Universidad de Malaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 3966-3976
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
A two-year teaching experience, now in its second year, has been implemented in the context of an Educational Innovation Project of the University of Malaga. This experience is carried out for "Simulation and Optimization of Chemical Processes", a 5th year subject of the degree in Chemical Engineering. The modifications in the teaching-learning process basically involve two actions: Firstly, the face-to-face instruction is moved from the normal- to the computer-classroom in which the student should learn and should use the commercial software currently most used for simulation of chemical processes: ASPEN and HYSYS. Secondly, the tools available in the MOODLE platform were used to encourage the autonomous learning of students using both individual and collaborative activities. The target is to prepare students for easier integration into the labor market through the acquisition of specific skills of the title.
The change in the teaching methodology that entails the use of the computer classroom aiming to the chemical plantwide design with Hysys requires a continuous monitoring of the student learning as well as of their satisfaction as students. This tracking process involves e-mentoring or e-tutoring and anonymous questionnaires, and was mainly implemented using some of the tools available in MOODLE platform that the University of Málaga uses to create learning communities online. In particular, the main activity used in the virtual learning environment was the "Workshops", which was supported with other resources: doubts forum, criticisms and suggestions forum, instant messaging and internal email. The students are encouraged to use these tools personally, but in case they do not feel easy, they can also use an anonymous personality. In order to allow this anonymous personality a fictitious student, such as John Doe, was enrolled to the virtual environment of the subject, and his identity and password is known by every student. Obviously, teachers can also use this fictitious personality if they consider appropriate to encourage the discussion of a particular debate.
The results of the anonymous questionnaires indicate that the procedural changes introduced were well received by the students. A very high percentage of the students considered that the skills acquired during the course would be useful for their future professional lives and practically all of them praised the choice of the software Hysys from Aspentech. Moreover, although they perceive the subject as of medium difficulty, they declare about 3 hours of personal work per hour in the computer classroom, which is above the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Regarding to the Virtual Tutoring, the participation of the students in the activities on the platform was always above 80%. In particular, the students considered very useful the workshops for their learning. Moreover, four of the six interventions in the criticisms and suggestions forum were done using the fictitious student identity, which proves the need of the availability the anonymous personality for a correct feedback process.
Finally, emphasize the high success rate achieved in the student group probably due to their continued work and dedication to the subject.
E-tutoring, MOODLE, workshops, hysys.