Novel field trips

In this new article, we are continuing to explore the mechanisms introduced by IFP School to ensure teaching continuity during the Covid-19 period. This time, we are reverting to the adjustments made to maintain field trips.

Reinvented field trips

As part of their training, students at IFP School's Georesources and Energy Center traditionally take part in geological field courses run from September to October and in the spring (in the Spanish Pyrenees).

In 2020, many courses had to be shortened, postponed or even cancelled due to the health crisis. This was the case for the course in Wessex/Dorset, in the south of the United Kingdom, which was planned at the beginning of the academic year for students on the Petroleum Geosciences (PGS) and Reservoir Geoscience and Engineering (RGE) programs.

In the absence of immersions abroad, IFP School has insisted on maintaining the field courses on national territory following a strict sanitary protocol (compulsory mask wearing, frequent hand washing, protective measures, one student per row in the bus, one student per room for accommodation, etc.).

Field trips are an integral part of the training of engineering students, as they allow them to apply the theoretical lessons learned in the classroom. Above all, they offer an opportunity to observe on the surface, on selected rock outcrops, the equivalent of reservoir formations containing hydrocarbons buried deep underground that they will have to analyze, model and produce during their career.

Some forty students from the PGS and RGE programs travelled to central and south-eastern France to take part in two one-week courses, one between the Limagnes and northern Vercors, and the other in southern Vercors and in the Baronnies.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, five of their classmates were unable to join them. The Georesources and Energy Center team took up the challenge of having them experience the event from a distance.

"Covid-19 has reconfigured learning and changed our teaching practices," notes Arnaud Torres, a geology teacher at the Georesources and Energy Center. "We had to imagine and think up solutions, sometimes in a hurry, to provide the best possible support for the remote learning students.”

With the help of his teaching colleagues (Éric Deville and Olivier Lerat), Arnaud filmed all the comments made on each outcrop and incorporated the recordings into interactive presentations on the collaborative platform Genially, adding additional teaching material (interactive maps, videos, photos, articles, etc.).

As Arnaud emphasizes, "These devices will never replace the experience in the field. My goal was twofold: to let remote learning students continue their training, and to provide students in the field with additional teaching support.”

    Présentation Genially Stage sud du Vercors
    Day 2 of the field course in southern Vercors - An example of the Genially interactive presentations prepared by Arnaud Torres, a teacher at IFP School's Georesources and Energy Center, to enable remote learning students to participate in the field courses.

    With the help of the Genially materials, Linfeng Tian, a student in the Petroleum Geosciences program, followed the field courses from China.

    "Thanks to this method, I was able to continue my studies from the other side of the world with a 7-hour time difference! I watched the videos and studied the references provided at my own pace; I was able to go back over the parts I hadn’t understood," he says.

    Relive the field courses with the Genially interactive presentations:

    Author of the article: Meyling Siu