French Engineering School Consortium INSA Opens Online Education Platform
In January 2018, the French consortium of National Institutes of Applied Sciences (INSA), will be launching a new online education platform: OpenINSA. For the INSA engineering schools, the platform is the next step in their digital transformation and a gateway to new audiences.
November 15, 2017, was an important day for Éric Maurincomme, INSA Lyon director and INSA consortium president, and his fellow INSA engineering school directors. Together, they unveiled their new online education platform OpenINSA, scheduled to go live in January 2018. For Maurincomme, the platform is "a tool for the consortium schools to support the evolution of their educational practices."
The initiative's first goal is attracting new audiences, both internationally and in the business world. Multiple companies have requested that INSA "quickly develop tailor-made trainings for them. OpenINSA will help us respond faster," explains Maurincomme. There is high demand for continuing education programs at universities. For Maurincomme, "It's primarily about bridging the gap with the business world."
OpenINSA's second goal is to further the digital transformation of INSA schools. According to Jean-Yves Plantec, ICT head at INSA Toulouse and OpenINSA director, "What's new today is that awareness has grown around [digital education], as has staff's interest in the topic." Maurincomme believes OpenINSA should serve as a Trojan horse at schools. The hidden part will be a consortium-wide digital education department located at INSA Toulouse.
The business model and the platform design company are still to be determined. INSA is in talks with Coursera, France Digital University (FUN) and OpenClassrooms, which developed INSA's Networks and Telecommunications Bachelor's degree. Plantec admits, "We work very well with OpenClassrooms but we're considering other offers. We have two requirements: the company must be able to quickly integrate new content and to adapt the tool to new teaching methods."
OpenINSA will cost an estimated several million euros. The plan is for the platform to host other universities' online courses in the future. "We've already received requests," says Maurincomme. He hopes the initiative will transform INSA into a major player on the French EdTech scene.