University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Analytical Chemistry (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1478-1486
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
For the last 6 years a group of professors at the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have been lecturing on “Chromatography and related techniques” with students at the 4th year of the Degree in Chemistry. Although the academic results obtained in this elective subject were satisfactory, a couple of years later, when the same students started a master thesis in our department, the knowledge in chromatography was completely unsatisfactory in most of the cases. Within this scenario and inside the ERAGIN project of the UPV/EHU, two members of the educational team of this subject were trained in problem-based learning in the year 2010-2011 and implemented the present project during 2011-2012. Through the driving question “Can we trust the food we find at the supermarket?” the students had to propose solutions to different tasks related to the analysis of different contaminants in food matrices. Among the tasks to be solved students had to:

1. Propose and justify a method for the analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish
2. Decide which sample introduction technique should the laboratory buy for the analysis of furane in coffee
3. Prepare a budget for the analysis of melamine in milk based in gas chromatography
4. Propose and justify a method for the analysis of clenbuterol, salbutamol and cimaterol in meat
5. Solve chromatographic problems observed in different chromatograms in their daily work

Working with this five daily life projects the students got training in chromatography without receiving any magisterial lecture. The overall results showed that the students were satisfied with this teaching methodology although they complained about time and effort required to learn chromatography using this approach. The academic results were as satisfactory as they were with the classical teaching methodology and, finally, in order to evaluate whether the students learned more or not, we should wait a couple of years and test it when the same students become master students at our department.
Project based learning, Analytical Chemistry, Chromatography.