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EXPERIENCES IN THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM OF “BASIC PRINCIPLES IN CHEMISTRY” AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LA LAGUNA

J. Hernández-Borges, M.A. Rodríguez-Delgado

Universidad de la Laguna, Dpto. de Química Analítica, Nutrición y Bromatología (SPAIN)
The University of La Laguna, as well as all Spanish and European universities, is currently involved in the process of adaptation to the new objectives according to the European Space of Higher Education (ESHE), or Bologna Process. For many of our faculties, the adaptation process is not completely new. In this sense, the Faculty of Chemistry of our university has decisively bet for the development of a pilot experience for the Experimentation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) during the first cycle of the degree in Chemistry. This pilot experience started in the years 2004-2005 with innovative docent projects. The subject “Basic principles in Chemistry” (6 non ECTS credits) of the first course of the degree in Chemistry belongs to this pilot experience since its very beginning. The subject is divided into two parts: one of them (equilibria) corresponds to the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Science and the other to the Department of Physical Chemistry of our University. The teaching methodology includes the use of a virtual classroom in the Moodle platform, magisterial lessons, seminars, web seminars, practical classes and mentoring, as well as a visit to a chemical industry and the preparation of different oral presentations of a topic of interest.
In this work, the results of the use of the virtual classroom as a complementary tool in teaching equilibria in this first course as well as its comparison with the results obtained in the rest of the activities and exams programmed are presented. In general, a good participation of the students has been observed in the virtual classroom in which they usually achieve high marks. However, when these results are compared with the ones obtained in the rest of the activities students tend to achieve less success. A discussion on the suitability of certain components of the virtual classroom in teaching chemical equilibria is provided.