MOVE : From the Field to the Virtual

Organized by the 4EU+ Alliance, the MOVE project brings together students from the Masters in Geosciences at Charles University (in Prague), the University of Heidelberg and Sorbonne University for a cutting-edge European scientific excursion. 

The new teaching unit MOVE (Manage & organize virtual geoscience excursions) is designed to develop project-based learning and thus foster the active participation of the 4EU+ Alliance student community.

Implemented in the Masters of Geosciences from the three universities, this teaching unit is a student-organized, week-long geoscience excursion that will serve as a basis for the design of digital teaching tools. "The students will design the entire excursion, make a short film and create teaching aids. We’re using tools such as video, drones and web design to extend and enrich the field experience virtually," explains geoscience professor Philippe Agard, head of the teaching program. The goal of these digital productions is to create a portfolio of joint internships within 4EU+ that can be offered as distance learning, and to serve as a showcase for the Alliance and Sorbonne University.

The MOVE project was created through the 4EU+ Alliance : "I was invited because of my research framework by colleagues from Charles University. I was interested in the opportunities offered by the Alliance, so I contacted them again in autumn 2019 to set up this training project. The professors from the University of Heidelberg joined us very quickly," says the program head, who is already familiar with European networked projects.

Today, the innovative two-year course has eighteen students in three working groups, each led by one university. The first group defines the scientific targets of the excursion, identifies places of interest and organizes webinars with experts. The second group develops an optimized scientific itinerary, implements and organizes the excursion. The last group’s mission is to make several short films for the general public and to create the relevant digital educational objects (online courses, website, etc.) in order to transform this field experience into a real virtual excursion.

Within the different working groups, students from the three universities exchange via videoconferences in English and cross-reference different pedagogical practices. This project-based learning enables them to acquire cutting-edge scientific knowledge while developing their autonomy, curiosity, critical thinking and creativity. "By organizing and leading a seven-day excursion, they gain maturity and develop initiative and group leadership skills, as well as logistics, project management and science popularization skills. We hope that, as a result of these international exchanges, they will also want to pursue part of their studies abroad," says the project leader.

Before the first excursion to Corsica at the end of summer 2021, Philippe Agard hopes to bring together all the students from the program next spring for a week in Prague, Heidelberg or Paris. The other universities of the 4EU+ Alliance are invited to join the MOVE project in 2022.

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