13.03.18 - For one year, they will set up on-site educational support for teachers at the Institut national polytechnique Houphouët-Boigny de Yamoussoukro (INP-HB) in the Ivory Coast, the École nationale supérieure polytechnique de Yaoundé (ENSPY) in Cameroon and the École supérieure polytechnique de Dakar (ESP-UCAD) in Senegal.

Recent attendees at the EPFL’s MOOCs Factory for a training session (Jan. 22-27), Désiré Magloire FEUGUENG, an expert in TICE training for higher education teachers and trainers, and Abdourahmane MBENGUE, a teacher-researcher in Sciences of Education at the Virtual University of Senegal and an expert in Remote Training Engineering, had the chance to immerse themselves in the world of EPFL MOOCs. They willingly accepted this interview in order to share their experiences of their visit to Switzerland.

What was the goal of your visit to the EPFL?
Désiré: Our visit to the EPFL had several aims. Getting to know the members of the program team we recently joined and will be involved with in a number of ways. Getting a clear idea of its progress and the actors involved, as well as of past and current challenges. Deciding what action to take this year to help meet the program’s key goal, namely "promoting the improvement of STEM teaching/learning by developing teacher support."

What will your role be as an expert?
Abdou: Mainly, developing the skills of teachers at the partner institutions in the use of digital resources, notably MOOCs; training 2-3 "relay" people in the area of educational engineering on each partner campus; teaching teams of teachers to design and produce digital content and MOOCs; providing proposals and initiatives for organizing the activities; and setting up workshops.

What’s your experience in this area of expertise?
Désiré: in 2010, I began participating in ICT for education (information and communication technologies for education) training for students and teachers in the Computer Science and Educational Technologies Department at ENS Yaoundé and the Faculty of Sciences of Education at the University of Yaoundé 1. It was mainly as part of collaborative projects that I really began working as an ICT for education expert, notably for the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.

Abdou: I’m an expert consultant and a lead trainer for the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, UNESCO, the ITU and several universities in Senegal and French-speaking Africa. I help higher education institutions set up distance learning platforms and develop teacher training workshops to integrate the use of ICT in teaching.

What stands out most for you with regard to your training at the EPFL?

Désiré: Working with teachers and professionals who have had hands-on experience in creating and using digital resources in university training. For example, I learned a university teacher can produce quality MOOCs that can be directly used for training students. I learned about the MOOC creation process and the tools necessary for doing so.

There’s a strong focus on teaching at the EPFL. Every effort is made to ensure the quality of the teaching. The institutional framework is designed to techno-pedagogically support teachers, as well as to evaluate them and their teaching, and to remedy issues.

What do you plan to do when you get back?
Désiré: The first thing I’ll do is help teachers and trainers consider new ways of using existing quality digital resources more effectively. Then, we’ll need to support volunteer teachers in the setting up innovative, jointly-developed teaching scenarios so as to better suit their educational needs, and even explore common themes for collaborative MOOCs that could be used for teaching at several universities.

Abdou: I’ll train and help as many African teachers as possible to produce MOOCs and integrate them in their distance learning programs, or in hybrid ways (e.g. reverse classes) in the classroom.

A personal anecdote about your first impression of the EPFL?
Desired: I’ll always remember what I saw the first time I arrived at the EPFL metro station: scientific formulas written on the walls, reminding us that we are in the “Temple of Science” and inciting every young student to add to them with one of their findings, and, in so doing, encouraging them to work towards this goal.

Abdou: I’ll always remember the goodwill and kindness of the Swiss, who are always there to lend a hand or provide information.

Experiences to follow soon on the MOOCs4DEV website!