ACTIVE LEARNING: FIRST SYMPOSIUM ON GENERAL AND INORGANIC CHEMISTRY FOR FIRST YEAR DEGREE STUDENTS OF PHARMACY

Universities are increasingly adapting their classical way of teaching to a more multidisciplinary scope, seeking to encourage new competences to students. For instance, the inclusion of more laboratory hours, the use of open online resources or apps and smartphones in lectures is a reality nowadays.

General and Inorganic Chemistry are subjects included in the first-year program of Pharmacy degree at the University of Granada (UGR). As a final clasp of these courses, the Department of Inorganic Chemistry organized a symposium where students had the opportunity of experimenting a rich environment where sharing the latest advances in Chemistry field. The participation was voluntary, with approximately 40% of the students being actively involved.

This experience had three main objectives:
(i) to socialize students and encourage team work;
(ii) to provide an updated and more practical view of the course, motivating students and stimulating an critical and entrepreneurial knowledge; and
(iii) to improve organizative and communication skills.

In addition, students will draw near to a common scientific research activity within the university environment. The symposium was organized as a regular academic symposium, providing registration and abstract submission deadlines. However, with more than 100 students signed in, only poster presentations were allowed, which were carried out in small groups. Posters had to be introduced in a flash-3-min presentation to the rest of participants. In addition, they should be prepared to provide an in-depth explanation of their work and answer questions. Students and teachers could vote for the best contribution. The winner was awarded with a gift voucher of 120€, to be spent at the reprography of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

After the symposium, feedback was asked to the students by interviewing a representative number of them. The gathered information revealed the huge success of this initiative. Students’ motivation to face both General and Inorganic Chemistry courses was evidenced. Almost 100% of asked participants expressed their wish to repeat the experience if carried out in the next academic year. Students also were benefited from acquiring new competences according to the objectives of the symposium such as doing a collaborative project, performing scientific research, elaborating a critical opinion or delivering results. On the other hand, teachers introduced a new active learning tool that positively increased the understanding of students into chemistry related areas, interacting by means of a multidisciplinary approach.