New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Use of Learning Contract and Problem-Based Learning in a Metabolic Biochemistry Course for Undergraduates in Biology

Ángel Luis García-Ponce, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech (Spain)

Ángel Blanco-López, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech (Spain)

Ana Mª Rodríguez Quesada, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech (Spain)

Francisco J. Alonso Carrión, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech (Spain)

María Fernanda Suárez, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech (Spain)

Miguel Ángel Medina Torres, Universidad de Málaga (Spain)


Metabolic Biochemistry is a subject that is perceived as particularly difficult by our undergraduate students in Biology. In fact, all the contents of its syllabus should be properly interconnected by our students throughout their study of the subject in order to get a global insight of the complex regulatory features controlling metabolism as a whole and each metabolic pathway within the metabolic network under different physiologic and pathologic conditions. Due to these objective difficulties, a high percentage of our students face the study of this subject as a very hard task beyond their forces and capacities. This perception leads to high rates of premature dropout. In fact, in the academic years 2011/12-2014/15 less than 40% of all the registered students attended the examinations of Metabolic Biochemistry in the second year of the studies to achieve the Degree of Biology at our University. Even worse, less than 25% of our students passed the exams.

In the academic year 2015/16, we have begun an innovative teaching project (PIE15-163) aimed to increase our student loyalty to the subject (and hence to increase their attendance to exams) and to help them to learn more effectively metabolism and its regulation. This innovative teaching project is mainly based on the use of two powerful tools: a learning contract and problem-based learning within the framework of group tasks promoting an actual collaborative learning.

The present communication will show the implementation of the PIE15-163 project and the first results obtained from it.

[Supported by funds granted to PIE15-163, University of Málaga, Spain].


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[2] Berg, JM, Tymoczko, JL, Gatto Jr., GJ, Stryer, L. "Biochemistry" (8th ed). New York, WH Freeman and Co, 2015
[3] Voet, D, Voet, JG. "Biochemistry" (4th ed). Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, 2011
[4] Newsholme, E, Leech, T. "Functional Biochemistry in Health and Disease". Chichester, Wiley, 2010
[5] Chandel, NS. "Navigating Metabolism". Cold Spring Harbor, CSH Laboratory Press, 2015
[6] Barrows, HS, Tamblyn, RM. "Problem-Based Learning. An Approach to Medical Education". New York, Springer, 1981


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