InternationalChemistryCurriculum - PRACTICE...

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PRACTICE | Chemistry Education Research and Practice Internationalisation of the chemistry curriculum: two problem-based learning activities for undergraduate chemists Tina L. Overton and John S. Bradley Received 8th October 2009, Accepted 24th November 2009 DOI: 10.1039/C005356M In this paper we describe the development and evaluation of two activities for delivery in first year B.Sc. and M.Chem. degree courses, in which we introduced an international context representing either a linguistic or a cultural modification to the previously developed case studies. The case studies focus on an industrial and an environmental scenario. The industrial scenario was recast within a site based in India, whilst the environmental scenario introduced material in several European languages. Evaluation of student attitudes before and after the engagement with the activities suggest that their attitudes towards working in a non-UK environment and towards language learning had become more positive. Keywords: context and problem-based learning, internationalisation Introduction The traditional physical sciences curriculum, as developed in the first half of the 20th century, was appropriate to the level of cognitive development of the 7 – 10% of 18 year olds that entered university in the 1960s. The curriculum reflected the state of knowledge and ongoing research in each subject, but pedagogical techniques remained essentially the same throughout this time. However, in the past two decades both rising aspirations and the policy-mandated expansion of participation in university education has raised tertiary level enrolment to 50% of that age group. In the middle of the 20 th century it was a given that the 7- 10% of 18-year-olds selected for admission to university had reached a stage of cognitive development characterised by the transition from concrete to formal thinking, and the physical sciences curriculum, the methods for its delivery and for the evaluation of students at that time were appropriate to that level of cognitive ability. This assumption is no longer valid for the larger proportion of that age group who currently enter tertiary education (Childs, 2009). Selection criteria have been relaxed to promote the admission of a greater proportion of that age group and of mature students, with a consequentially wider range of cognitive development. In addition, recent studies by Shayer et al. (2003) have demonstrated an unexpected fall in the level of cognitive development among 11-12 year old students compared to 1976, and this age group is currently feeding through to first-year undergraduates. As a consequence of both these developments, the change in the level of cognitive development of first-year undergraduates in comparison to their counterparts in the 1960s requires the application of alternative teaching and learning techniques. This was formally proposed recently by Childs (2009)
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course PHYS 6198 taught by Professor Cohor during the Summer '10 term at LSU.

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InternationalChemistryCurriculum - PRACTICE...

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