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International Journal of Engineering Education ; 38(5):1595-1605, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2101726


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes in learning methodologies at all educational levels, including higher education. Under these circumstances, one of the most difficult challenges to face is to approach practical and laboratory learning at university when students' attendance to the physical laboratory space is restricted. The future graduates of Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology are appealed to master many instrumental techniques related to this field. The article describes the scaffolding actions carried out to successfully adapt onsite laboratory sessions to virtual ones and evaluate the students' perception about the contribution of the online methodologies to the practical skills of bioprocess engineering. Two voluntary groups of students were formed, one to attend the practical lessons on site and the other online. The suggested scaffolding was structured in four different types of materials and resources: screencasts, pedagogical articles, calculation sheet templates and online assessment tests. Students' perception was collected by means of an e-questionnaire. About 70% of students thought the online platform allowed them to follow the practical tasks in a way equivalent to face-to-face teaching and 62.1% found that online model presents more advantages than disadvantages than the onsite model. 85.7% of students considered that practical tasks highly contributed to their capacity of solving complex problems and master mathematical tools, while 65.7% of them associated the practical task with their availability to understand the principles of bioengineering. However, 40% of them thought that the online model satisfactorily contributes to the acquisition of these specific skills.