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ECTN Working group Developing Independent Learners in Chemistry. Report Madrid Meeting 24-26 March 2006 Nata š a Brouwer Universiteit van Amsterdam. ECTN Annual Conference & ECTN Association Meeting 2006. life long learning. Eurobachelor competences. Eurobachelor students will.

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Ectn working group developing independent learners in chemistry

ECTN Working groupDeveloping Independent Learners in Chemistry

Report Madrid Meeting

24-26 March 2006

Nataša Brouwer

Universiteit van Amsterdam

ECTN Annual Conference & ECTN Association Meeting 2006

Eurobachelor competences

life long learning

Eurobachelor competences

Eurobachelor students will

  • have the ability to gather and interpret relevant scientific data and make judgements that include reflection on relevant scientific and ethical issues

  • have the ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to informed audiences

  • have competences which fit them for entry-level graduate employment in the general workplace, including the chemical industry

  • have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to undertake further study with a sufficient degree of autonomy

Focus of the madrid meeting
Focus of the Madrid Meeting

  • organisation of education process

  • didactics (art of teaching)

  • assessment

  • computers and ICT

Organisation of education process
Organisation of educationprocess

  • How does the education process have to change?

  • What is the role of the teacher?

  • When should the development process begin?

  • Who is involved in developing independent learners?

Educational process
Educational process



  • separated working forms

  • guided tutorials

  • closed experiments

flexible educational process

Three actors in developing independent learners




responsibility for own development

teaching methods that stimulate independent learning

dissemination of good practices


facilitation of educational change

teachers training

support: experts and funding

recognition of innovative teacher

Three actors in developing independent learners

2 didactics art of teaching
2. Didactics (art of teaching)

  • Which teaching methods support the independent learning process?

  • How can practical courses help to develop independent learners?

  • Which skills need attention?

Teaching methods
Teaching methods

  • interactive teaching approaches

    • integration of traditional teaching methods

    • open assignments, group work

  • problem oriented learning

  • scaffolding

  • research oriented lab courses

  • competence oriented teaching

    • knowledge, skills, attitudes

    • reflection and metacognition

Good practice studio course
Good practice: Studio course

UvA, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Good practice problem solving
Good practice: Problem solving

  • cooperative learning in problem solving

    • group work

    • problem solver, sceptic, checker and recorder

    • rotation of roles

  • concept maps

  • positive interdependence

  • individual accountability: share of the work and mastering all material

  • face-to-face interaction

  • interpersonal skills: leadership, decision-making, communication and conflict management

  • self-assessment / reflection of group functioning

Department of Material and Earth Science, Polytechnic University of the Marche, Italy

Skills that need attention
Skills that need attention

Two documents in Bologna process

  • report of the project Tuning Educational Structures in Europe:

    • generic competences

    • subject-specific skills

    • cognitive abilities

  • The ECTN working group on Core Practical Skills (1999) defined the practical skills including working to deadlines, report writing, safety awareness and team work

    Working group: Developing independent learners in chemistry

  • generic competences and subject-specific skills and cognitive abilities should be developed during the subject-specific courses

  • from the first year of study

  • study skills include time management skills, thinking skills, working with others, and reflection skills needs attention

Focus of the madrid meeting1
Focus of the Madrid Meeting

  • Organisation of education process

  • Didactics (Art of teaching)

  • Assessment

  • Computers and ICT

3 assessment
3. Assessment

  • Does the assessment process need to be adapted?

  • How can the problem of heterogeneous pre-knowledge of students be approached?

Assessment strategies
Assessment strategies

  • assessment strategies reflect the changes in teaching methods and integration of skills

  • competence based

  • self assessment

  • peer assessment

    more flexible curriculum

  • heterogeneous pre-knowledge

Pre knowledge

  • heterogeneous pre-knowledge

  • lack of pre-knowledge in mathematics a problem in chemistry courses

    brush up on pre-knowledge

  • student takes the responsibility

  • flexible

  • university makes opportunities at different stages in the curriculum

  • teachers and peers give feedback

Good practice students maths learning centre
Good practice: “Students’ Maths Learning Centre“

  • a drop-in centre that provides assistance with Maths

  • on line support system

  • encourages students to become independent autonomous learners

Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

Good practice brushing up with the web project
Good practice: “Brushing Up With the Web project“

  • joint project of three Dutch universities

  • flexible approach, different educational scenario’s

  • ICT

  • Special Interest Group on Math pre-knowledge

    Example Quantum chemistry:

  • just in time brush up on pre-knowledge in mathematics

  • regular self-assessment of pre-knowledge

  • on-line tests based on computer algebra

  • feed back on the process by the teacher

  • extra help by a tutor

UvA, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Good practice brushing up with the web project1
Good practice: “Brushing Up With the Web project“

UvA, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

4 computers and ict
4. Computers and ICT

The role of computers and ICT

  • communication synchronous, asynchronous

  • on line collaboration

  • resources: information management, literacy skills

  • computers as tools: simulations, modeling, solving real life open problems

  • tests and surveys, self-study quizzes

  • electronic learning platforms, 24/7 principle

Good practice european virtual seminar
Good practice: “European Virtual Seminar“

  • 16 universities

  • cases about sustained development in Europe

  • interdisciplinary groups

  • on line collaboration

Universities in Europe


I. Organisation of education process

  • education process changes from teacher-directed to student-directed

  • three actors are involved in this process: the student, the teacher and the faculty

  • development of independent learners begins in the first year of the programme of study

  • more recognition for the teacher and extra funding


II. Didactics

  • interactive learning approach, problem based and inquiry based learning

  • competence oriented and self directing education process

  • development of the generic and subject-specific skills integral part of the subject-specific courses.

  • feed back from teachers, coaches and peers on the development

  • scaffolding teaching strategy, especially in the first study year.

  • reflection and metacognition


III. Assessment

  • shift to competence based assessment

  • project reports and presentations on outcomes also part of the assessment process

  • concept mapping

  • special attention for heterogenic background knowledge


IV. Computers and ICT

  • access according to 24/7 principle

  • information management and literacy skills within subject-courses

  • different online resources including primary literature (evaluation of quality and relevance)

  • computers as research tools: real and more complex open problems.

  • time and place independent communication with peers, teachers and experts

  • online collaboration in interdisciplinary groups

  • online diagnostic tests to assess pre-knowledge

The working group
The working group

  • Dr Bill Byers: University of Ulster (Group Leader)

  • Prof Carlaxel Andersson Lund University

  • Dr Natasa Brouwer University of Amsterdam

  • Prof Liberato Cadellini Universita Politecnica delle Marche

  • Dr Peter Childs University of Limerick

  • Dr Odilla Finlayson Dublin City University

  • Dr Claire McDonnell Dublin Institute of Technology

  • Dr Ilka Parchmann University of Oldenburg

  • Prof Jesus Santamaria Complutense University, Madrid

  • Prof Kristiina Wahala University of Helsinki

  • Dr Hazel Wilkins Robert Gordon University

  • Dr Jonny Woodward University of Leicester