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Innovative practices

College education: innovative practices in distance learning

Higher education institutions have not been immune to the digital transition, which has accelerated particularly during the global pandemic. Traditional pedagogical models are no longer sufficient to cope with this transformation and the many rapid technological advances that have occurred. These transformations in pedagogical practices are also aimed at better preparing the workforce to meet the needs of the labour market.

Therefore, we must quickly implement innovative pedagogical approaches to prepare our students for lifelong learning and staying competitive in an innovative environment. This paper presents all the practices detailed by 40 collaborators from the college community in a group publication showcasing innovative practices in distance learning in the Presses de l’Université du Québec .

The themes address the pedagogical approaches to priotitize in distance learning; the transformations made to pedagogical strategies and evaluation methods; the technologies to use for a transition to digital technology; the challenges that come with adapting and transforming a course into a hybrid format; the sustainability of innovations; and research on distance learning in higher education.

France Lafleur

UQT Professor, holder of the UQTR chair of teaching excellence in distance learning. Department of Educational Sciences, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Caroline Crépeau

professeure en techniques d’éducation à l’enfance, Cégep Édouard Montpetit

The use of online game simulations in philosophy

Two professors from André-Grasset College will present the Reacting to the Past role-playing pedagogy that garnered a great deal of online engagement during the pandemic. These long-running immersive simulations via Zoom and Slack facilitated friendly and effective exchange and debate.

In the “Philosophy and Rationality” course, students recreated the assembly of Athens in 403 BC, bringing direct democracy and the great philosophical and political controversies of the time to life viscerally. In the Ethics and Politics course, students delved deeper into the issue of humanitarian intervention by simulating the meetings of the UN Security Council held during the Rwanda crisis of 1994.

This practical activity illustrates how online game simulation successfully leveraged the power of play.

Professor of Philosophy, Collège André-Grasset

Professor of Philosophy, André-Grasset College

Should we promote greater accessibility to spelling and grammer checkers?

No one disputes the usefulness of spelling and grammar checkers. However, sometimes these tools are not allowed in academia. Previously reserved for students with disabilities, these tools have become more widely accessible during the pandemic. The debates on of the full availability of Antidote for the 2021 French exam illustrate the extent of the shock felt within the college network. Use of the software also raises questions about accessibility, evaluation and equal opportunity in English as a second language.

At the same time, the Digital Action Plan aims for equitable access and greater use of software for all. Under what circumstances is universal access to spelling and grammar checkers feasible? In a PAREA study, we compared the effect of Antidote on the language quality of college students with varying levels of English proficiency, some of whom had an undiagnosed disorder or challenge and some who did not.

In a time when written communication is increasing in quantity and speed, what is the role of post-secondary institutions in developing students’ writing skills?

Isabelle Beaudry

English teacher (Cégep régional de Lanaudière in Joliette)