Students as Co-Elaborators

Pedagogy, Andragogy and Heutagogy8 Comments

I was lucky, thanks to Arthur Shelley to be able to attend some of the Melbourne Creative conference this week. A number of  leading Knowledge Management experts including from NASA and Cirque du Soleil presented. A highlight for me however was Jean-Charles Calliez. Jean Charles is a lecturer in genetics in the 3rd year degree at the Catholic University of Lille. He described how 4 years ago he “went crazy” or rather realised he could no longer be normal in his course delivery – and set about changing everything.

For Jean-Charles the flipped classroom doesn’t work – it just shifts the location of inactivity. Instead he believes in the reverse classroom. In the case of the genetics class it means the students create all the content. They work in mixed groups that each get given the chapter title that they have to write. They collaborate in shared documents and have to satisfy the learning of their fellow students. Jean-Charles becomes the “student” where he is given questions by the class that he answers at home. Students get points for group participation, individual contribution and the quality of the questions. And the best questions then become the basis of the exam.

I asked others who were there what they got out of the talk.
Rosemary Chang: The observation that his students preferred to learn by being actively involved in the partial production of more than one chapter. They preferred this over having team ownership of the production of one chapter, but then reading other chapters that they were not involved in producing.

For me the great thing about the talk is that everything is up for change. And there is no way I would just apply his technique to the next class needing change. Jean-Charles explains how it works less well for his masters class with a more culturally diverse background. For this a lot more scaffolding in the method is required than for the more homogenous degree class.

There was so much innovative pedagogy in his presentation that I asked Jean-Charles if he would step out and speak with a group of colleagues. This podcast is the result. Jean-Charles also offered the following video of a similar presentation. 

Photo credit: Mehmet Pinarci cc licence on Flickr

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Julian Lee
Julian Lee
3 years ago

Another interesting post. And this will stay with me: “it just shifts the location of inactivity”

Leigh Blackall
3 years ago

Thanks Howard, and to Jean Charles who left the conference to re-present his presentation to our small group. It was very generous of him. In the English speaking world of educational development, there is a keyword sometimes used to group methods that are similar to what Jean Charles describes: #StudentAsProducer. Lincoln University in the UK championed the idea in 2012 – though they certainly weren’t the first. I’ve linked to them and some examples I know of at our page: Regarding the question on whether or not the methods can be deployed in very large groups of undergraduates, I… Read more »

3 years ago
Reply to  Leigh Blackall

Thanks Leigh, it was a great pleasure to exchnage with you and your collègues. Please find my talk here :

Peter Chomley
Peter Chomley
3 years ago

Jean Charles session was an inspiration to me as well. I had hoped to observe a session while in Lille in July, but alas it is term break. Thanks Howard and Jean Charles!