INFLUENCE OF COLLABORATIVE LEARNING ON STUDENTS ATTITUDES: COLLABORATION ACROSS DISCIPLINES AS A METHODOLOGY TO RECOGNIZE CHEMISTRY IN OUR DAILY LIVES
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Collaborative learning can be defined as students working together toward a common goal using well-structured assignments that can help guide a group of students to a particular learning outcome. A benefit of collaborative learning seems to be related to the attitudes of students having a positive effect on interpersonal relations, motivation and persistence in working on tasks.
The developed project involved 48 first-year students and the disciplines: maths, physics, inorganic, organic and analytical chemistry. Small work groups (4 students) were formed. Each working group selected one of the topics presented and developed a written document. To accomplish that, students had as specific roles: work coordination, information searching and writing. To generate interest, some specific topics concerning chemistry in our daily lives were presented to the students (i.e. environmental chemistry, food chemistry, cosmetics chemistry, etc). In addition, the groups gave short lectures presenting their most relevant findings to the rest class and a committee formed by the professors of the studied subjects. Their oral presentations were clear and provided enrichment opportunities to the other students. Many of the students were able to correctly answer any question related to their topic.
At the end of the project, students were asked to fill in an evaluation form that included statements to which they could agree or disagree and open-ended questions that allowed free responses. Students thought they assimilated more efficiently the involved concepts when working in groups suggesting positive comments on this methodology as a whole.
This methodology has provided an opportunity for first-year students to give an oral presentation and encourage them to think about chemistry taking place around them. Another benefit of this project is that the chemistry students´ knowledge has increased by connecting eight different disciplines. All these advantages together with additional ones will be discussed in the present paper.
Keywords: interdisciplinary activity, collaborative learning, work in groups, chemistry.