UD to host French educators

[Editor’s note: For more information or to interview some of the participants, contact George Watson, UD professor of physics and astronomy, by e-mail at (ghw@udel.edu).]

The University of Delaware has a reputation as a leader in problem-based learning, international education and technology, and all three will come together for a special visit in June by 27 French educators.

From June 4-8, UD will host 27 visitors from northern France, representing FORMASUP, a consortium of educators and administrators from universities and schools, as well as representatives from trade unions and industry in northern France. Currently, 1,100 students are enrolled in technology, commerce and engineering, alternating between college teaching sessions and company training periods through FORMASUP.

The visitors will be at UD to learn about an interactive teaching method where small teams of students solve real-world problems by conducting research and learning to think critically, work cooperatively and communicate their findings.

Jacques Lesenne, director of FORMASUP and vice president for academic affairs at Artois University, discovered the workshops offered by UD’s Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education on the web and contacted and visited George Watson, UD professor of physics and astronomy, and other leaders of ITUE to arrange the summer session at UD.

As Lesenne wrote to Watson, the FORMASUP’s goal in coming to UD is to alter its teaching “approach in a completely different way and to head towards pedagogical methods close to problem solving.”

UD’s Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education promotes educational reform through faculty development and course design, and the program for FORMASUP will be an introduction to problem-based learning and using technology in teaching.

Participants will learn about the concepts of PBL, strategies to implement PBL in the classroom, how to use the web and develop materials for the web with time in computer labs, how to develop materials for PBL and how to facilitate student groups.

Some of the institutions represented are the University of Lille, Valenciennes University, the Université de Littoral Côte d’Opal, the ITIAPE School of Landscape Engineering, the ISTN School of Engineering, the IPHC School of Engineering, the trade unions Confederation Française des Travailleurs Chretiens and Force Ouvriere and other representatives from FORMASUP.

The workshop will be held from Monday-Thursday, June 4-7, at the University’s Downtown Center in Wilmington and on the Newark campus on Friday, June 8.

The special session of ITUE will be led by Watson; Barbara Duch, Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center; Deborah Allen, biological sciences; and Susan Groh and Hal White, chemistry and biochemistry. Ruth Hurst, Division of Continuing Education, coordinated the logistics for the special session.

Contact: Beth Thomas/Sue Moncure (302) 831-8749

May 24, 2001