SOLVING PUZZLE-BASED PROBLEMS COLLABORATIVELY IN A CHEMISTRY SUBJECT IN THE DEGREE PROGRAM OF PHARMACY

E. Terrado, E. Langa

Universidad San Jorge (SPAIN)
Nowadays any professional is required to have collaborative work skills, which means she or he will have to interact with her/his colleagues nicely and efficiently. However, same-group members are not equally rewarded despite sharing the same goal.
The goal of this Project was to design, implement and evaluate a new method for team work based on solving puzzle-based problems collaboratively, which let us evaluate individual students’ contributions within the group while our students acquired the learning outcomes of Inorganic Chemistry successfully (1st semester in the Pharmacy Degree Program).

Students had to solve 3 different chemistry problems. These problems were similar to previous others already solved by the students in class but, this time, to solve the latter 3 problems, they needed the correct answer of the first problem (puzzle-based structure). Also the level of difficulty increased from the first to the last problem together with the number of the group members who worked on these problems (i.e., one member to solve the first problem, two members to solve the second and four members to solve the third).

This project was applied in two steps: the first after the first partial exam and the second before the second partial exam. The motive was to evaluate if solving puzzle-based problems collaboratively had an effect on the results of partial exams.

The assessment of this new method has two criteria: students’ acquisition level of team work competences (through teacher, self and peer-evaluation with rubrics) and the acquisition level of subject specific learning outcomes (through students’ marks obtained after teachers corrected the chemistry problems).