University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2678-2683
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
The subject “Industrial Inorganic Chemistry” is an optional one-semester subject for students of Chemical Engineering Degree at the University of Alicante. Students of the fourth and fifth course can follow this subject. All co-authors of the current study have been responsible of this subject during the period 2001-2002 till 2009-2010, and 68 students have been enrolled on the subject during this period of time, with an average number of students of 7.6 students/academic course.

A conventional methodology was followed during the period 2001-2002 till 2008-2009, where the teacher presented the students the contents of the program supported by power point/slides presentations. The knowledge acquired by the students was evaluated by written exams at the end of the semester, and the final marks came from this exam.

A continuous evaluation-based experimental approach was followed during the 2009-2010 course. At the beginning of each topic, the students got a number of questions along with selected bibliography about the topic. Most of these questions must be answered by the students out of the classroom with the help of the support material provided. In every 60 minutes class, only about first 15-20 minutes were dedicated by the teacher to explain the critical points of each topic, and the remaining time was dedicated to comment about questions of the students or to solve the difficulties rose during the previous preparation of the answers. During this discussion, the students had access to bibliography, both books and PC with internet connection. The aim of the teacher was not to answer the questions (only those that really required it) but to provide the students tools to solve the questions themselves. Every week, a written report with the answers of each student was evaluated and returned to the students with the teacher’s comments and corrections. Each student got a mark based on these reports and the final mark of a student was calculated as the average value of these partial marks.

In order to compare the results of both teaching and evaluating approaches, the students of the 2009-2010 course also passed an exam at the end of the semester. This exam had some particular features: (i) the students didn’t know about this exam in advance, that is, they didn’t prepare the exam but they just answered the questions with the background acquired during the semester; (ii) all questions of the exam were similar to question included in previous years exams; (iii) the marks of this exam were not taken into account to calculate the final marks of the students, but were just considered for research purposes.
The main conclusion of this study is that the students get similar marks in the final exam, regardless the teaching methodology used. However, the continuous evaluation approach has several quantified benefits: (i) the students attended more regularly to the classes and (ii) the students enrolled on the subject didn’t drop out before finishing the semester. In addition, there are several subjective conclusions that must be underlined, like that the students get more familiar with the different sources of information about the topics or that the atmosphere during the classes is more participative.