The original project objective was to test Riipen in multiple ways. The first opportunity was to do so in a traditional sense where faculty members would submit projects to the platform and get some industry partners to sponsor them. The second opportunity was based on submitting areas of expertise tied to our applied research centre. This way, we could attract partners based on needs and build students projects in the context of those needs. We weren’t very successful in either test. First, the fact that the software is English only made it difficult for our faculty members and students to fully use the power of the tool. Also, the majority of the partners in the platform prefer to sponsor English-language projects, thus making it a challenge to find matches for French-based projects.
- Suzanne Gibault, executive director, Ideation and Creativity
- Michel Singh, senior advisor, Ideation and Creativity
- Nathalie Méthot, manager, Applied Research and Innovation
- Isabelle Tremblay, faculty member, Business Administration
- Sylvain Després, faculty member, Design
- Lynn Beaudoin, faculty member, Esthetics
- Olivier Chartrand, manager, Course Development
- Charles-André Masseboeuf, Business Development, Applied Research and Innovation
- Karen Bakker, Riipen
- Emily Masching, Riipen
We had various meetings to kick off the project with our applied research team, and we coordinated the publishing of our projects on Riipen. We focused on working with a small number of faculty members to get things started, and we thought we would target different domain areas. We also had regular calls with the customer success team at Riipen to follow up on how things were evolving.
Experiential Learning Details
We don’t have a lot of data to share. What we can share is that we have evidence that it’s a major challenge for French institutions to integrate Riipen in their environment because of the language barrier. This fact has been communicated to Riipen and eCampusOntario. We are working on various ideas that could facilitate the use of the platform for francophones. At this point the discussions are at a very early stage, but we feel that one of the opportunities is to regroup French-language institutions together in order to engage a larger set of stakeholders in the conversation.
We offered Riipen training to 35 faculty members as part of the pilot. This training was well received as we also covered the fundamentals of experiential learning. Out of these 35 faculty members, eight of them submitted projects to Riipen. On the downside, we did not get a positive match for any of these projects.
From an applied research perspective, we did submit two areas of expertise (bio-innovation and prototyping). We got some positive feedback from two industry partners looking for some help in the prototyping area. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any projects going. One of the partners had some very short-term needs that we could not address. The other partner was in the Niagara region and was looking for some specialized equipment, which made it impossible because of geographical reasons.
On the plus side, we did not have any technical issues with the platform, although we did not do any in-depth testing.
The main value we got from our sandbox project was the opportunity to test an English-only tool in a French environment. The outcome from the project is positive because it can allow us to work with eCampusOntario and other partners to address this issue for Riipen and for other potential solutions.
We are looking at integrating more experiential learning opportunities within our curriculum. Our course development team is focused on building capacity with our business development team in order to get more opportunities to students. We would like to use Riipen as a tool of choice to gather, manage, and promote our class projects with industry partners. For this to happen, we need the platform to be translated and we also need to foster a French ecosystem of industry partners. We have already engaged with eCampusOntario in this work.
- Train your faculty on the tool and on the potential of their already-existing class projects being transformed into experiential learning opportunities.
- Get faculty inspired by looking at what professors from other institutions are doing on Riipen. There is a long list of projects in Riipen that are available covering a wide range of domain areas.
- Coordinate efforts with the business development team and with placement services. It’s very helpful to have a common approach when working with external partners.