DEVELOPING SKILLS IN STUDENTS OF 4TH YEAR FOR THE DEGREE IN CHEMISTRY USING A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE

The development of skills for the transmission of scientific knowledge is one of the general objectives of the Chemistry Degree at the University of Extremadura. In an attempt to reach this objective a group of twelve lecturers (involved in lecturing in this Degree) and nine PhD students were proposed to help students to develop the following transversal competence: “Capacity for analysis and synthesis; Organization and planning; Expression both oral and written; Communicate in a clear and precise way, the knowledge and findings to both specialist and non-specialist public”.

As the twelve lecturers are experts in Chemistry, we think that students could develop the capacity for analysis and synthesis, as well as written communication by summarizing scientific articles. To fulfill this purpose, firstly, the student had to summarize the most important aspects of the article in a maximum of one written page; and, secondly, s/he had to make an audiovisual presentation to explain the article in a maximum of 8 minutes. For the evaluation of both, the audiovisual presentation and the summary, the team (lecturers + students) developed a rubric.

Once students had completed the two tasks, the team proceeded to correct both documents using the rubrics and next an individualized report was written for each student highlighting the most positive aspects and those to be improved.

Thereafter, the scores obtained for the students were analyzed. When the scores obtained for the students in the audiovisual presentation were compared, it was observed that most students got a score comprised between 6 and 8.5 out of 10, and only four students failed (i.e., they had scores below 5). Hence, it can be concluded that the results are acceptable, but should be improved. However, in the case of the summary, the analysis of the scores revealed that 76% of students did not fulfill the minimum requirements such as the maximum length of the abstract (one page) and, on the other hand, for the remaining 24% the highest score was 7.17, which shows the low capacity of understanding and synthesis of the students in general.

In the coming days the students will make a second summary and audiovisual presentation. The members of the team hope they have taken note of their individualized reports and rubrics and they will apply what they have learnt. The results will be compared and conclusions will be presented.

Acknowledgments:
The team is grateful to Servicio de Orientación y Formación Docente (SOFD, Project C_2015_63) and the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Extremadura for financial support.