Colin Higuera

Colin de la Higuera (Université de Nantes )

About the Chairholder

Colin de la Higuera is the author of more than 70 reviewed research papers in the areas of Machine learning, algorithmics and formal language theory, and of a monograph, Grammatical Inference: Learning Automata and Grammars, published in 2010. He has been involved in grammatical inference and machine learning for the past 20 years. He is a trustee of the Knowledge for All Foundation and is involved in the issues of producing open educational resources. In this setting, he acted as chair of the Open Courseware Conference Global held in Ljubljana in 2014. He is also head of the COCO project at University of Nantes. He has been the President of the French Computer Science learned society from 2012 to 2015. In 2015 he launched project Class’Code whose goal is to teach instructors and educators in France, through OER, to coding and computational thinking.

About the Chair

UNESCO Chair in technologies for the training of teachers by OER: The goal of the UNESCO Chair in technologies for the training of teachers by OER is to support and extend a running French project whose goal is to train hundreds of thousands of teachers and education professionals to code and computational thinking. This operation (called Class’Code is based on 4 pillars which are (1) code as access point to science and technology, (2) territorial equity, (3) gender balance, and (4) reinforcement of the pedagogical territories. To build these pillars, we rely strongly on OER, support from the scientific and industrial communities, and research. The Chair will work towards sustaining this project, extend it to other countries (and specifically those from the francophone world), towards close fields such as those composing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The Chair will be built upon a partnership between the University of Nantes, INRIA, the Societe informatique de France and the Knowledge 4 All Foundation and will rely on the help of private companies interested in funding the chair’s activities.

Relevant Projects

Class’Code is an open participative solution from France to help teachers, educators and children activity organizers to introduce informatics to girls and boys. Class’Code is a free innovative blended learning program that places computer science at the heart of our educational system; our goal is to train members of the educational & informatics communities to teach young people from 8 to 14 basic programming and computer science. This includes creative programming, information coding, familiarization with networks, fun robotics, and the related impacts of technology in our society. It will help familiarise our children with the concept of algorithms, computational thinking and thus have control over the digital world. Since September 2016 the program has already reached 15.000 subscribers and around 3.200 learners are attending the meetings regularly setup by more than 40 structures all over France. All over France, our partners are encouraging a focused audience to join us at a local level. Class’Code is growing fast. The Class’Code project is supported by both academic and industrial federations in computer science, led by the SIF (Société informatique de France) and managed by Inria (the French Research Institute in computer science and applied mathematics). Magic Makers is in charge of the pedagogy, Open Classrooms drives the production while the deployment on the territories is under the leadership of Les Petits Débrouillards.

X5gon: Cross Modal, Cross Cultural, Cross Lingual, Cross Domain, and Cross Site Global OER Network: X5gon stands for easily implemented freely available innovative technology elements that will converge currently scattered Open Educational Resources (OER) available in various modalities across Europe and the globe. X5gon will combine content understanding, user modelling and quality assurance methods and tools to boost creating a homogenous network of (OER) sites and provides users (teachers, learners) with a common learning experience. X5gon will deploy open technologies for recommendation, learning analytics and learning personalisation services that will work across various OER sites, independent of languages, modalities, scientific domains, and cultural contexts. It will develop services for convergence of OER media which includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, related events and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. The solutions that will be offered to OER sites are fivefold: Cross-modal: technologies for multimodal content understanding; Cross-site: technologies to transparently accompany and analyse users across sites; Cross-domain: technologies for cross domain content analytics; Cross-language: technologies for cross lingual content recommendation; Cross-cultural: technologies for cross cultural learning personalisation.

PASTEL (2016-2020) is funded by the French National Research Agency. It aims at exploring the potential of real time and automatic transcriptions for the instrumentation of mixed educational situations where the modalities of the interactions can be face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous. The project will develop applications based on the transcription system outputs such as online multimodal information retrieval for the learner, or learner attention tracking for the teacher. The underlying development will be also used offline to automatically generate the materials of basic SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses). The outcome of the project will be made available to public institutions for higher education and research, and will also be transferred to the industry through Orange or start-ups associated to the research laboratories involved in the project. CominLabs OpenCourseware (COCo):

Project COCo (2013) ( is funded by the French National ANR agency and the Région Pays de la Loire. It aims at providing tools for annotating educational material (and specifically videos) and aligning academic work.

La Vie – Learning Adapted Video Information Enhancer: Developed a proof-of-concept system that provided users with advice on suitable videos for their needs.


Colin de la Higuera
University of Nantes
cdlh [at]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *