USE OF A TABLET-PC-BASED SYSTEM AS A COMPLEMENTARY RESOURCE FOR LABORATORY SESSIONS IN FOOD PROCESSING
Mobile technologies such as tablet computers have received fast and well-known uptake across higher education. While these technologies offer opportunities to facilitate learning, including access to a large amount of documentation (teaching materials, information on the web), their potential remains undiminished. One of the scenarios where the use of the Tablet computers has not been fully exploited are the laboratory sessions. This work describes our experience using a Tablet-PC-based system during the practical sessions of the subject “Food Processing”, belonging to the Degree of Degree in Food Science and Technology offered at the “Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV).The main objective of this experience was twofold. On the one the one hand to provide to the students a tool to look for information related to the industrial application of the practice. On the other hand, to allow the students a self-evaluation of their learning through different tests connected to the learning management system used at the UPV. For that purpose, students had to answer several questions at the end of each laboratory session that related all the obtained data with the concepts that the student must have learned. The students were also able to support the answers on the theoretical materials (the legislation applicable to a food product, quality parameters of processed products, allowed additives and their concentrations...) by using the tablet. Each battery of questions was automatically corrected, rated and considered for the final signature grade. To assess how the proposed methodology has contributed to students to better understand the concepts of the subject, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted on 70 students after all the laboratory sessions. Results indicate that this methodology has advantages for all the collectives involved in the subject. For lecturers, the fast feed-back allows the possibility of reinforce all the concepts in which student have troubles and make sure that all the concepts had been settled. For students, the assessment and immediate response of the wrong answers favor their motivation in the learning, and thus their involvement in the lab session.