471912 Information and Communication Technologies Use in Teaching Physical Chemistry Courses: Combining Virtual Traditional Teaching and Flipped Classroom Modalities
Besides the advantages escribed, VEP are often criticized in terms of the dehumanization of the educational experience, students must also develop self-teaching abilities and in most of the cases, the fear caused by the lack of faculty accompaniment is present.
In Chemical Engineering major, this practice is often derived to administrative or computational based courses. In this work we report the experience of teaching courses of the Physical Chemistry curriculum (Surface Phenomena and Chemical Reaction Kinetics). The lectures were carried out in virtual traditional teaching modality, performing synchronic sessions with the use of a conference broadcasting software. Students were able to interact with the teacher in real time and to solve exercises and equation derivations with the use of an electronic board.
Lectures were uploaded to moodle, which was also the mean by which information was shared i.e. solved problems, homework, exams and grading. The versatility of the experience allowed the teacher to share didactic material like related web-pages, lectures and videos, and to organize activities as a seminar, where students performed oral presentations in non-native language (English) to experts in the field which gave them in return: scientific feedback, advice and encouragement.
Physical chemistry courses face the complexity of the abstract nature of the concepts involved, as well as the derivation of equations and implementation of mathematical solving procedures. Despite seemingly a disadvantage, the virtual environment allowed the teacher to use visual materials for better understanding of concepts. Students were also motivated to do web-surfing which enhanced the self-learning experience. Advisory sessions were carried also online; during the lecture sessions the help of another professor was required to act as a moderator.
The experience received a grade of 9.4/10 from the students and higher authorities by means of the “institutional teacher evaluation”. In terms of educational achievement, grades reflect a normal distribution with similar average grade and fail index in comparison to that obtained in the same courses in previous years where the courses were lectured physically. Teachers of the following courses (Chemical Reactors Design) report similar educational achievement and good understanding of the required concepts.
As far as we know, these were the first semester courses performed completely in a virtual traditional teaching mode in the Chemical Engineering major in Mexico, this experience gives us the opportunity of programming new courses linking higher education institutions and also the ability of promoting more versatile programs for the future Chemical Engineering students.