“I hope that this Education Lab will not only be a place that will bring about education reform, but a meeting spot where ideas will be exchanged, so that we can all continue to inspire each other,” said EUR’s Rector, Rutger Engels, during the opening ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.
Digital component of teaching
The driving force behind the new lab was the Community for Learning and Innovation (CLI), a platform made up of representatives of all faculties that engage in education reform. “We are always on the lookout for ways to make the most of teaching processes,” says Mirjam van de Woerdt, CLI’s communications advisor.
Digitisation plays a vital part in this. “For instance, lecturers can record their lectures beforehand, so that students can listen to them before the actual get-togethers. This will allow you to use the time scheduled for the actual lecture for a more in-depth discussion of the subject, answering in-depth questions or coaching,” Van de Woerdt explains.
‘Even though the Lab largely seems to be about digitisation, digitisation in and of itself is not the Lab’s purpose’
In addition to the DIY recording rooms, where recording one’s presentation or lecture is made easy, the Education Lab boasts a large studio. “This is a state-of-the-art studio,” says Pjotr van Baarle, who is responsible for the technology used in the Lab. “You can host a talk show here or use Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality, which you can use, for instance, to re-enact certain events, such as an earthquake or a surgical procedure.”
“Everything is IP-based here,” Van Baarle goes on to say, “which means we are connected all the time. If you wish to go ‘live’ for a nation-wide TV broadcast, we can arrange that in no time at all.”
But even though the Lab largely seems to be about digitisation, digitisation in and of itself is not the Lab’s purpose, in Van de Woerdt’s opinion. “You can also bring about education reform in very small ways, such as getting your students more involved or finding ways to obtain more feedback.” As far as these things are concerned, the discussion rooms come in handy. “This is where you can attend inspiration sessions, or alternatively, you can attend teaching training, coaching or brainstorming sessions here.”
Students will also be given a part to play in the Education Lab through the Students-for-Students platform, a group of students who help other students realise their ideas for education reform.
Nadine Nieuwstad, a student member of CLI’s steering group and the person in charge of projects carried out by students, believes that the new lab will make a great difference. “In my capacity as a student, I’m really excited about the investments the university is making to bring about significant education reform,” she says. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these new technologies will change subjects and degree programmes.”
The aforementioned new technologies cost EUR €4.3 million. The funds were drawn from the university’s strategic budget and from the Campus-under-Construction budget. “It’s a huge sum,” admits Van de Woerdt. “But it’s definitely worth the money, considering everything we’re getting in return.”
If you’re curious to see what the new Education Lab looks like, be sure to watch the video!