A proven innovative teaching approach
The following are the five key educational principles upon which the originality of the Frontiers in Life Sciences Bachelor program is founded:
Evaluation methods (oral and written, individual and group) in the Frontiers in Life Sciences Bachelor program are adapted to the specific skills and knowledge concerned. The goal is to enable students to assume responsibility for their own studies, particularly through self-evaluation and peer evaluation. Teachers are committed to regularly providing constructive critical comments to students regarding the progress they make. Evaluation is not based primarily on course grades.
Frontiers in Life Sciences Bachelor students benefit from personal interaction with teaching assistants, both directly related to teaching and by helping them to devise their individual projects and professional plans.
Two-hour monitoring sessions for small groups are held every morning to prepare the next classroom meeting and to review ideas that have already been covered from a different angle, as well as to correct homework assignments. The emphasis is on each student participating in exchanges with a teaching assistant and peers.
In addition, tutors from outside the regular FdV faculty (private-sector entrepreneurs and professionals, artists, association leaders, etc) are available to students, providing perspective, and helping them to refine their individual projects. Students are required to meet each week with a tutor (not necessarily the same one.) At least one faculty member will be at the disposition of students at the end of each day, if possible.
Practical work is at the heart of the FdV Bachelor program and is carried out in the form of interdisciplinary laboratory experiment projects. The purpose of practical work is exploration; not just reproducing anticipated results. Therefore, projects that concern open questions and that generate and exploit new data are encouraged.
A "competency portfolio" will be established to enable students to confirm the practical skills they have acquired. Students will be stimulated to achieve autonomy and to freely use various tools and techniques. In the laboratory, students will be encouraged to maintain the fun aspect of scientific procedures, and creativity will be developed.
The initial projects that students undertake in the FdV Bachelor program
will be closely supervised, after which autonomy will increase. The objective of these projects is to allow students to explore various scientific media, to refine their academic and professional choices, and to promote teamwork. These projects represent an opportunity to put the skills and knowledge students have acquired during their studies and training into practice, and to develop relevant new skills they need to pursue their academic and professional goals.
S1: Introduction to scientific methodology and exploration of the professional scientific environment
S2: Short immersion in a research laboratory
S3: Scientific knowledge acquisition and communication
S4: Free choice of a group research project
A two-week immersion session that takes place shortly after the start of the first year allows entering students to familiarize themselves with the contents of the FdV Bachelor program, as well as to meet and become acquainted with the teaching staff and with the other students. No new concepts related to specific disciplines of the FdV bachelor are discussed during the two weeks of immersion. However, students acquaint themselves through various activities and practice using scientific methodology and communication.
There are no required courses during the final two semesters: The fifth semester is accomplished in a French or international partner establishment, and students fulfill an engineering or research internship during the sixth semester. However, the two final semesters begin with a week-long introduction and end with a week-long summary, during which all the students of that year's class are assembled, first to prepare their internships, and then to assess their progress, reporting on their experiences to their peers and the teaching staff.