Savine Volland and Agathe Hubert are educational engineers. Under the responsibility of the Information System and Digital Department, they support teachers in the transformation of their teaching methods and in the use of digital technology. In the video series "Rouages", produced by the University of Montpellier, they present their missions, real pillars of the modernisation of higher education.
In 2015, with the merger of the universities, the UM set up a team of educational engineers. Integrated into the Information System and Digital Department (DSIN), there are now six of them to support teachers in the transformation of their teaching methods through the use of digital technology. This team is reinforced by the presence of other engineers within the UFRs, schools and institutes. Our missions can be broken down into two main areas," explains Savine Volland. On the one hand, there is the purely educational approach and on the other, the technological dimension.
Boosting your lessons
First of all, from a pedagogical point of view, digital technology has of course revolutionised practices and opened up new ways of teaching. Today, face-to-face courses are only one of the possible modalities, " we can transform these courses to make them available at a distance. We can imagine hybrid forms in which part of the course takes place in a lecture hall and another part in a distance learning environment, or even a course in these two versions, which is what we call co-modal," explains Savine Volland.
But the use of digital tools is not always synonymous with distance learning. On the contrary, new mobile applications now make it possible to make lectures in lecture halls and classrooms more dynamic and attractive, by creating more interactivity between the teacher and the students or between the students themselves via chats or discussion forums. " At the UM, for example, we have a licence Wooclap which allows students to answer questions or vote for proposals with their mobile phones by SMS or via a browser, to take quizzes, to interact live with the teacher to ask for further explanations, etc."
From the teaching scenario to the online version on Moodle
Whether it is a distance or face-to-face course, the educational engineers are there to advise the teacher and help him or her set up a teaching scenario. " We will think with him about his objectives, the concepts and the messages he wants to convey to the students. We will also look at the resources available to them and those they would like to create, and with all this in mind, we will build the course with them," continues the engineer. The playfulness of lessons is also part of the arsenal of educational engineers with the development of serious games that are increasingly popular.
Video-conferences, virtual classes, exercises, games, scenarios with branches based on the model of "A book of which you are the hero ", digital version, e-learning modules with Storyline, assistance in writing and structuring content with SCENARIchaine... " We also have communication tools that allow teachers to contact their students more easily via announcements on forums, for example", stresses Agathe Hubert. In short, a very wide range of possibilities that more and more teachers are discovering via the Moodle platform.
This platform allows them to put their teaching resources online, to create assessable activities such as tests or essays," explains the engineer. Today there are about 2,500 teachers and over 44,000 students active on the platform. This is an evolution that the confinement has only accelerated, since during this period the pedagogical engineers have carried out six times as much support as in normal times. However, as Agathe Hubert points out, " we should not do digital because it is fashionable. Our objective is to provide added value for the teacher and the student .
Starting a mooc?
The educational engineers also support the teachers and the UFRs, schools and institutes in the design of the MOOCs, from the production of videos and materials to their posting on the national Funmooc platform. When we say Mooc, we necessarily mean "video", a novelty in the teaching profession that is not always easy to master. To assist them in this stage, the educational engineers work in close collaboration with the DSIN's audiovisual team. The department also provides all the necessary equipment: " We have a studio with a prompter and a green background to project documents. Teachers who wish to do so also have access to independent recording booths," says Agathe Hubert.
To benefit from the support of the UM's educational engineers, there are two possibilities: either individually and at your convenience, through the University's service centre. Or by responding to the call for projects launched annually by the University to encourage pedagogical transformation.