“Dynamic", "enriching" and "captivating" courses were the positive comments made by the participants as they left the amphitheatre where Prof. Cluzel's third lecture course took place. Elise Degrave, a professor at the Faculty of Law and the academic leader of the project, wanted to innovate by setting up "interactive lectures" as part of a Francqui Chair. The principle? A session consisting of three parts: a presentation by the guest professor followed by an interactive application of the theory (for example, the audience was invited to translate legal rules into algorithms, for a "robot judge") and, finally, a debate between all the participants, whether they are students, researchers, assistants, professors or law professionals! In order to allow participants to familiarize themselves with the subject matter and to start the session with curiosity and desire, a preparatory document was put online one month before each event, including videos, "serious games", legal and press articles, questions to guide the participant in the reflection, etc.
The D-day was an opportunity to cross views, experiences, thoughts and actions. The students found it of real interest. "The presence of professionals from the field brings a real added value to the course because we approach a subject with a more concrete approach. In general, with teachers, we stay within a theoretical framework whereas an expert will speak more freely and explain a subject in greater depth", said Clarisse, a student in Bac2. A second student shared the same enthusiasm: "The lecture courses are a really good idea. We have the opportunity to meet experts. It makes the course more dynamic! In addition, the presentation time was perfect: not too long, which allows you to stay focused”. According to Prof. Degrave, "this type of event requires a lot of work before and during the sessions themselves, but the feedback is very stimulating and gives meaning to our work. Opening the doors of the auditoriums, welcoming an audience from all walks of life, taking up the challenge of bringing together a specialist professor, people from the field, students, and members of our university, creates a synergy between our three university missions, teaching, research and service to society, and concretizes the values we hold at UNamur of welcome, openness, modesty and sharing through our expertise”.
A rewarding learning experience
Raising awareness, learning and acting ... this was the mission of the interactive lectures. For example, the third lecture was devoted to the topic Vulnerabilities and the digital world: does digitalization mean exclusion? Whether it is a student deprived of social assistance by the decision of an artificial intelligence or an elderly person who cannot pay his taxes because he does not have access to the Internet or does not master the digital tool, we can all be confronted with digital vulnerability one day or another. We are not equal when it comes to the use and accessibility of new technologies: we speak of the "digital divide" to refer to these inequalities. The third lesson started with a presentation of about 1 hour given by Lucie Cluzel on the issues of digital vulnerability. A collective intelligence exercise followed. During this exercise, the audience was transformed into a Parliament while the public (students, researchers, members of associations, social workers, lawyers, magistrates, journalists, etc.) put themselves in the shoes of representatives of different political parties. Each party was invited to participate in the drafting of a bill related to the theme. The session ended with an interdisciplinary and intergenerational debate between the participants with rich and varied profiles. It was also relayed in a "large format" article in the newspaper Le Soir, dedicated to the forgotten of the digital.
article in the newspaper Le Soir
When the numbers speak for themselves
This Francqui Chair was a great success! The lecture-courses were also well attended, including a record number of participants for the lecture-course on digital vulnerability.
participants to the inaugural lesson
participants in the conference course on digital justice
participants to the conference-course on the control of algorithms
participants in the conference course on digital vulnerability
Nearly one in two Belgians has difficulties with digital technology
This is what a study by the Digital Inclusion Barometer 2022 indicated. "The so-called "developed" states have adopted measures to digitalize the administration without taking into account the impact on certain populations, because the use of technology has always been synonymous with progress, speed, simplification..." explained Lucie Cluzel. This means that in order to live in a modern society, we must integrate new technologies into our daily lives at all costs, but this digital transformation leads to discriminatory situations. People in financial precariousness, the elderly, people with disabilities or those with reading and writing difficulties are the first to be affected by digital exclusion. In Belgium, the association Bibliothèque Sans Frontières fights against digital vulnerability. It offers professional training courses for people wishing to accompany and train vulnerable people in their use of digital technology. The objective? To promote digital inclusion of course!