In order to help promote instructional change at French-speaking universities in Europe, we initiated a series of 1-day events centered on learning innovations. Since 2015, these events have been taking place every 6 months at the Université Paris Descartes, with the moral support of three learned scientific societies, the French Academy of Sciences, and sponsoring by leaders in textbook editing and classroom technologies. Each event gathers ~ 40 participants (faculty members, postdocs, and educational specialists) from four countries (Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Switzerland) and invitees, who share their active learning practices, flipped classroom variations representing the most popular strategy. Their experience revealed that faculty who invest themselves in revamping teaching are still isolated at their institutions, although institutional and national support have now been gaining momentum. In particular, the role of educational specialists (known as ingénieurs pédagogiques in France) is key to help faculty move away from lecturing. Overall, our event series illustrates that a hands-off approach is effective to foster a cross-border community of committed academics in a context where the process of changing the way we teach at universities is still in its infancy. © 2019 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 47(5):599-606, 2019.
Keywords: Educational specialist; faculty development; instructional change.
© 2019 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.