About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6103-6109
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain


N. Rojo, A. Elias, M.A. Corcuera, A. Eceiza

Universidad del País Vasco (SPAIN)
Research-based education promotes “Learning by Doing” as an effective method for undergraduate education. Moreover, students are more motivated to explore topics and increase their level of understanding when they are confronted with authentic projects. Besides acquiring new technical knowledge, using this educational approach students also gain experience in transversal skills such as collaborative work, critical thinking or oral communication. Moreover,
A teacher guided pedagogical research project was designed in order to engage students with research and inquiry. The research-based learning approach was implemented in a Biotechnology course, given in the third year of the Environmental Engineering BS Degree at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The instructors conducting this learning activity are members of a highly experienced research group on the biotreatment of industrial gas emissions in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.
The research project was entitled Biomass quantification in biological systems, and was designed based entirely on the professional experience of the instructors. The main technical objectives of the project were to acquire knowledge related to biomass quantification in biological systems, and to propose an experimental procedure to be implemented at a wastewater treatment plant as a tool for process control.

The research-based educational approach was implemented in several consecutive steps or sessions:
- In the first session, the project to be developed was presented and discussed: Biomass quantification as a tool for biological processes control. The fifteen students were divided into five groups (three students in each group), and the main tasks and deadlines were defined.
Task 1. Information search and selection of the most suitable biomass quantification technique for biological processes control.
Task 2. Lab-scale experiment: planning.
Task 3. Lab-scale experimentation. Critical discussion of the results and the suitability of the selected technique.
Task 4. Oral presentation of the project´s highlights and main conclusions.

- In the second session, each group presented a brief state of the art summarizing the available biomass detecting and quantifying methods. Based on the concepts learned, each group described the most suitable technique for the proposed application to classmates and teachers (results of Task 1). The proposed techniques were analyzed and discussed, and the most suitable was selected.

- In the third session each group proposed a lab-scale experiment for testing the previously selected biomass quantification technique. The advantages and disadvantages of all the proposals were evaluated and a joint experimental plan was defined.

- The theoretical concepts learned during Tasks 1 and 2 were applied in a laboratory session (Task 3). The results obtained were critically discussed.
- In the last session, each group summarized the highlights of the project in an oral presentation (Task 4), which was discussed and subsequently evaluated by both peers and lecturers.
Results obtained both in the theoretical and the experimental tasks were very successful. Students found the knowledge acquirement process extremely valuable. Sharing information among groups in oral presentations helped to identify problems and areas that required further study or the lecturer´s assistance.
author = {Rojo, N. and Elias, A. and Corcuera, M.A. and Eceiza, A.},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {6103-6109}}
AU - N. Rojo AU - A. Elias AU - M.A. Corcuera AU - A. Eceiza
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 6103
EP - 6109
ER -
N. Rojo, A. Elias, M.A. Corcuera, A. Eceiza (2014) RESEARCH-BASED EDUCATION: BIOMASS QUANTIFICATION IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 6103-6109.