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New for 2014-2015: an Inter-UT Minor (InnovE-UT)

Something really new for the start of the academic year 2014-2015: student engineers matriculated at any of the three UTs (French Universities of Technology) can follows classes on innovation and international policy in the technical-industrial context of the country’s SMEs/ SMIs. This Minor course stems from important pedagogical innovation. It is presented to readers of Interactions by Marion Mézerai, Deputy Executive Director of IFDEFI InnovENT-E.

New for 2014-2015: an Inter-UT Minor (InnovE-UT)

Students who choose this Minor will be required to register for 3 UVs out of 9 proposed by the 3 UTs. In the UTC (Compiegne) offer, economic intelligence covering enterprise strategies, procures and tools (EI04), Management and tools enhancing creativity and innovation (GE38), Analysis of consumer goods (DI06); likewise for UTT (Troyes), with Technology and Management studies, Innovation management, International trade and exchanges and lastly, for UTBM (Belfort Montbéliard), with Methods and tools to solve technical problems, Financial management of international investments, and Economic globalization. The only requisite here is that 2 of the 3 chosen courses must be followed ‘at a distance’.
As Marion Mézerai explains “This is the first year of the scale one experimentation, even if some of the ‘distant modules’ have been tested over the past 6 months”. The other procedures required include participation in an ‘event’ focused on creativity ‘”48h to bring your ideas alive – InnovENT-E” and implementation of a project in relation to innovation and international SME activities. This cursus was designed in compliance with guide-lines set by IDEFI InnovENT-E in response to a wide survey among SME/SMIs and expert opinions and advice.
These are unique reference guidelines”, adds Marion Mézerai. “The inter-UT minor aims at acquisition of certain skills deemed necessary in terms of innovation and internationalization of an SME/SMI’s activities. It is not an isolated course: the objective is to train students in the skills values d by SMEs, including polyvalence, responsibility, self-training …

The project results from input and exchanges by the teaching staff and pedagogical units of the 3 UTs

Marion Mézerai underscores the relevance of a project like this for the students: the SME/SMIs in France represent the majority of job creation area, but they are still largely unattractive. The SME image must therefore be improved and students must be offered training to be able to work in this milieu. One of the aptitudes required and taught here is project work or networking. This led to the key idea of allowing students to follow part of the Minor courses remotely.
There is a dual advantage here: building up cohesion and synergy among the 3 UTs, to defend pour values and our teaching of innovation and to acquire skills for working in networks”, explains Marion Mézerai. “The pedagogical units of the 3 UTs have been largely involved in drafting this Minor course, as were the lecturers without whom it would have been an impossible quest and the course would not exist”. New tools have been developed to aid the remote module practicalities that call for new ways to teach and learn.

On route for a ‘new University’

It took one year to design the new pedagogical outlines and tools. “Some people are afraid of the impact of digital techniques, which seem to point to a new university without lecturers. What is happening is exactly the opposite! The academic teaching staff is present not only to deliver the courses; their added value also consists of ‘animating” and moderating he exchanges among students and teachers”, details Marion Mézerai. The ‘new university’ will be based on deeper reaching relationships between students and lecturers. This InnovE UT Minor represents a novel pedagogical path worth analysis and follow-through.

Wide-spread recognition of the diploma

This is a specialist cursus, which in time will become a Master’s Degree that can be offered in continuous education programmes, as a bolt-on qualification to the traditional engineering diploma. It will be certified by the IDEFI-InnovENT-E and has already been recognized on merit (beyond the 3 participating UTs) by the other IDEFI members, viz., the INSAs, the CESI and the University of Lorraine, as well as by some 40 partners in the economic spheres. “We hope that this qualification will enhance the relationships among students at the 3UTs and that the projects implemented will close the gap between the students and the SME/SMIs”. The objective for 2014-2015 is ≈30 registered students. Registration for semester 1 remains open up to end September 2014.

Discover the InnovENT-E course and distant learning modules on the pedagogical platform