A wealth of pedagogy en français
Concordia recently became the first Canadian university to join the Université Ouverte des Humanités (UOH), an international network of French-speaking universities that provides access to a vast trove of online pedagogical resources.
“Our membership is a major accomplishment,” says Fabien Olivry, a professor in Concordia’s Département d’études françaises, who led the project to get Concordia into the UOH with the support of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.
“This project not only provides our students with some of the best pedagogical resources in French but also provides teachers with funding for producing pedagogical content in French.”
The UOH is one of seven digital thematic universities created by France’s Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche. They exist to improve both undergraduate and graduate student results and to provide visibility for the resources made available through its member institutions.
The online courses available through UOH cover a gamut of humanities subjects. They are provided free of charge and each course is scientifically, educationally and technically approved by a committee of scientific advisors.
Students cannot earn credit by taking the courses offered through the UOH. Instead, courses are designed to complement their learning, allowing them to explore specific subjects more deeply and from various perspectives. For example, a student taking a course on documentary filmmaking may look on the UOH website for an online course on the history of the documentary form.
Olivry says that while there are rules governing how courses are set up, there is a diversity of formats available. One course may consist entirely of video capsules, while another may contain interactive elements. “It’s varied in terms of the resources we can find, and it’s addictive because we can find so many interesting things on there,” he says.
Membership in the UOH provides Concordia’s professors with significant visibility in the French-speaking academic community, Olivry says. “It increases their profile on the international scene, and it gives them a chance to forge collaborations with researchers from the other member institutions.”
Assistant Professor Davy Bigot of the Département d’études françaises assisted Olivry in securing Concordia’s UOH membership. More than anything else, he says, the network will serve to highlight Concordia’s wealth of teaching talent. “Since this is, above all, about pedagogical content, it shows that façade of the work of a university professor, which is perhaps less emphasized than our work as researchers,” he says.
Olivry and Bigot are busy creating a project proposal for the UOH’s next course selection round in the spring. If the proposal is accepted, they will receive funding from the UOH that will help to cover some of their costs.
Olivry hopes that other professors from various departments at Concordia — especially those who are able to produce resources in French — will share his excitement about the university’s new membership in the international body. “As of now, the project is mainly known inside the French department but it could potentially benefit any French-speaking teacher or student in our university,” he said.
• Université Ouverte des Humanités
• Concordia’s Département des études françaises