Chemistry in Context for engineering students at UCT: Transformation from a villain to a princess

The Universidad Catolica de Temuco (Araucania region, Chile) has experienced substantial changes in recent years: today, young people with a poor academic background, who are also digital natives, are enrolled in it. In this scenario, fostering deep learning in all students, the teachers have been given the task of implementing active learning methodologies with ICT incorporation. Specifically, the faculty that teaches 'Chemistry in Context' to engineering students decided to transform (re-design) of this course, which included the implementation of active learning strategies such as the flipped classroom, instead of traditional lectures, and guided inquiry to change the laboratory work. This article explains how the new strategies were implemented, and it shows results which were obtained by contrasting students' performance (based on the grades) before and after the transformation process. After the transformation, the approval rate nearly doubled and the dropout rate reduced from 40% to 17% in 2017. In the case of the laboratory work, although the tasks were more complex guided inquiry showed much better grades. These results can be attributed to the students working to build their learning, to the fact that the laboratory grade had a more significant percentage of the final grade and to the fact that students had to do all the experimental work as a mandatory activity otherwise they would fail the course. It was found that the flipped classroom will be successful if students value autonomous work and act accordingly.

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