MOOCs vitalize the RESCIF network
17.04.17 - The Network of Excellence in Engineering Sciences of the French-speaking Community’s (RESCIF) goal is to create innovative and sustainable partnerships between 15 technological universities in 12 countries in Africa (five institutions in total, including three World Bank African Centers of Excellence), America (3 institutions), Asia (1), Europe (5) and the Middle East (1). The network, whose aim is sustainable development, promotes research and training via partnerships.
RESCIF’s key achievements - in addition to various agreements, several bilateral research projects and a number of training courses and summer schools - are its joint laboratories and MOOCs.
Four joint laboratories already created or under development
- CARE: The Asian Center for Water Research was the first and is the most advanced.
- CURES: The University Research Center on Energy for Health Care is located in Cameroon.
- CESAM: The Center for Studies on Food Security and the Development of Functional Molecules is currently under development. Six partners have already expressed interest.
- CRAPU: The Center for Research and Support for Urban Policies, currently under development, will most likely be located in Port-au-Price, Haiti.
MOOCs Africa: the driving force behind RESCIF’s MOOC initiative
Because of the partners’ strong interest in them, MOOCs, and African MOOCs in particular, have breathed new life into the RESCIF network. The MOOCs Africa program, launched by EPFL, with the support of its partners (the Swiss cooperation and the Edmond de Rothschild foundation) is now the driving force behind RESCIF's MOOC initiative. The program allowed for the partial or total financing of roughly 40 MOOCs, the development of 13 collaborative MOOCs involving 22 partners (including 11 from the RESCIF), training for more than 65 professors and technicians among our partner institutions and the creation of MOOCs competency centers in Africa. It was also the source of several promising future innovations, including the first MOOC certifications, the creation of MOOC specializations and support from certain partners in adapting and modernizing pedagogical approaches.
Internships for students with Etu-RESCIF
Last but not least, we would like to mention the students’ RESCIF, Etu-RESCIF, an association that brings together students from member institutions, whose main activity is organizing workshops during RESCIF initiatives for students of member institutions.
The EPFL’s role?
The EPFL was clearly the driving force behind the creation and development of the RESCIF; it chairs the network while the CODEV presides over the General Secretariat and liaises with partners. With regard to its activities, the EPFL is still co-leader of one of the joint laboratories (CURES) and an important partner in the other three (CARE, CESAM and CRAPU). Given its vast experience, it is at the forefront as far as MOOCs are concerned. At the network level, the EPFL has created a real momentum, a climate of trust between the partners, and the desire to grow together. This is reflected in the network’s dynamics, which initially were somewhat EPFL-dependent. Nowadays, initiatives come from all sides, which makes us optimistic for the network’s future.