González Fernández, Camino
Introducing Statistical Experimental Designs to Chemical and Industrial Engineering Using Collaborative and Problem Based Learning Approach.
In: "International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, EDULEARN10", 05/07/2010 - 07/07/2010, Barcelona, España. ISBN 978-84-613-9386-2.
This work describes the use of the Collaborative and Problem Based- Project Based Learning (PBL) methodology in a Statistical Experimental Design course for Chemical and Industrial Engineering students at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM). The objetives, motivation, and the roles of the teacher and the students in the classroom to get a better understanding of the concepts and examples are explained in detail.
Since 2000, there exists in our univesity (UPM) the aim to adapt the curricula to the European Education Framework agreed in Bolonia (1999). This implies modifications which influence among others the teaching methodology, with special emphasis in the self-learning, self-tutoring approach and teamwork.
We decided to introduce a Collaborative and PBL approach to convince and motivate the students on the usefulness of the subject they are learning, based in the essential role of real examples, problems and case studies. Besides, to create the students perception that statistics “tools” are an integrated whole rather than a collection of independent parts (closed-boxes) and it is really necessary in other disciplines. We consider these are the key points to the success.
The students work in groups of size three and the course is organized around seven tasks as follows:
Five main real problems, the analysis and peer review of one scientific article related with some items of the matter, and a project (their own experiment) the students are required to develop mainly in the laboratory of chemistry. At this point it is very important to remark the absolutely necessary collaboration of the teachers of the Chemistry Experimentation subject which provide students with solid technical and scientific training in chemisty. Students prepare a written report and a multimedia presentation as result of their own experimental design, because sometimes one member (randomly selected) of each group, is required to give a presentation of the work providing an additional assessment criteria
At the end, the problems, the article peer review and the project cover all the course objectives, and allow the students to integrated newly adquired knowlegde with prior knowlegde and experiences.
Different places are used during the course: Each week, to present the materials and the results, the traditional classroom is used (one hour a week). The rest of the time, two hours a week, students work in one of the collaborative classrooms available at ETSII. It contains round tables with three computers with 9 positions each. Therefore, each round table is occupied by three teams. During the last four years, we have experienced an increase in the number of students from 30 to 60 nowadays. We think that this is the maximum number of students to apply the current methodology.
An additional goal is evaluate the satisfaction of the students with the collaborative and PBL approach. The methodology for this evaluation is double: first, a qualitative study obtained from interviews with quality groups, integrated by the teacher and four students chosen by their classmates and volunteers and second, a quantitative study based on surveys among all the students to obtain a satisfaction indicator.