September 23, 2014

From the French Side: ‘Propulsing’ Distance Education in Philosophy and Beyond!

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

Among the French articles and real-life stories appearing in our French service over the last two months, some have been translated, but among those that weren’t to date are a number of great reads. Bernard Vallée’s account of his online course in Philosophy for Cegep@distance is inspiring, and our French editor Martin Parrot’s overview of Philosophy resources in Profweb both make for very interesting reading for Humanities teachers.

Interestingly enough, the article deals with a few topics that illustrate why there are two linguistic services in Profweb. Some topics just don’t translate!

Daniel Tremblay, an Administration teacher at Collège Maisonneuve, talks about Propulse in the real-life story ”La collaboration électronique pour la réussite des projets étudiants”. Propulse is discussed as a free alternative to management software like MS Project, although it is limited in its use of Gantt Charts. Remember those? The advantage of Propulse is that it’s free, but it’s only available in French. This is why there are two linguistic services in Profweb.

Another French-only article is our Digital Tool entry on Diapason. Although only available in French, it inspired the development of the resource Unlocking Research in our English edition.

Our story by Bernard Vallée of Cégep à distance. “A Multimedia Approach in a Distance Philosophy Course” (Une approche plurimédia dans un cours à distance de philosophie), however, holds its value across the linguistic divide.

The purpose of this story is to explain some of the technological and pedagogical principles (videos, interactive exercises, forums, comic strips) that have underpinned the development of a distance learning course in Philosophy. Distance learning allows students to acquire skills outside the traditional framework of a classroom, and without the physical presence of a teacher. The teaching / learning situation is mostly asynchronous and individualized. The student must be self-sufficient and the material produced is called self-supporting which is to say that all educational material, whether printed or online, contains all the necessary elements that are needed for the student to master the concept (competency?). Students have six months to complete a course and may contact their resource person at any time during that period.

Bernard Vallée received the mandate to completely redesign the course “Philosophy and rationality (Philosophie et rationalité).” As we know, philosophy is sometimes perceived by students as a tough subject, and furthermore a discipline that is not very useful. The mandate was twofold:

  • Redesign the course favoring a competency-based approach
  • Increase student motivation for a course in philosophy by proposing a meaningful, accessible and timely curriculum within the context of distance education.

Intrigued? You can link to the French text here. This story is on our English service’s list for translation, so if your French isn’t up to the task, it will be coming to the English service in the near future.

Perhaps inspired by the article by Bernard Vallée, Martin Parrot, one of our French editors, has produced an excellent snapshot of Profweb resources available in French dealing with the discipline of Philosophy. The article is a great read and has a lot of links to stories. Again, Humanities teachers in the English system might want to take a look at the article and some of its links for inspiration if their French is fluent enough. Having said that, we invite Humanities teachers to peruse our article on Humanities resources on the English side. These discipline-based summaries will become a regular feature on Profweb in both linguisitic editions.

Bonne lecture!

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