University of Malaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2995-3002
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.0686
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Chemical Engineer is a specialised technician who focussed their work in production processes in the field of Chemical Industry and related sectors. Their tasks include design, estimation, development, building, implementation and handling of equipment and installations in which the appropriate transformations are operated to obtain certain products and results. Consequently, Chemical Engineering (CE) Graduates must acquire a solid knowledge in basic and technological science. Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional methodology particularly useful for engineering students. This methodology encourage students to work in teams, with the aim of designing a project capable of solving typical engineering problems. In this sense, they assume different roles, exchange information and learn how to do it, as the same time as they do it. At the end of the project, they demonstrate how it works. For ensuring a deep learning, the project must be designed, implemented and operated by previously trained students.

This work analyses the implementation of an educational innovation project, Arduino-PBL-on-CE, based on the use of Arduino microcontrollers to enhance the development of teamwork and technological capabilities skills on CE students. This experience is focussed on the students of second semester of the third course of CE degree in the subject “Experimentation in Chemical Engineering II (ECE 2)”. This subject has essentially lab sessions, which allows the implementation of hand-on work and comprises 5 laboratory working blocks, in which students develop and implement their knowledge in “Chemical Reaction Engineering” and “Unit Operations”.

In the Arduino-PBL-on-CE proposal, the students working in pairs have to design and, subsequently, build a laboratory practice related to the water treatment process block, using low-costs Arduino kits, which consists of easy-to-use sensors and actuators, in the framework of PBL methodology.

This contribution reports the preliminary pilot experience as the first step in the roadmap to full deployment of the Arduino-PBL-on-CE project. In this context, a group of students has raised a simplified version of the proposed final laboratory sessions. They have used Arduino devices (sensors and actuators) while working in teams under the PBL methodology. The feedback achieved from the experience has allowed to improve the design of the Arduino-PBL sessions to be implemented during the next year.
Arduino, project-based learning, chemical engineering laboratory.