THE WEBQUEST AS AN APPROPRIATE METHODOLOGY FOR LEARNING PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY
University of Vigo (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:Teaching regarding bioprocesses and biotechnology implies an important practical content in order to understand the applied features of the commented subjects. Therefore, theoretical and practical activities should follow one another along the course. However, limitation of time does not usually allow the development of such contents in a proper way, considering the quantity of new matters and concepts to be shown.
Consequently, some applications of biotechnology were explored by the students by means of the webquest methodology [1-3]. The proposed activities were performed in groups of three-four students and consisted in sessions where the students had to deal with recent applications of biotechnology from a practical point of view. Each group of students had to develop different matters. The teacher must provide some basic information about the proposed subjects (relevant scientific articles, book chapters, interesting webpages, etc.) and the topics to be developed by the students, in order to delimitate and focus the contents of the work. The students should increase this information by searching and surfing the web using several web tools (databases, scientific journals, personal webpages, blogs, etc.)
After the specified time, each group of students must prepare a presentation (PowerPoint or similar) and explain their work to the classmates. Such presentation is then evaluated by the teacher, but also by the classmates, using a previously provided rubric. The items to be qualified are clarity of explanation, clarity of presentation, quality of the source of information, etc. Finally a debate about the selected subjects is promoted in order to comment the key concepts of each one of them.
The commented activity allows an active learning regarding biotechnology applications, but also the improvement of several important skills like work on group, oral communication, criticism ability, etc. The students gave good score on a survey concerning this webquest.
 Bernie Dodge. Some thoughts about WebQuests. http://webquest.sdsu.edu/about_webquests.html
 Tom March, The learning power of WebQuests, in: Educational Leadership, 61/4/Dec2003-Jan2004, 42-47.
Keywords: Webquest, biotechnology.