Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Physiology 2016 (Dublin, Ireland) (2016) Proc Physiol Soc 37, PCA099

Poster Communications

Osmosis: A collaborative network learning experience from physiology, organic chemistry and physical chemistry viewpoints

C. Amat2,4, N. Llor1, Ò. Domènech3

1. Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. 2. Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. 3. Department of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Technology and Physicochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. 4. Food and Nutrition Torribera Campus, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Spain.


Undergraduate students usually achieve knowledge and skills in independent sealed compartments, making difficult to integrate and correlate the knowledge acquired. Moreover, learning is influenced by social interactions. Therefore, we think that virtual spaces where students interact and work together might give a benefit in the learning process, thus becoming more meaningful. We have designed and implemented a collaborative network learning activity based on the study of osmosis from the point of view of three different areas: Physiology, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. This activity has been undertaken with first year students of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Food Science and Technology. Students have learning activities about osmosis in the three subjects, based on practical sessions dealing with: i) osmotic fragility of erythrocytes; ii) relationship between the polarity of alcohols and time of hemolysis; iii) osmolality of sport drinks; iv) the experimental determination of the NaCl van't Hoff factor. In the activity, teams of four students are formed and they work with exercises, case studies and questions. In addition, they acquire the skills to work in a team group. Each group has a spokesperson that is the interlocutor with the teacher and participates in two mandatory tutoring sessions with the other speakers. The teacher acts as a guide and a facilitator of learning, following the methodology of flipped classroom. The final product of this activity is a wiki in a Moodle environment, which develops concepts of osmosis and tonicity and integrates knowledge from the three subjects. Conditions of the assessment are presented to the students prior the development of the activity and it is based on two elements: the rubric-1, which is used to carry out self-evaluation, co-evaluation and peer evaluation by teachers; and the rubric-2 that teachers use to assess the generic competence of team working. This activity is voluntary and students who take part receive a bonus in the final score of the three courses, depending on the quality of their work. This fully developed network task enables us to monitor the work made by the students and facilitates the occasional support of the teacher, when they need a specific guidance. In this pilot experience 77 students from a total of 160 participated in the learning activity. The final evaluation included a question related to the topic, being the score in the group of students that had participated in the activity much better than in the control group. This experience encourages us to continue setting up integrative activities with our students.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements