University Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 4956-4965
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Recognition of the studies undertaken and the qualifications obtained is a preliminary condition for the creation of a single European area in the field of education where students and teachers can move freely without barriers. For this reason, the ECTS – the English acronym for European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System – was born, originally as a pilot project within the framework of the previous Erasmus programme, with the objective of promoting the academic recognition of studies undertaken abroad. Based on the pilot scheme results, the ECTS system has proved to be an effective instrument for creating curricula transparency and for facilitating academic recognition. The ECTS is now becoming much more prominent and is evolving to the extent of it becoming a permanent feature of the new European dimension of higher education. The new European credit system considers both the work the student does as part of the learning process and the attainment of a number of set objectives.

This new system includes a thorough modification of the credit concept, which has now shifted from the Spanish credit, the equivalent to 10 hours, to the European credit, the equivalent to 25–30 hours. To calculate the Spanish credit (which is still applied), only the hours that students attend lectures are taken into account, so credits reflect the number of hours the subject is expected to last. To calculate the European credit, it is necessary to consider:

• The number of hours that students attend lectures in the subject.
• The number of hours the subject is expected to last.
• The number of hours dedicated to preparation before and after each lecture.
• The number of hours students invest in working on their own (gathering and selecting study materials, preparing for examinations, doing assignments, independent laboratory work, etc.).

This work aimed to study the adaptation of three laboratory subjects – Advanced Laboratory Chemistry II, III and IV – taught in the chemistry degree at Universitat Jaume I (Spain) to the European convergence process. The time and effort invested by students to perform academic work and to study these subjects were evaluated through several questionnaires. Students’ work was continuously followed by the teacher during each laboratory session and through virtual classroom tutorials. All this information enabled the evaluation of students’ willingness to work and learn as part of this convergence process and the similarity of the ECTS calculated theoretically with those credits that students currently use.

This work has been supported by a project from USE (Unitat de Suport Educatiu, Universitat Jaume I).
ECTS, chemistry laboratory practices, chemistry degree, European Convergence Process.