A COLLABORATIVE LEARNING METHODOLOGY USING THE TEACHING PLATFORM MOODLE IN SOIL SCIENCE
In traditional learning-teaching methodology, students used collaborative learning methods by studying in groups for the preparation of exams, solving exercises or problems, understanding formulation, etc. This spontaneous way of collaborative or cooperative form of study facilitating the learning process has been done during years, with no teacher’s involvement. In a way, the teacher´s role is assumed by the students, where teaching and learning from others was more enjoyable, and the learning process became more creative and efficient. Along these lines individual doubts shared with others, developed skills, abilities, capacities, to solve problems, understand theories, and enriched the group and the individuals for better learning. However, not all students participate in this way of learning, sometimes, because of excessive individualism, shyness, high competitiveness, foreign students, not well integrated in their class, etc.
The replacement of this spontaneous collaborative work undertaken by students, out of the academic institutions, may be done, with the aid of the teacher so that all students can participate in an active way. Nevertheless it is important to place the student as the main actor of the teaching-learning process.
Collaborative working models in education generate changes in the teacher-students roles. The teacher acts as a guide, offering detailed instructions to students on how to develop an assignment or a homework, and students following the guidelines established by the teacher, must work in a collaborative way to learn, becoming not only responsible of their individual learning but also of the learning of the rest of the group.
This paper shows the experience of different teachers of Soil Science in the use of collaborative working methodology in the classroom at the University with the aid of the virtual teaching platform known as Moodle. This virtual platform facilitates the cooperation between the students, through “sharing spaces”, where students can interact with each other, place documents that are “open” to the rest of the students, so that each student can see the work of the others and can contribute in improving the learning-teaching process.
The objective of this project was to make students able to work individually and as members of a team, teaching their classmates a particular topic, freely selected from the course content, and giving ideas and practical solutions to a given set of questions. Throughout this work, students developed the capacity and ability to execute activities that enriched not only their individual learning but also the learning of the rest of their classmates, through the individual oral lectures in the classroom, and discussions. Debates were more active when students had a written form of the lecture beforehand. All the lectures and the contributions from students, suggestions, etc…, were compiled as studying material included as part of the final exam. It is pretended that the teacher is one more of the working team helping the student in this collaborative work but only under request. The intervention of the teacher should be minimum, the least possible so that students feel the responsibility of the learning of the rest of their classmates.