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Education Office Newsletter - March 2013
05.03.13 - It is with great pleasure that the Educational Affairs Department brings you the winter’s news in this sixteenth Newsletter. As usual, we have also welcomed news items from International Relations and the Dean’s Offices for education.
On behalf of DAF I wish you a pleasant read!
Teaching Support Center within the Educational Affairs Department
This February, the senior management has approved the establishment of a Teaching Support Center / "Centre d'appui à l'enseignement" (CAPE) within the Educational Affairs Department as from 1 April 2013. This unit will be coordinated by Mr Roland Tormey, supported by the current CRAFT Teaching Advisors, Mss Ingrid Le Duc, Siara Isaac, Nadine Stainier and Mr Jean-Louis Ricci.
The CAPE will take its assignments from the Deans of the Bachelor/Master and Doctoral schools as well as the Director of Educational Affairs. It will follow the strategy developed by VPAA to ensure the quality of education at EPFL through an approach specific to each School and to each study curriculum.
The future CAPE website will provide further information about the centre’s tasks and missions.
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Commitment Towards the Proper Citing of Sources Used in Written Work - Fighting Plagiarism
Since 1 January EPFL has introduced two new directives to remind students and scientists of the rules to correctly cite and reference information sources.
These directives also set out the limits to be observed so as to avoid any instance of plagiarism.
The Mediacom department is launching a communication campaign during the spring term in order to raise the awareness of EPFL students to the care with which they should use any sources.
The library also organises workshops to teach students and researchers how to correctly cite sources.
Directive concerning the citing and referencing of sources in written work submitted by students
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New Courses for Lecturers at the Language Centre
The EPFL Language Centre was entrusted by the Educational Affairs Department with introducing new courses for lecturers who wish to perfect their English or French language skills in in order to teach under optimum conditions. Two additional modules focusing on lecturers’ specific requirements have been introduced:
• Teaching academic content through English (for non-English speakers). This module is aimed at all non-English speakers who are required to teach in English (prerequisite level B2 and over).
• Teaching academic content through French (for non-French speakers). This module is aimed at all non-French speakers who are required to teach in French (prerequisite level B1 and over).
These two new courses may be combined with individual coaching from the Language Centre.
The Language Centre also offers a new course specifically dedicated to PhD students with teaching assignments in French. This course offers similar training to that provided to lecturers and includes individual coaching.
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Tuesday 5 March - Specialized Masters Day
The Study Programs Promotion Service (SPE) is organising an afternoon to introduce specialised master curricula.
This will include information sessions by the programme directors and information booths in the SG Hall.
This event is aimed more specifically at EPFL students currently in 2nd or 3rd year.
We hope that many of them will take this opportunity to find out about these interdisciplinary courses which they may take after their Bachelor’s degree.
Do encourage them to attend!
Detailed information: http://master.epfl.ch/journee-master
Some ten lecturers of the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Section participated in a pilot project to transmit notes and documents to the SAC during the last exam session. The new IS-Academia features provide a simple and effective mechanism enabling lecturers to enter their notes directly and upload the electronic version of exam reports. The pilot project was well received and this new process can now be extended to the rest of the faculty by the next exam session. This improvement will serve in particular to avoid double entries and to save on the printing and distribution of a few thousand sheets of notes and documents each year.
As for the statistics observatory, we have welcomed a new staff member, Ms Céline Ruegg, to complement the team while Ms Aline Stampfli is away on maternity leave. Business Object training resumed in 2013 with several courses delivered early this year. Requests for analyses and data extraction remain numerous and a project is ongoing so as to identify and analyse the most decisive indicators regarding 2013-2014 student numbers.
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Information to Students about Academic Requirements
The survey on student services conducted in the first week of November 2012 highlighted that students consider it difficult to find specific information on the website and to access information about academic prerequisites and, particularly, about pass requirements.
Educational Affairs have therefore established a working party to remedy the situation by improving the visibility and communication of such information as well as the search for information on the website.
The working party is made up of one representative each for Mediacom, the Sections, the Director of Educational Affairs and the students.
For further information: email@example.com
Harmonisation of the Foundation Year
The Section Directors' Conference has been working to harmonise course contents for the Bachelor 1st year. A polytechnic package of about 2/3 of courses has been developed. This includes courses in general physics, calculus and linear algebra, chemistry and biology and ICC (Information-Computation-Communication). SHS training will become courses in “global challenges” to enable all our students to become familiar with notions of mobility, health, communication, climate, energy and food. The remaining third of the package will be made up of courses specific to each Section or School. This harmonised package is ready for introduction at the start of the academic term in September 2013, subject to approval by our senior management.
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Teachers in EPFL are extremely positive about their teaching, according to the data in the ATMOS II survey. This matches the positive way in which students also responded to teaching through the 2011 Campus Survey.
Teachers who responded to the survey strongly agreed that they were proud and pleased to teach in EPFL and that their teaching allows them to use their creativity and to express their skills. Interestingly, three-quarters see the IS-Academia indicative evaluation system as positive, regarding it as providing them with useful information. This broadly matches the students’ description of the quality of education at EPFL: in the 2011 Campus survey 76% saw education here as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, and 97% saw it as ‘good’ or better.
According to ATMOS II, computing facilities and rooms for teaching are highly regarded by a majority. Yet, while they are positive about their own teaching, only half of teachers agree that teaching is well recognised and taken into account in promotions.
The ATMOS II survey of EPFL staff was conducted in summer 2012. It included a range of questions specifically directed at teachers. In total, 613 teachers responded to these questions, including 115 external chargé(e)s de cours.
Increased Cooperation with Singapore
In September 2012 EPFL signed an agreement with ASTAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) in Singapore. The objective of this major institution is to support the development of the biomedical industry in Singapore. The agreement signed for five years introduces the ALP Initiative, offering EPFL PhD candidates an opportunity to spend two of their four years of doctoral training in Singapore (based on the 1+2+1 model).
Singaporean PhD students pre-selected by ASTAR will be funded by this agency throughout their PhD curriculum and other participants in the programme will receive a wage supplement during their stay in Singapore.
Participation in the ALP Initiative implies that the EPFL thesis supervisor should develop a joint project with an ASTAR scientist to integrate the thesis research. The themes covered by the agreement chiefly relate to the life sciences, but also to engineering, physics and mathematics.
EDOC is in charge of implementing this initiative, and the director for EPFL is Professor Yann Barrandon.
In conjunction with this initiative, a special “Singapore Day” will be organised at EPFL on 21 March by International Relations, in cooperation with the Singapore Swissnex and Contact Singapore – a Singaporean entity for the country’s promotion.
EuroTech Universities to Launch MOOCs in Continuing Education
The partners in EuroTech Universities (EPFL, DTU, TU/Eindhoven and TU Munich) are about to put their wish for a joint offer of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in continuing education into concrete form.
On the occasion of a workshop organised at EFPL by International Relations on 6 and 7 February, in cooperation with CRAFT and EPFL-UNIL continuing education, the partners identified two potential joint themes in line with the missions of EuroTech Universities: Green Tech and Life Sciences. An editorial coordination group with partners from all four universities is being put together and a call for proposals will shortly be made to faculty. Several issues remain to be clarified and defined, but the joint determination to launch the first course in September 2013 is there.
Information: International Relations, email@example.com
Singapore-India-China Information Sessions
In cooperation with the relevant Swissnexes, the EPFL International Relations are organising three information sessions on
Thursday 21 March at the EFPL Rolex Forum
• 09:30-10:45 Singapore
• 11:00-12:30 India
• 12:30-13:15 Lunch
• 13:30-16:00 China
Everyone is welcome to attend the meetings. Kindly register with firstname.lastname@example.org
Content, adjusted to each country:
• Evolution and trends in education, research and tech transfer
• What swissnex does for Swiss students and scientists
• Discussion and exchange about opportunities and projects.
In addition, for China a module will relate more specifically to the theme “innovation and social media”.
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