the satisfaction of students with the innovations. The second one explores the extent of the skills acquired by students, both by evaluating the continued activity as by the marks achieved in the partial and final exams. Here we present the evolution of the results and propose possible explanations to some of the differences observed between the different academic courses.

As an example, the educational methodology in the subject is widely based in the e-tutoring via the MOODLE platform. In particular, the main activity used in the MOODLE course was the "Workshops", which was supported with other resources: doubts forum, criticisms and suggestions forum, and internal email. Unfortunately, in the last academic course, some problems have been detected in the evaluation stage of the activity "Workshops" after one of the actualizations of the free, open-source MOODLE platform used in the University of Malaga. Of course, this malfunction has been detected by the students who, in our opinion, have adequately reflected it in the anonymous surveys.

Furthermore, this malfunction in the Workshops activities has probably affected the marks achieved by the students in the term exams. In the first two academic years the average mark of the students was 8.0(1.3) and 8(2) respectively (values in parenthesis correspond to standard deviations). Those high average marks are probably due to the continued work and dedication to the subject encouraged by the use of the Workshops. Nevertheless, in the last academic year this continuous work has been affected by the malfunction in the workshops that has been reflected in the average mark of the students (7.2(1.9)).

Although those data do not have enough statistical significance, one should think that the more the dependency of the teaching methodology on sophistications of the information and communication technology, the most dramatic may be the effect in the teaching effectiveness of a bug in the learning platform.

[1] García-Rubio A., Paz-García J.M., Gómez-Lahoz C., Vereda-Alonso C., García-Herruzo F., Rodríguez-Maroto J.M.. E-Learning in the Subject Simulation and Optimization of Chemical Processes. Proceedings of EDULEARN10 Conference. 5th-7th July 2010, Barcelona (Spain), pag. 3796-3804.
[2] Gomez-Lahoz C., Rodriguez-Maroto J.M., Garcia-Herruzo F., Garcia-Rubio A., Vereda-Alonso C. Blending of Technology-Based Materials and Face-to-Face Instruction for Teaching Simulation and Optimization of Chemical Processes. Proceedings of INTED2010 Conference. 8th-10th March 2010, Valencia (Spain), pag. 3966-3976.
E-tutoring, free, open-source platform, MOODLE, workshops, hysys.