“I left EUR in 2012 to go to Radboud University in Nijmegen and returned in May 2020. It was funny to see that some of my own texts are still in the teaching material, but a lot has changed too. The ICT support here is brilliant, much better than in other places.

“I like trying out new things in education. One of the teaching methods I use is the studio, where students give lessons themselves on Zoom. They prepare the material and arrange the programme. It gives me interesting insight into what material they enjoy working with. And actually being part of the lectures makes the students more involved.

“I used this form offline too, but it works really well online too. I’m obviously there myself during the lecture so that I can intervene or explain something if necessary. I don’t experience online teaching as more work.”

Robotic voice

Sandra van Thiel-klein

“The most annoying thing is when the technology doesn’t work. One of the first times I used Zoom, there was something wrong with my voice. I was only working on my laptop at the time and I tried everything, but the sound was very tinny. And then all you’re worried about is: ‘Is it better now?’ No not yet. ‘And now?’ No.

“So I got my husband involved, and he has an unusual sense of humour. He asked the students – luckily there weren’t many – what was wrong. ‘Well, your wife sounds a bit robotic,’ the students told him. To which my husband replied in a robotic voice, waving his finger over his lips: ‘T-h-a-t-s h-o-w s-h-e a-l-w-a-y-s s-o-u-n-d-s’. But he couldn’t solve the problem either. Anyway, after restarting Zoom, everything sounded normal again. I then bought lots of new equipment, like a good camera and microphone and a large monitor. I do like new gadgets.

“You know, all those cameras going on and off during a lecture don’t bother me too much. Even when you give a lecture in a hall to 250 students, there will always be some on their phone or sitting backwards or asleep. I’m so used to it that I just continue as normal. Or I say something like: it’s nice to see everyone and could you turn your cameras on? Two thirds of them will do it.”

Blame game

“I have the luxury of having my own study, and I now work completely from home because my husband is vulnerable due to illness. It’s nice to be able to work from home, but I’m looking forward to September when we can hopefully return to campus.

“To keep work a bit more fun, I organise social talks with my PhD students, where we spend an hour chatting about all kinds of things. I do the same with collegues, but you need to plan that kind of thing. The motivation has to come from you, but fortunately I enjoy my work. It’s hard for new colleagues starting in their first jobs at this time. And I don’t think it’s fair to blame students for being super spreaders. Imagine sitting around at home all day, even during an internship. That’s not easy.”