Total and the prestigious French engineering school Ecole des Ponts worked together with the online training platform Coursera to offer to a broad-based audience the possibility of acquiring a basic understanding of the scientific, technical and economic fundamentals of bitumen and its applications. The title of this first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on bitumen is: ‘Mastering bitumen for better roads and innovative applications’.

As the result of over eight months of active collaboration between Total – Europe’s leading supplier of bitumen – the Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech – France’s oldest engineering school – and the online training specialist Coursera, this MOOC will give to a broad-based audience the possibility of acquiring and mastering essential knowledge about bitumen.

The course covers the entire bitumen chain from crude oil to its final applications in road construction and industry. It deals with all questions concerning this construction material, from its production, its composition and its chemico-physical properties right up to its applications, its behavior in asphalt road surfaces and its recycling. It also provides details about standards and the market as well as R&D perspectives for new, innovative applications for optimized performance, cost-effectiveness and environmental compatibility, in keeping with Total’s slogan: ‘Committed to better energy.’

Leading experts
‘During four weeks, leading experts in bitumen will bring you their knowledge and experience to build a strong understanding of today’s realities and new perspectives on the future of bitumen,’ explains Jean-François Corté, General Secretary of the World Road Association (PIARC), who teaches at the Ecole des Ponts, in his online presentation of the MOOC.

The course consists of a series of videos with an approximative total length of four hours and a half, presented by international experts and organized in four chapters designed to be assimilated in as many weeks. At the end of each week, a quiz gives learners the possibility to make sure that they properly acquired the information delivered by the instructors. Overall, the course offers the equivalent of four days of training.
‘It is actually a ‘MOOC on demand’,’ points out Laurent Docet from Ponts Formation Conseil, pedagogical supervisor of the project. ‘The learners are completely free to work at the rhythm that suits them best.’

To ensure access to the MOOC for a wide international audience, the instructors are speaking in English, but a French translation is available with a simple click.

Creation of a community
The site also gives learners access to general and thematic forums, where they can exchange with the pedagogical teams and other participants and thus build a truly international bitumen community that includes researchers, teachers, technicians, students and users.
With its interactive use of digital tools, the MOOC ‘Mastering bitumen for better roads and innovative applications’ positions itself from the outset as the new reference for the transfer of knowledge and the sharing of experience in the field of bitumen and bituminous products.