Digital Education

Digital education is an important way to reach many talented and motivated African students who would otherwise not have access to higher education. Building on EPFL’s proven track record in online education, this initiative will provide the basis for a special track on digital education. 

Objectives

Provide STEM students enrolled in Master and PhD programs in Africa with access to educational content of the same quality as in Switzerland, while being relevant to local research programs and to the needs of the local economies.

Intervention axes

  1. Production and sharing of relevant, high-quality digital educational resources, such as MOOCs, OER, Open Data Repositories and Online Labs (either Virtual or Remotely Controlled), aimed at modernising the engineering education curriculum.
  2. Transfer of techno-pedagogical skills to partner universities as a means to improve the quality of teaching.
  3. Development of relevant and quality continuing training programmes, aiming to strengthen the professional and technical skills of fresh graduates in Africa and prepare them to meet the digitalization challenges of the industry and the local society.

Argumentation

With over 100 MOOCs produced since 2012 by its Center for Digital Education, EPFL is among Europe’s leaders in digital education. Over the last 5 years, EPFL has developed MOOCs Africa, a capacity building program implemented in a dozen of leading universities and engineering schools in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, EPFL is recognized throughout Africa and in all French-speaking countries as an undisputed leader in STEM online education. The unique expertise developed during this first phase of the program and the lessons learned whilst working with African universities, place EPFL ideally to lead an initiative aiming to transform STEM higher education in Africa.

Digital education technologies (MOOCs, OER, LMS, etc) are excellent means for transforming higher education in Africa. They help universities to cope with the shortage of qualified instructors, provide access to up-to-date educational content and introduce modern instruction methods into teaching. They also have the potential to reinvent continuing and adult education and thus meet the professional skills needed by local economies, especially those related to the digital economy.

Over the last three years UM6P has been actively working to build its capacity in term of MOOCs and OER production. Current platform for managing students (SIS) and delivering courses (LMS) solution used by UM6P has been created in house which helped develop knowledge in creating, operating and maintaining large scale cloud platforms.

UM6P is actively working with other African Universities to promote local course development and help with digitalization of their course delivery and student management systems.

By pooling resources together, UM6P and EPFL aim to contribute to bridging the digital divide in higher education in Africa.

Expected Outcomes

  1. The engineering training curricula are strengthened through the production and sharing of relevant, high-quality digital educational resources, and a growing supply of MOOCs and OERs in STEM. These resources are produced by universities/professors of EPFL, UM6P and African partners.
  2. Partner academic institutions acquire the necessary techno-pedagogical skills and capacities for the sustainable integration of digital education tools and technologies into their curricula;
  3. Partner institutions in Africa offer online and/or hybrid continuing education programmes that meet the needs of local economies; these continuing education programmes enable learners to acquire up-to-date professional skills, especially those needed by the digital economy.