+32 2 502 36 09 office@sefi.be

EPICES – European Platform for Innovation and Collaboration between Engineer Students

EPICES is co-funded by Erasmus+ and managed by the French National Erasmus+ Agency under the Key Action 2 “Strategic Partnership” program with the reference 2014-1-FR01-KA203-008560 and took place from 1 Sept 2014 to 31st Jan 2017.

The purpose of EPICES was to develop a European collaboration on a distance project-based learning framework and method, based on already existing and still developing technical platforms, i.e. collaborative and engineering tools. A special focus was made on teachers’ role and students’ coaching, from the analysis of what a coach should be in project based learning to training packages for teachers and development of assessment methods. This focus had been a key issue discussed in order to develop project based learning for engineer students, especially in international and/or industrial context, which required strong and effective collaboration of all actors to success and innovate within the project based learning framework.

Enter the EPICES COACHING PLATFORM!

Project overview /roll out/

The purpose of EPICES is to develop a European collaboration on a distance project-based learning framework and method, based on already existing and still developing technical platforms, i.e. collaborative and engineering tools. A special focus will be made on teachers’ role and students’ coaching, from the analysis of what a coach should be in project based learning to training packages for teachers and development of assessment methods. This focus is a key issue to be discussed in order to develop project based learning for engineer students, especially in international and/or industrial context, which requires strong and effective collaboration of all actors to success and innovate within the project based learning framework.

In the framework of EPICES, sub-projects will be developed, which will place students in the middle of real industrial European at a distance projects, i.e. in the heart of the future job of every current engineer student. These sub-projects will be study cases, study materials, and will allow many feedbacks and intellectual outputs on coaching, teachers’ role and assessment issues, which will be the most relevant outputs areas of EPICES.

Background /put the roll out/

– The French PLACIS project (September 2012 – August 2016), funded by the French National Agency for Research under the “Investments for the future” , PLACIS (Collaborative Platform for Systems Engineering) is managed by the Institut Supérieur de Mécanique de Paris (SUPMECA), in the framework of the Collegium Ile-de-France (Collegium Ile-de-France gathers 3 engineering schools : SUPMECA, ENSEA and EISTI).

PLACIS is a pedagogical research project with already and still developing technical platforms, and sub-projects using these platforms. In every sub-project, on a multidisciplinary subject submitted by a company, a team of students (from 2 institutions from different countries) is formed. Students work in their home university and use the latest collaborative and engineering tools. EPICES will extend, develop new themes and outputs and fully Europeanise PLACIS.

– In addition to PLACIS, the progressive change of the structure of engineering studies, switching from the trilogy “courses – supervised practical work –lab work” to a more complex and open teaching & learning way, including MOOCs and different types of projects have to be taken into consideration. For this reason, especially for engineers, it seems very important to study how to improve the way projects done by students are successful, useful and can lead them to the ways of both innovation and learning. Especially, in this progressive change, the role of teachers is changing, but teachers are often not prepared to that. That is why a focus on coaching, teachers’ role and assessment is done in EPICES, because well prepared and tooled teachers will be good coaches with strong relationship with students and will be the base of effective project based learning. The first PLACIS results will also be used as study material. The main objectives of EPICES will be the development of PLACIS like sub-projects and the use of these sub-projects as study materials in order to:

  • Analyse the coaching/facilitation in project based learning in European engineering education and, based on hypothesis, write the first model of what a coach should be,
  • Enhance teachers’ role as facilitators, teachers’ competencies in project mode, with the development of methods and training packages for teachers, creation of a platform for the implementation of best practices in coaching, and test on sub-projects with teachers and students.
  • Perfect assessment methods in project based learning, with the development of toolboxes/toolkits.

Dissemination activities /Roll out/

Many dissemination activities were conducted during the EPICES Strategic Partnership project (co-funded by Erasmus+ ; project reference 2014-1-FR01-KA203-008560). There were presentations, papers and workshops:
•    EPICES plenary presentation, on the occasion of the ECED 2015, Valencia, Spain, 27 March 2015
•    EPICES Workshop, 43rd Annual Conference of SEFI, Polytech Orléans, France, 30 June 2015
•    EPICES Workshop, WEEF 2015, Florence, Italy, September 2015
•    EPICES Work-in-Progress Paper, WEEF 2015, Florence, Italy, September 2015
•    EPICES Workshop, 44th Annual Conference of SEFI, Tampere, Finland, September 2016
•    EPICES Paper, 44th Annual Conference of SEFI, Tampere, Finland, Septetember 2016
•    EPICES-linked Paper, 44th Annual Conference of SEFI, Tampere, Finland, September 2016

These activities gave the opportunity to turn the light on the project and to receive feedback from the international higher education community.

Also, local dissemination activities took place in participating institutions.
It is a  European Project under the ERASMUS + Programme, started on September 1st 2014 and to be ended on 31 March 2017.

Transnational meetings:

  • Brussels, SEFI HQ, 25/11/2014
  • Valencia, organised by SEFI in the context of ECED 2015, 27/3/2015
  • Paris, organised at SUPMECA, 25/11/2016

Partnership