466263 Fluid Networks: From a Science-Based Training to a Learning Centered Pathway, a Collaborative Development Involving a Teacher and a Pedagogical Engineer

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 9:10 AM
Golden Gate 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Nathalie Veuillez, Université de Toulouse, Albi, France and Cendrine Gatumel, RAPSODEE, Ecole des Mines Albi, 81013 ALBI, France

Fluid networks: from a science-based training to a learning centered pathway, a collaborative development involving a teacher and a pedagogical engineer

N. Veuillez, C. Gatumel

University of Toulouse, centre RAPSODEE, Ecole des Mines d’Albi, campus Jarlard, 81013 Albi Cedex 09, France

cendrine.gatumel@mines-albi.fr / nathalie.veuillez@mines-albi.fr

The Ecole des Mines d’Albi of Toulouse University offers a master degree in process engineering with a mention on materials and energy in building sector. This communication deals with a course about fluid networks originally designed for the students training, that had to be adapted for apprentices.

Training in French engineering schools is three years long and lead to obtain a master degree. Students classically get into engineering schools after a two years intensive training based on fundamentals and have to pass a competitive entrance examination. They have excellent skills in mathematics and scientific matters. Since a decade, engineering schools offer a different way to obtain that degree under the form of sandwich courses. Engineer-apprentices get into school after a technical degree. They have more technical and practical skills than students but poorest abilities in fundamentals. Their training is three years long too but it combines a working experience in a company. While classical deductive approach is, if not the best but suitable for students, an inductive approach is preferable for the apprentices. We are also in presence of two populations with different ways of learning and two different-designed training who have to get to an identical master degree.

At this evolution’s kick off was a series of lectures about fluid mechanics, graph theory and numerical resolution completed with exercises in the form of tutorial classes. The teacher in charge of the evolution of this course was not the one who had created it and actually neither the new teacher nor the students were totally at ease with this three input subject course and its theoretical and linear approach. The new teacher was supported in this task by a pedagogical engineer, their shared diagnosis was: “The students feel the subject is important but difficult, highly academicals, they don’t make the connections between scientific fields, and their results are not that good”.

No revolution, but step by step, many changes, through an intensive, very pleasant and “fruitful” collaboration. Two principles underlay this work: the course has to make sense for the students, the “learning outcomes” have to become specific and clear; and the way of learning must support student’s involvement, autonomy and self-direction.

Five years after, the course looks quite different:

  • It’s now a blended course, with lessons at school and e-learning sessions on the school’s LMS (learning management system: in this case a Moodle open source platform),
  • A contextualized course, with a great witness, Mines Albi’s alumni now working on a city’s heat network,
  • And many activities on the platform: students have to train, they receive automatically feedback trough the platform, they interact on the forum, they self-evaluate their skills and have to give feed-back on their way of learning [1], on their progresses and also on the remaining difficulties.

The new version of this course was proposed first to the apprentices and is now applied to the students’ training. The impacts of all the changes are still being analyzed, but some results can be mentioned yet:

  • The teacher “feels no longer alone” to re-build the course,
  • And she feels, she has a different teaching position: no longer expert above students, rather trainer alongside (passing from one side to the other of “Jean Houssaye’s pedagogic triangle [2], the pedagogical engineer said)
  • Last but not least, she noticed both apprentices and students are more involved in their learning process: “they even stay after the end of the lesson!”.

Those qualitative results must be soon completed by some quantitative data. And the evolution is going on, collaborative and peer-review process will be soon introduced in the course.


[1] Benjamin Bloom, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, 1954, New York, Longmans, Green and Co.

[2] Jean Houssaye, Le triangle pédagogique : les différentes facettes de la pédagogie, Issy les Moulineaux, ESF éditeur, 2014

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