1 University of Valencia (SPAIN)
2 Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
3 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 2429-2436
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
The module 'Biologia' (Biology for students in the Chemistry degree) was recently established at the University of Valencia, aiming to promote the relevance of several biological concepts and methods in non-biological fields. The project involves teachers from different departments, and therefore a common tool is required to facilitate and expedite the communication between all members of the project and, at the same time, serve as a forum for discussion and dissemination of ideas among students. We have chosen the blog for its relative simplicity and speed of learning of the basic tools for creating and publishing content. Blogs, a contraction of the words web and log, is a type of website with regular entries of commentaries or news. Blogs provide the functionality that enables people to publish their opinions easily online, so that one of the primary reasons for the adoption of blogs is that they are quick to setup and easy to use, requiring absolutely no programming knowledge or HTML skills.

In addition, we present the blog as a motivator for students, which get feedback from both the teacher and classmates. The student, by publishing content on the blog, develops general skills such as the ability to synthesize, criticise and select information. Moreover, the blog acts as a motivator of learning because students can experience the advantages of interactive communication in real time with other students involved in the project. Nowadays, students from all over the world have access to the world wide web and thus lots of information sources are competing for their attention. By linking the blog to several social-networking web sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter), we further engage students to developing the module contents outside the lecture room. As our students’ world changes, so too must the methods by which we teach and address our students.

In the present contribution, we introduce the blog developed for the module 'Biologia' for Chemistry students. By presenting the basic and supplementary content of a course in a blog, the information can be constantly updated in the same way the materials used in the classroom are available any time in a blog. Thus the communication between teacher and students is encouraged through comments and participation, making it easier to know the interest of students on certain issues. A blog also allows for the analysis and discussion of certain subjects not covered in the syllabus. This is of utmost importance when teaching biological concepts to students with a non-biological background.

Future actions should focus on improving synergies and transversality between topics. We expect to define the best procedures for collecting the students' input and its analysis. Furthermore, we hope to include the possibility of assessing the effect of teaching innovation made in student learning in the evaluation of the subject. The authors believe that involving students in a common project by active networking will improve the quality of the teaching-learning process at the University of Valencia and elsewhere.
Web, Blog, networking, Biology.