DEVELOPING ACTIVE LEARNING: EXPERIMENTATION IN CHEMISTRY FOR CHEMICAL ENGINEERING STUDENTS
University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:‘Experimentation in Chemistry II’ subject has been specially designed as an introduction to the techniques of chemical analysis. Our goals in this subject are twofold. First, it has been designed to give second-year students an opportunity to get ‘hands-on experience’ with chemical analysis. A second aim is to prepare students for work in the laboratory, which means not only experimental work but discussion of the results. Students often have difficulty to explain the results obtained in the lab, both oral and writing, because they don't have developed these skills yet. During the first semester of the second year of Chemical Engineering degree, they will achieve this experience and practice what they have learned in future courses. Unlike other laboratory classes, the goal is not just to perform an experiment successfully, but also to write a report using the adequate technical language.
The experiments that we will carry out are divided into four different modules. To pass the course, students will be required to develop a certain level of proficiency by obtaining good results after completing each module at the laboratory. To help their personal progress, ‘Chemical Analysis’ subject is carried out during the same semester because the experiments that they will run require the knowledge of chemical analysis. In order to help students in the task of relating theory and practice, Moodle platform will be used. The Moodle site is designed to allow them to review key concepts of the ‘Chemical Analysis’ subject. However, this site does not have only materials for students but also promotes interaction with the teacher and other students through the news forum, glossaries, books and other resources.
As the goal of the subject is to reach a practical knowledge of chemical analysis and understanding of results interpretation, in the final week of the course, students will present the work developed in the lab. Both the teacher and other students will ask questions that they will have to answer in a satisfactory way. If the skills developed during the semester are applied correctly, they will pass the subject, and they will be ready to face work at lab in a satisfactory way in the near future during the final project in the third year of their studies.
Keywords: Active learning, e-learning platform, experimental work.