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M.A. Sanromán, M.A. Longo, M. Pazos

University of Vigo (SPAIN)
This work shows several teaching strategies carried out in the topic of bioreactors design that belongs to the subject Fermentation Process Engineering. This subject is in the fourth course of Biology degree specialty of biotechnology. The subject has 6.5 ECTS divided in 4 ECTS of master classes and 2.5 ECTS of lab practices. The topic of bioreactors design is developed during master classes (1 ECTS) and lab practices (1 ECTS).

The methodology developed for each master class is based on a PowerPoint presentation. The classroom has interactive whiteboard thus multimedia technologies can be used to improve the student learning. Often the understanding of this topic is difficult for students. For this purpose, it is proposed that the use of videos during the explanation could be very useful to clarify the differences between the types of reactors and the operational ways. Accordingly, several videos were linked in PowerPoint presentation during the class in order to explain these concepts. Videos of batch reactors, continuous reactors were showed to the student. Furthermore some real reactors their assembly and their operation way were showed. The videos are mainly in English thus, the presence of foreign languages in the classroom is included.

On the other hand, unstructured collaborative practices were accomplished during the lab classes. According to the cognitive elaboration view, explaining material to a peer is especially important for helping students remember new information and for relating it to their existing knowledge [1]. Thus, the lab practices were realized in pairs and there is no guide that establishes the experimental procedure to develop them. The lab practices were presented as a problem that the students have to solve. The teacher gives to each group the problem statement to solve in the lab practice. Therefore, the student’s theoretical and practical knowledge is combined with a search for information in scientific database.

[1] Yetter, G.; Gutkin, T.; Saunders, A.; Galloway, A.; Sobansky, R.; Song, S. Unstructured Collaboration Versus Individual Practice for Complex Problem Solving: A Cautionary Tale. The Journal of Experimental Education, 2006, 74(2), 137–159.