Student engagement and intercultural skills at the heart of IÉSEG’s new teaching and learning strategy

January 10, 2017

_AGR7683 2“Flipped classes”, courses that are co-developed with students and companies, personalized curricula, and interdisciplinary courses… These are just some examples of the activities used in IÉSEG’s new teaching and learning strategy, which aims to create a unique student learning experience, and which is centered on intercultural learning and student engagement.

The result of an in-depth consultation with the IÉSEG community (students, teachers, alumni, companies …), the new strategy is aligned with the School’s mission:

  • To educate managers to be inspiring, intercultural and ethical pioneers of change
  • To create knowledge that nurtures innovative leaders
  • To promote creative solutions for and with responsible organizations

Intercultural skills

The student learning experience at IÉSEG is focused on the acquisition of knowledge, know-how, and on personal development, in order to nurture each student’s individual skills. At the campuses in Lille and Paris, the learning experience is intercultural by nature: more than 100 different nationalities are represented in the School’s student body and staff. Students also have access to internationally-oriented course content, and work in groups that mix different nationalities and profiles etc . However, the School recognizes that simply studying in an international environment is not sufficient.

This is why students are trained in intercultural management, for example: with courses during the Bachelor and Master cycles of the Grande École program; by participating in multicultural projects; the use of the buddy/ tandem systems bringing together French and international students; and the recognition of these skills through a Intercultural Certificate (at the Master level).

r20b8415The intercultural dimension is also an important element with regards the expectations of companies and our graduates’ career aspirations. For example, 38% of the last graduating class from the Grande École program began their careers abroad and two thirds have an international dimension in their work. In this regard, students at the Bachelor level must now validate an intercultural ‘passport’ in order to be able to go abroad on an academic exchange.

“This unique intercultural learning experience is at the heart of our new teaching and learning strategy, which is based on 4 pillars. Each pillars is associated with a set of varied and innovative teaching methods using new technologies, ” explains Caroline Roussel, Academic Dean.

The IÉSEG pedagogical strategy also places a strong emphasis on ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR). In parallel to the School’s various research activities in this field, students on the Grande École Management degree, for example, follow: an opening (integration) seminar on a CSR-related theme; a Business Ethics course in the 2nd year; a CSR project in partnership with companies in the 3rd year; a CSR course at Master level; and also have the possibility of taking a CSR certificate and winning a prize for the best CSR-related thesis/dissertation.

The CSR dimension is integrated transversally across all programs and is at the heart of the School’s 2025 Vision.

The 4 pillars of this new pedagogical strategy are:

  1. Active learning. Read more.
    The aim is to encourage student commitment and engagement through individual and group activities. For this, some courses are based, for example, on the “flipped class” principle, which leads students to work the theory outside the classroom, before working on applications and exercises in the classroom. Other courses are co-developed with the students, as has already been the case with the Contemporary International Economics course.
  2. A personalized curriculum. Read more.
    Students benefit from an individualized coaching that allows them to progressively build their learning path so that it is in line with their professional objectives through the “Talents” program. Students can also choose from hundreds of electives to develop their own personalized academic path.
  3. Interdisciplinary learning. Read more.
    In order for students to connect all the knowledge and different skills acquired during their studies, IÉSEG students carry out multiple internships, associative projects and group projects. In addition, transversal courses such as “Change Management” and “Consulting skills” or “Working methodology” allow them to link their knowledge and to develop their information gathering and analytical skills etc. Some professors also present in the courses of colleagues from different departments/academic disciplines in order to provide students a different perspective on a topic. For example, in the supply chain management course, students work on an interdisciplinary case study linking supply chain and finance. They present their solutions to the supply chain and finance professors, who then provide a debriefing. Furthermore, IÉSEG students have collaborated for several months with engineering students from the Yncréa group (engineering schools) on real innovation projects, assigned by companies, in co-design workshops. .
  4. Learning centered on the acquisition of competencies. Read more.
    IÉSEG has developed a repository of academic, managerial, interpersonal and cognitive competencies which it intends all its students to develop in order to prepare them for their future careers. Courses at IÉSEG are also designed to meet different challenges facing companies. Each course is reviewed by a panel of corporate professionals (professional advisory boards) active in a specific field in order to ensure the relevance of the course content and the knowledge and skills that students are expected to gain. All programs are designed to ensure that students can interact with the corporate world. In addition to internships, they work on real case studies, meet regularly with professionals from different sectors of activity, and learn through business simulations (for example, with “Business games”).. As part of their Marketing Management course, students in the 2nd year of the Grande École program worked on marketing cases related to brands of the leading confectionery company Lutti. Divided into around 50 teams, they were asked to focus on different brands from the Lutti range of candies looking at possibilities for launching new products, and defining their marketing strategy.

The School’s Center for Educational and Technological Innovation (CETI) plays a key role in implementing this new strategy by providing innovative learning solutions and resources, as well as training and coaching for academic and administrative staff. Twice a semester, it organizes “Pedagogical Cafés” during which innovations or experiments carried out by teachers of the school are presented and shared with colleagues.

The CETI also regularly organizes “coaching workshops” to work in small groups with teachers on very specific topics (for example, setting up a flipped classroom, promoting student engagement in the classroom) or technological tools used in teaching. All of IÉSEG’s courses use blended learning approaches and use the IÉSEG Online platform as technological support. The members of the CETI draw on their expertise in learning design to help the School and its academic staff to enhance their technical and pedagogical expertise. This implies that the learning solutions created by the CETI in collaboration with the professors should be specialized and differentiated from what already exists in the sector.

MOOCFor example, IÉSEG recently launched its first MOOC (massive open online course), which uses “gamification” (the use of game elements and design to stimulate learning) to teach infrastructure finance. Participants working in a fictive company are challenged (through a variety of tools including quizzes and different assignments) to progress through different levels to eventually become CEO. The School plans to launch new MOOCS/ SPOC (small online private course) in the next five years.

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