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Design: Sorbonne University launches a bachelor’s degree that focuses on the user experience

In January 2017, a new minor transdisciplinary thematic bachelor’s degree program will be launched, dedicated to design and managed by the Université de Technologie de Compiègne. The first-year bachelor’s degree (L1) introductory module will begin in January 2017 and L2 courses (second year) will begin at the start of the academic year in September 2017. Its DNA: exploring user-experience-centered design.

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The course aims to help students explore the design basics of digital tools (including connected objects, online services and all sorts of interactive products), as well as the basics of the original user-experience design approach. This method is based on observing the daily practices and routines of potential users of a product or a service, so that objects can be designed to provide the best experience possible, whether the most useful, the most user-friendly or the most attractive. “Students will often learn by doing,” emphasizes Anne Guénand, the teacher-researcher at UTC who is in charge of this minor program. “Students will develop technical proposals and will have access to UPMC site Sorbonne University FabLab facilities, so they can go from concept to proof of concept. Then they will be able to observe how users adopt these proposals and how the designed objects or services affect their daily routines.”

Facilitating job opportunities

The course will be conducted by teachers from UTC, the École supérieure d’arts et de design d’Amiens (ESAD) and the UPMC. The UTC will award a master’s degree in User Experience Design, and ESAD will award a DNSEP in Digital Design (master’s degree). Both establishments have created a double diploma. Students that have followed the Design minor program will be able to apply for these courses. “It is an asset for them, as these courses prepare them to be future actors in User Experience Design, and they will encounter many job opportunities,” Guénand adds. “But it is also an asset for us, as this minor program will allow us to train and prepare students to think about the complexity of the world of tomorrow. They will then be able to integrate our master’s degree courses. Moreover, UPMC and Paris-Sorbonne students will also follow this course. It will help diversify UTC master’s degree students’ profiles, and the latter already have very varied backgrounds.” 

A closer look at a second transdisciplinary thematic bachelor’s degree minor program: Heritage, Societies, and North-South Relations

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The Heritage, Societies, and North-South Relations minor program involves many site visits.

Teaching and the Didactics of Science, Management, Innovation in Public Health and more: the Sorbonne Collège des Licences supports the development of transdisciplinary thematic minor programs for second- and third-year bachelor’s degree students.

 

Transdisciplinary thematic minor programs are increasingly popular, as they focus on a cross-disciplinary subject at the interface between natural and human sciences. At the moment, there are six of them, each of which has 25 spaces available. In 2016-2017, 140 second-year bachelor’s degree students followed the course for its first year, almost at full capacity, generally speaking.

 

After the Design minor program, let’s take a closer look at another transdisciplinary thematic bachelor’s degree minor program: Heritage, Societies, and North-South Relations, co-organized by The National Museum of Natural History in Paris (MNHN) and the Institute for Research and Development (Institut de recherche pour le développement) or IRD.

“It is always interesting for museum teacher-researchers as well as IRD researchers to pass on knowledge from our research to bachelor’s degree students,” says Thomas Ingicco, university lecturer at MNHN and the person in charge of the minor program. “It is one of our responsibilities. For students, this minor program is also a unique way of integrating several member master’s degree programs at Sorbonne University, including those from the museum, in particular the Quaternary and Prehistoric Era, Environment: Dynamics of Territories and Societies and Museology, Sciences, Cultures and Societies.”

 

It allows students to discover domains linked to natural sciences (anthropology, primatology, prehistory, paleoenvironment and today’s landscapes, museology and more), and also provides an opening, which is rather rare for bachelor’s degrees, to issues linked to Southern-hemisphere countries, which are at the heart of IRD research and, for many, of the MNHN. Some of the lessons are therefore given by researchers in Southern-hemisphere issues. The course therefore involves many trips to see collections, such as the Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Man), Vincennes Zoo, IRD laboratories and more.

 

This year, the introductory module (which will be held in semester 2) should have approximately 50 students, and the second- and third-year degree courses should each have 12 students with varied profiles. Last year, most second-year students pursued a major in biology, but now many of them come from life sciences, mathematics, physics and chemistry degree courses. This means that they will be better prepared for the interdisciplinarity of tomorrow’s world.

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