Educational continuity: adjusting every day

Since 16 March, face-to-face lessons have been suspended and an educational continuity plan has been implemented thanks to the immediate collective mobilization of all ECAM Lyon’s teachers and departments: everything is being done to enable our students to continue their education as well as possible during this time.

From classes, group projects and tests to internships, thesis defenses and study abroad programs, students have many questions and concerns. Schedules have been adapted, new communication tools have been set up and teaching methods have been redesigned. Innovative solutions are emerging and are quickly shared by a vast educational community. The priority remains maintaining a link with everyone: staff is attentive to provide an answer for each specific case.

Here are some examples of tools and practices that are part of the educational continuity plan.

The IT department develops an instant messaging tool.

As soon as the campus was closed, the IT department set up ECAM Talk, an web-based instant messaging platform enabling administrative staff, teachers and students to exchange information. An essential tool to maintain the link between all of the School’s stakeholders.

“We felt it was essential to urgently bring to the ECAM community a tool that best replaced what we were going to lose: our campus and our physical presence,” says Grégory Guy, Information System Engineer in the IT department.

Teachers give their classes remotely

Using a range of digital tools approved by the IT department, in order to avoid any cyberattacks, ECAM Lyon teachers started teaching their classes remotely after barely 3 days of interruption. “Everyone’s outstanding motivation made it possible, in record time, to set up an organization to enable online teaching activities,” comments Didier Desplanche, Managing Director General of ECAM LaSalle.

Like their engineering students, teachers must now work from home

In particular, the organization of lab classes has been changed. Vincent Caillé, head of the Energy Department explains, “Distance learning is perfectly compatible with our principles of close support! I provide videos and data files. During lab class sessions, I bring together groups of 4-6 students to chat live on ECAM Talk via webcam. I screen-share a digital whiteboard. Thus, my explanations are very similar to those given in a “real” session, even though I do not have the same dexterity with the digital whiteboard as with my pen.

In the apprenticeship program, where more than 90% of the courses initially planned are being delivered, only lab classes requiring students to be physically present could not be carried out. “Our assessment of distance learning has proven very positive: our partners are playing the game and the apprenticeship students are working diligently, says Christine Charret of the Engineering Apprenticeship Program department.

The International Relations team helps students on study abroad programs

In early March, 105 engineering students were doing study abroad programs (one-year programs and dual degrees) in 10 countries. Ensuring the safety of ECAM Lyon students on study-abroad programs and international students currently at ECAM Lyon is a priority. The International Relations team stays in direct contact with these students and gets updates on their situation daily. Following official recommendations, on 26 March the School asked its students on study-abroad programs to return to France if possible.

According to Caroline Hanras, Director of International Relations,“We are working together with our academic partners, all over the world, who have also been affected by the pandemic. Together, we are already preparing for the post-crisis period to quickly restore our international exchange programs, for both incoming and outgoing students”.

These are but a few examples that show how much the Covid-19 epidemic is changing our working habits here at ECAM Lyon. Students and staff are experimenting with new ways of teaching, learning, working and communicating. Together they have shown great agility and responsibility, even more so than usual.