The EPFL College of Humanities announces a new program of courses shared between the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and EPFL: Track for Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching (TILT). These courses address key issues tied to the digital turn and sustainability through collaborative and hands-on groupwork.
From the ecological crisis to the upheavals of the digital transition, the collective challenges we face illustrate the necessity to offer instruction that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.
It is with these goals in view that the College of Humanities (CdH) is launching a new educational initiative: Track for Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching (TILT). This is a joint course offering shared by UNIL and EPFL, open to students from both campuses. TILT is part of a broader effort in the CdH to open the courses in its Social and Human Sciences Program to UNIL students in order to promote inter-institutional and interdisciplinary cooperation. According to Selim Krichane, the coordinator of the TILT program, “these courses offer an opportunity to bring together knowledge and methods drawn from computer science, natural science, and social and human sciences in order to develop innovative perspectives on transversal issues.” This approach provides opportunities to consider problems in a new way and offers students the possibility to reassess their capacitiesand their scientific practice from the standpoint of other disciplines.
In terms of content, the TILT program addresses issues tied to the digital turn and durability through a range of different approaches and disciplines that are necessary to understand these diverse and complex issues. The development of this interdisciplinary pedagogical content was made possible by active collaboration between instructors in engineering sciences and in human and social sciences. In order to promote exchange and peer-learning, these courses are “project oriented”: students will work in mixed groups of 4 to 5 starting in the first semester.
TILT courses are taught by interinstitutional teams of instructors that combine knowledge and skills from various disciplines (computer sciences, sociology, history, architecture, environmental sciences, among others), from the fields of expertise of researchers from EPFL and UNIL. TILT courses adopt a strong interdisciplinary posture: the goal is not to use one discipline to reinforce another, but rather to place several areas of expertise at the heart of a course in order to consider a given topic – such as urban history, or data analysis – from a diverse bundle of methods and approaches.
TILT courses include four main facets:
- Digital turn and sustainability: TILT courses address in an innovative and interdisciplinary way current issues tied to the digital turn and sustainability, drawing on cutting-edge skills cultivated on both campuses.
- Practical projects: The theoretical content is put into practice through projects, in collaboration with diverse social actors. TILT offers opportunities to work with NGOs and public services or to participate in the greening of the campus.
- Pedagogical innovation: TILT courses have been developed with pedagogical engineers from both campuses. Classroom content is enriched with online resources, hands-on activities and participatory sessions.
- Workshops: professional skills are reinforced by a series of workshops addressing interdisciplinary group work. These sessions cover communication, collaborative resolution of complex and open problems, as well as general project management.
This pedagogical initiative began with the launch of two annual Master courses and one Bachelor course during the 2020-2021 academic year. Two new Master courses will be added to the TILT program in 2021-2022, covering environmental, social and economic issues linked to sustainability.
TILT courses offered in 2021-2022:
- Histoire urbaine à l’ère du numérique: Lausanne Time Machine (I & II)
- Les données en context: Critical Data Studies (I & II)
- Jeu video et gamification
- Ecological transition: between theory and practice (I & II)
- Design for Sustainability (I & II)
UNIL-EPFL courses are available within the SHS course program for EPFL students. For UNIL students, the registration procedures vary across the different faculties: TILT courses will be accessible in the “Optional Program” (or “Reinforcement Program” in Master) of the Faculty of Letters and as optional education within the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. Certain courses will be directly included in the specific course study plans, when the study plans allow it.
This article was originally published on September 21st, 2021 by Madeleine Dungy of EPFL CDH.