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Simulation of a real project: notifications concerning releases of genetically modified higher plants

Simulation of a real project: notifications concerning releases of genetically modified higher plants

This method is a methodological strategy of teaching and learning in which students carry out a real project applying the skills and knowledge acquired during the formative process.

Therefore, students simulate a real solicitation by completing the information required in notifications concerning releases of genetically modified higher plants (gymnospermae and angiospermae), which includes information relating to recipient or parental plants, the genetic modification, the genetically modified plant, etc.

Simulation of a real project: notifications concerning releases of genetically modified higher plants

Resources produced as a result of a project: Escapade

Group size : Classroom (20-30 persons)

Modality : Hybrid

Duration of the teaching method : An entire session

Special equipment : Computers with internet connection

Type of knowledge developed : Knowledge, Know-how

Target Audience : Students

Course Type : Practical work (TP)

Preparation time :2 hours

Author and persons who made changes : Estela Gimenez, Patricia Giraldo, Ana Moliner and Soledad Sacristan

Why am I using this technique?

For me, teacher or trainer...

The method allows the teacher to know if students understood genetic engineering techniques, such as genetic transformation in plants, plasmid design, in vitro culture techniques, etc., previously learned. Additionally, this activity initiates the applicable legislation, which includes authorisation, registration, public consultations, traceability and labelling, transboundary movements, etc., that will be posteriorly taught.

This activity helps me to reinforce the knowledge explained in theoretical classes, amplifying it and relating it to real situations. I can also refer to this experience in subsequent theoretical classes, because a real experience always combines many different concepts.


Framework and steps / Instructions

The framework

    When this workshop is given, students must have previously learnt lessons related with genetic engineering (plasmid design, genetic transformation methods, in vitro culture techniques, genetic editing, etc.). Students must understand that in order to grow GMOs or to market food and feed, derived products or GMOs, the crops must be authorized by the competent authorities, according to international, European and national laws.

    Therefore, we mimic in a real situation of request for authorization of deliberate release of a genetically modified higher plant.

The preparation

    The teacher must prepare computers with Internet access for each student.

    The teacher must know the legislation about GMOs and the web page used to develop the activity.

The process

Students play the role of employees in an international agritech company, which is developing GM plants. To evaluate the safety of these plants, the company needs to submit the request form for authorization of deliberate release of a genetically modified higher plants.

In order to be able to carry out the authorization, students are led in the UE web page of GMOs and all tabs (legislation, authorization, register, etc.) are shown and analysed.

Finally, students are led to applicable legislation and the request form for authorization of deliberate release of a genetically modified higher plant is downloaded.

Students must fill in the request form. Students can use all information studied in previous classes and information from UE and specific country web pages and from internet in general.


Once the activity is finished, each student must submit the request of authorization filled up. Students will have one week to complete the activity and prepare the request and submit it. The evaluation will be made based on the request.

Points to evaluate:

-Design of GMO:  Clear description of recipient or parental plant, genetic modification (description of the methods used for the genetic modification, nature and source of the vector used, source (name) of donor organism(s) and intended function of each constituent fragment of the region intended for insertion, etc.), information relating to the genetically modified plant (description of the trait(s) and characteristics which have been introduced or modified, information on the sequences actually inserted/deleted, information on the expression of the insert, etc)

-Innovation in the genetic modification event

-Punctuality to apply the request


-The genetic modification event described does not necessarily need to be invented. Instead, an event previously described can be modified and used to carried out the activity.

-The web pages relating to GMOs from each UE countries can be used to develop the activity instead the UE web page.

What if it doesn't work?

This activity can be considered more or less complex, but it always works. If the computers do not work, the authorization of deliberate release of a genetically modified higher plant can be filled on paper.


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World coffee

It is a dynamic group work where different workshops are proposed. It mobilizes the qualities of expression (oral and written) and creativity of the participants.

World coffee

Group size : Classroom (20-30 persons), Amphitheater, large group

Modality : Presential

Duration of the teaching method : An entire session

Special equipment : A3 sheets, felt-tip pens, flipchart / board, fixed paste or scotch. Modular room

Type of knowledge developed : Social skills

Target Audience : Students, Professionals in training, Particularly suitable for groups with cultural heterogeneity, Particularly suitable for mixed groups

Course Type : Tutorials (TD)

Preparation time :Between 30 minutes and 1h, maybe more for the first time

Author and persons who made changes : Nathalie Agbagla, Laurent Tézenas

Why am I using this technique?

For my learners...

On the one hand, learners' personal knowledge and experiences are mobilized. On the other hand, this method reinforces group work.

Indeed, work is productive only if it is organized. It promotes group cohesion, listening and mobilizes the creativity of participants in a fun way. The work is dynamic and in a friendly atmosphere (food and drinks are allowed).

Moreover, continuing the work started by a previous group enriches the learners: on how to organize the knowledge on paper, the reasoning used as well as the knowledge, experiences and opinions that are shared, being confronted with other ideas, point of view...

For me, teacher or trainer...

The preparation phase of this method requires time and organization during its development.

However, the teacher/trainer plays the role of facilitator during the session, and this breaks the monotony of more traditional courses. Moreover, it removes the distance between the learner and the teacher and the session takes place in a good mood.

Framework and steps / Instructions

The framework

If knowledge needs to be mobilized, it is best to apply it in the session following the theoretical course or at the end of the module.
As part of a training course, at the end of the morning or at the end of the day.

The preparation

  • Sufficient number of A3 sheets
  • One flip chart OR A4 sheets (workshop plan)
  • A large modular room with tables and chairs OR several adjacent rooms
  • Fixed paste OR scotch
  • A painting OR a large wall

The process


  1. Select the themes for each workshop (a general theme addressed from different viewpoints/ways OR different sub-themes). That is, at each table, a question is submitted to the participants
  2. Divide participants into groups in a heterogeneous way (different culture, student background, professional)
  3. Print the route maps of each group with
        •    the names of the participants
        •    the order of participation in the workshops
        •    a brief reminder of the essential instructions
  4. Print the theme of each workshop OR draw a map of the workshops with their theme on the board (OR flip chart)


A single facilitator is sufficient to organize the session. The first step is to prepare the room or ask the participants to help set up the tables and chairs.

A great deal of attention must be paid to explaining the instructions at the beginning of the session. This step is essential for the proper functioning of the World Café.

Explaining also the expected purpose and why this method is being applied allows participants to better understand what is expected of them.


  1. Participants are divided into groups. Groups participate in all workshops once. Each workshop is short between 10 and 15 minutes and the facilitator plays the role of time master. Once the time is up, the group moves to the next workshop, noted on their roadmap.
  2. The participants are expected to contribute their knowledge, experience and ideas in a synthetic and creative way. They must also use the feedback from groups that have previously come to the workshop, compare their ideas...
  3. All participants spoke. Good mood, friendly atmosphere and listening are the watchwords to remember.
  4. At the end of the session, each group must report the whole of the work of the workshop where it is, and this in 1 min orally.


Once the learners have had the instructions the session can begin. 1 minute before the end of the workshop, the teacher-trainer must remind people who have not spoken that minute to do so.

Participants are often a little confused at the beginning of the exercise, then gradually learn to be effective and productive in a very short time. The final restitution: during the last rotation, the participants do not complete the work already done, or only if they consider that ideas are missing. Then they choose someone to speak. This exercise also helps to be synthetic and get to the point.


Debriefing can be an integral part of the World Coffee, but it all depends on the purpose of the work (to develop more in-depth knowledge, substance or rather a form of work such as group work).

It is a phase or once again, the distance between teacher and student decreases. The participants feel listened to, solicited by the person who set up the method. Their feelings, what they remember about the method, if there are things to improve and why are so much useful information.

In the case where the objective is to review more advanced knowledge, this makes it possible to synthesize all the knowledge seen, and to be able to keep these syntheses at hand (with a view to an examination for example).


  • With a rapporteur: when changing workshops, one person from each group stays on the workshop and summarizes to the arriving group what has been done. So at the beginning of the World Café, this person stays twice on the same workshop. When changing workshops, this rapporteur leaves and is replaced by a member of the group to whom he has summarized the workshop, and so on...
  • With different questions of form: video, object, photograph/image, quotation...

Points of vigilance

  • Ensure the heterogeneity of the groups (work to be done upstream),
  • Explain the instructions well at the beginning of the World Café,
  • Pay attention to the time given to participants.

What if it doesn't work?

It should show right away. No group interactions... in this case, take the time to explain again what the participants should do and what is expected of them.


I keep a very good memory of this exercise! It was stimulating, everyone participated, it was original to work in this way. Good mood and friendly atmosphere were there.

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