Last weeks, I have seen some wonderful examples of higher education. Like during the ‘Stage du terrain’ in Plouha, where there was a good balance between theory and practice, and between the classroom and the field. The students were very pleased with the high number of professors: 40 students, with over 12 staff members! Also the way how tools and techniques were taught and practiced in the laboratory as well as under the open sky, was of high quality. And of course above all: the integrated and multidisciplinary approach. At least 5 different disciplines (like in hydrology, biology, architecture, economics, sociology) were mixed up in transversal groups to integrate the different types of knowledge.
This week, again the course was very well structured and all kinds of methodologies and techniques were practiced. Really fascinating was the application of the IDEA tool (“Methodes d’Evalation de la Durabilité en Agriculture “). After a long day outside in the fields (together with farmers, researchers, agronomists etc), the next day a workshop took place (for almost 10 hours), where all the information, gathered in the field, was interpreted and assessed in terms of ‘indicators’. Almost 200 indicators past by. First divided into three categories: ‘échelle de durabilité agro écologique’, then ‘échelle de durabilité économique’ and finally the ’échelle de durabilité socio-territoriale’. But within every category, again indicators were distinguished on a lower level, and again theseat a lower level, etc. So all together there were over 200 indicators. With different researchers within the classroom, the whole group of (30) students, analyzed their findings in the field within this framework; a really intensive but also very efficient way of dealing with data from different sources and different disciplines.