University of the Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4148-4156
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
E-tools based upon Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are prevailing asynchronic activities within Bachelor Curricula at Universities as per the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) guidelines. The aim of this communication is to evaluate the role of Moodle Questionnaires as an active asynchronous ICT platform to promote students self-learning and acquisition of procedural competences in the chemistry laboratory along with lab security rules and norms. This is to be applied to a course of General Chemistry of a heterogeneous group of first year students in the Agriculture Engineering Bachelor at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain.

The actual applicability of e-Questionnaires is explored in three different scenarios:
i) evaluation of the prior knowledge of students in concepts related to the lab exercises (sometimes already discussed in synchronous activities in the class) (pre-lab evaluation),
ii) helping students in understanding new principles or reactions before execution of the practical tasks in the lab (pre-lab evaluation).
Here we are usually posting the fundamentals of the exercises in the on-line system that should be further elaborated by the students themselves;
iii) following and rating the degree of competence acquisition during and after undertaking the lab course (formative and post-lab assessment).

The project involves a first step in generation of a pool of questions and answers (including feedback) in the format of multiple options for every individual lab exercise with a single correct answer followed by posting it in the Moodle platform and open for answer within a given timeframe (typically 2-3 days), whereupon the marks and correct answers will be delivered. We do also investigate how attractive self-prepared close-ups and videos are in terms of identification of appropriate unit operations in the lab and avoidance of prevailing lab misconcepts.

We do also present results on how Moodle Questionnaires are rated by the students themselves (via hardcopy questionnaires) as compared with other asynchronous or synchronous models of teaching & learning competences in the chemistry lab curriculum before starting lab work including:
i) reading of the laboratory scripts,
ii) teacher explanation of the lab exercises,
iii) students’ self-writing of the script on the basis of the exercise aims,
iv) collaborative learning in groups followed by presentation of aims and script summary to the remainder of students and
v) minimal pre-lab tasks and acquisition of theoretical knowledge from experimental results.

We finally propose measures to solve potential cons identified in using Moodle questionaries allied to undergraduate chemistry lab task learning.
E-tools, ICT, e-questionnaires, Moodle, chemistry, lab courses.