Among the challenges to be met by the tropical world for its development, education and training are paramount. The importance of these challenges is all the more apparent as tropical countries, particularly those south of the Sahara, have initiated reforms aimed at professionalizing university courses. However, faced with the massive and rapid increase in their student population, the face-to-face education system is increasingly showing its limits. Insufficient infrastructure, the limited number of qualified and committed human resources, the concentration of these in the main cities, the isolation of many regions as well as security issues (limiting access to training sites), require the adoption of new training approaches in order to meet demand. Thus, tropical universities are called upon to transform themselves and to open up to approaches more suited to the contexts of these current challenges.
Distance learning (FAD) and open distance learning (FOAD) are solutions to remedy this situation. A space for innovation, the digital world is also the vehicle for a new circulation of ideas and scientific and technical advances.
If the first responsibility of the University is to appropriate these technologies and this knowledge, it is also its responsibility to share them with society as a whole. Teachers are, of course, the first agents of this institutional and social appropriation, but it is also, increasingly, the responsibility of students, whose skills integrate the requirements of the digital world (AUF, 2014).This development has considerably modified the functioning of the University itself and its modes of governance. The administration and teaching within the framework of the Master FOAD GAGER of the University of Ngaoundéré constitutes a remarkable example of which, by this scientific meeting, we celebrate its 10 years of existence.
Distance education : case of the Master GAGER
Defined by Glikman (1994) as being the transmission and learning of knowledge implemented outside the physical presence of the trainer and the trainee in the same place during the training, Distance Education was initiated in the years 1720 in America by Caleb Phillips. It gradually evolved from a system of postal correspondence to an online virtual learning system from the year 1999 (e-learning), passing in turn by radio and television learning. Distance learning, beyond the means of transmitting knowledge, has also evolved in its form to give rise to categories such as e-learning and MOOCs. The Master GAGER from the University of Ngaoundéré (Cameroon) whose experience is shared here falls into the first category.
It is not always easy to distinguish e-learning from other forms of distance learning. For UNESCO, e-learning is characterized by "freedom of access to the educational resources made available to the learner, without any restriction, namely: absence of admission conditions, route and pace of training chosen by the learner according to his availability and conclusion of a contract between the learner and the institution”. The European Commission understands it as "a distance education which allows everyone to work independently, at their own pace, wherever they are, in particular thanks to e-learning"..
Selon le site internet spécialisé eduscol, la FOAD repose sur un socle tripartite : l’intégration des technologies de l’information et de la communication, l’adaptation à l’individu et la modularité de la formation. Elle se démarque donc par un dispositif de formation basé sur la prise en compte des besoins des apprenants, « articulant les contenus de formation à des services variés » (tutorat, forum, exercices ou simulations, classes virtuelles, centres de ressources, courts vidéos, téléprésentiel…), qui libère des contraintes de lieux et de temps.
Génèse et description du Master GAGER
The MASTER in Geomatics, Planning and Resource Management (GAGER) is the culmination of an open and distance learning project developed from 2006 by the geomatics laboratory of the University of Ngaoundéré in Cameroon. The initiative of this training comes to meet a strong need for professionals in geomatics in Central Africa in particular, raised by observations of the scientific manager of this laboratory. Benefiting from strong interest and support from the administrative hierarchy of the said University, in this case the Rectorate, this training was launched in 2010 with 19 learners.
This Master is transversal to the natural, exact, human and social sciences. It mainly extends the Masters and Master I of geography, natural sciences and computer science. It revolves around the applications of geomatics understood as the “computer processing of data with spatial reference”. By combining geographical sciences and computer science, geomatics involves all disciplines interested in digitized geographical information (agriculture, planning, cartography, environment, geodesy, geography, geology, hydrology, pedology, topography, remote sensing, urban planning …). This Master 2 welcomes students from MASTERS 1 and staff from professional backgrounds with a level equivalent to Bac + 4.
It brings together geo-referenced data that can be analysed, updated and presented in several forms: individual, cartographic, thematic and synthetic. It is an information system containing subsystems for the entry, storage, extraction, manipulation, analysis, display of spatially referenced data. It presents itself as a revolution in the field of spatial analysis.
This Master 2 aims to be professional. For this, it focuses on the methods and tools of applied geomatics for the integrated management of territories and the environment. It therefore trains “geomaticians cartographers who manage territories and resources” specialized in the organization, storage, processing and management of geographic and environmental data. The originality of this training lies in its transversal nature which predisposes graduates to jobs in various sectors. This positioning offers training greater flexibility and adaptability to changes in the job market in this emerging field.
Ce MASTER prépare les étudiants aux métiers de l’aménagement et de la gestion des ressources à base de l’information géographique. Les diplômés issus de cette formation, directement opérationnels, sont capables de s’adapter à des domaines d’études très variés, aussi bien au sein des collectivités territoriales, que chez des prestataires de services (Bureaux d’études), les gestionnaires de l’environnement, les instituts de recherche….
Focused on the technological and professionalizing aspects, the skills developed respond to the policy of the CEMAC Heads of State within the framework of the LMD system, implemented by their Head of Government and applied by the Ministers of Higher Education. These skills are directly linked to geomatics in the broad sense, but also to everything that concerns the life of a company or a local community and its positioning in relation to others. Emphasis is placed on innovation, technological watch, and knowledge of cutting-edge technologies in the collection, storage, analysis and management of environmental data.
Technicians with dual skills, they can occupy positions of project managers in private or public companies, or heads of technical services of municipalities in various fields, but whose map, plan, spatialized digital information and are the main tools.
The lessons provide students with dual skills in the field of geographical sciences on the one hand and in the management of spatialized digital information on the other.
In this world where techno-pedagogy profoundly modifies the task of the teacher, the organization of teaching, the conception of learning, even the way in which the learner appropriates knowledge, the importance of ICT in training is now an unavoidable fact that it is important to document scientifically, because their integration into the education system now seems irreversible, but not without pitfalls.
Everything suggests that technologies are at the heart of a more global and deeper transformation of society with the emergence of what is now called the digital economy, itself tied to the rise of a knowledge society.
The integration of ICT in the work of the teacher cannot however be seen as a mechanical process. It concretely raises the whole fundamental question of the preparation and training of teachers in the optimal use of ICT in connection with the improvement of the quality of student training.
Thus, by being part of an analytical perspective of research and practices, with purposes of comparison and debate, this international conference on the 10 years of open and distance education of the Master's in Geomatics, Planning and Resource Management (GAGER) at Ngaoundéré University, intends, on the theoretical level, to present communications aimed at better understanding the process and the different impacts of Geomatics and ICT in university education.
The conference program focuses in particular on training in land use planning tools, resource management and pedagogical uses of ICT, on the transfer of techno-pedagogical skills in practice, and on the impact of ICT on the work of the teacher, in relation to the learning of the students.
The central theme of this International Conference is also based on the most recent results of international literature in the fields of land use planning, resource management and distance learning. How do ICTs contribute to training in land use planning and resource management? How are techno-pedagogical tools capitalized for university training in general and for professional training in the planning and management of resources in particular? These are the questions underlying this scientific meeting in Ngaoundéré. It is thus noted that the professional knowledge at the base of the teaching is varied and that it calls, not only on cognitive knowledge, on theoretical and disciplinary knowledge, but also on practical skills, knowledge of action , as well as skills and attitudes specific to this profession where teachers and tutors interact with learners at all times.
This variety of professional knowledge makes it possible to situate the question of the pedagogical integration of ICT with regard to a broader scientific problem concerning the cognitive, epistemological and pragmatic foundations of the work of teachers and their training.
Axis of the Conference
The session below underlie the issues that will be addressed during this meeting.
Session 1. Geomatics and land use planning.
Session 2. Geomatics, resource exploitation and management.
Session 3. Digital technologies and higher education.
As an epilogue to this International Conference, a training course open to young African teledetectors will be organized on 19 septembre, 2022. On September 20, 2022, a round table that will bring together specialists from various backgrounds, in order to discuss the question of FOAD , MOOCs and their integration into teaching curricula, online teaching and learning platforms made available to teachers and learners by universities wil be organinized at the opening of the Conference.
In this sense, the papers presented will attempt to highlight that the integration of ICT cannot be isolated from other dimensions of teaching and more global skills that underlie practices.
The speakers will be questioned in turn on one or the other of these questions and will be invited to answer them in pairs, previously selected by the facilitator. Conference participants will also be encouraged to share their questions and views throughout the activities, via the Telegram feed.
 AUF, 2014. Une stratégie numérique pour l’enseignement supérieur francophone, 48 p.
 Glikman V., 2014. « Pédagogies et publics des formations à distance. Quelques touches historiques », Distances et médiations des savoirs [En ligne], 8 | 2014, mis en ligne le 14 janvier 2015, consulté le 04 mars 2017. URL : http://dms.revues.org/902 ; DOI : 10.4000/dms.902
 Environment is understood here in the broad sense, taking into account the relationship between nature and societies.