The university has over 30,000 students, spread over seven sites in Brussels and Wallonia. Its main site is in Louvain-la-Neuve. The university trains students in all disciplines, from bachelor to doctorate, and offers numerous life-long education programmes. It is also a pioneer in the creation of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): it is the first French-speaking university in Europe to offer online courses on the EdX platform (36 courses available in 2021).
In February 2017, UCL chose to give all of its teachers access to Wooclap. The aim was to stimulate interaction between teachers and students, using a digital tool. The idea is to give students the chance to answer questions using their smartphones, and the result is a great success. More than 600 professors have used the app in almost 1300 classes, and by doing so, they achieved the university's objective to establish a dialogue between teachers and their students, even in large classrooms.
After using the platform for a year, the results far exceed initial expectations: Wooclap was used in 1 259 classes by 324 professors, during which 9 389 interactions were created on the platform, and to which more than 220 000 answers were given by UCL students.
This buzz has encouraged UCL and Wooclap's developers to expand their vision and collaboration in order to further improve the platform. New features have recently been implemented: a confusion indicator now shows how many students don't understand the class at any point in time, allowing the teacher to know exactly which topics are more difficult for the learners, and adapt the course content to the needs of every class.
Ingrid Bertrand, English teacher at UCL, says « Wooclap makes classes more dynamic by promoting interaction, both with and among students. Even less confident students take part in the online discussions, because everyone can share his or her arguments clearly and freely, meaning Wooclap also helps students improve their communication and argumentation skills. »
According to Min Reuchamps, political scientist at UCL, « Wooclap enables me to collect my students' thoughts and opinions in an instant, and more importantly, it allows me to test their knowledge of new material. This is particularly useful in large classes. ».
Laurence Mundschau is professor of Communication at UCL, and shared the following, « I can ask a student to clarify a certain issue and why his answer differs from that of his peers. This tool also gives me control of the class' tempo; after a presentation, I try to make my students relax by asking them to take part in an exercise resembling a game, but which is still educational. ».
As a student at the Louvain School of Management, Jean-François Ramault is excited about the new way classes are taught, « My favourite classes are those that use Wooclap, because it makes them more enjoyable, and answering questions during class lets me know how well I understand the class material. Wooclap requires me to be more actively involved, and consequently helps me pay attention. »
Francesco Contino, professor of engineering and specialist in thermodynamics at the Catholic University of Leuven, gives us his advice on how to build "a course where the student is the hero" with Wooclap.