“Lecturers are a university’s soldiers fighting on the frontlines. Before the Christmas break, I finished teaching the Corporate Finance course, which is taken by all 1,800 Business Administration and IBA students. I decided to give the lectures live, as I prefer doing things that way. I love interacting with students, joking around and having a beer with them afterwards on campus. Many of my students have moved out of their parents’ homes for the first time, but they’ve never come to campus. I feel responsible for those kids.”

Terrible quality

“So after the summer, I was supposed to teach 1,800 students, even though the university was not giving me the right tools to do so. Zoom calls can only be attended by three hundred users at a time, so basically, I would’ve had to teach the same lecture at least five times in order to allow everyone to attend. Moreover, the image quality of those classes makes my eyes bleed. My students tell me that the sound often is lousy, because of a mediocre microphone. How the hell is that possible?”

Own studio

Florian Madertoner
Florian Madertoner.

“I decided to teach my lectures from a professional studio in Rotterdam-Zuid and to live-stream them using both Zoom and YouTube 1. This would allow students to ask questions in Zoom. I had a teaching assistant keep an eye on the questions raised in YouTube’s chat function, and he would then pass on the questions to me.”

“In the end, I built a high-tech studio in my own living room, based on the recommendations given by the people who ran the studio. RSM didn’t pay me a cent to do so, but it allows me to be completely autarkic now. Of course, providing good image quality makes no difference when you’re teaching a bad lecture, but it is the cherry on the cake.”

Greedy

“I’m disappointed with the way exams are currently being administered. I understand we were all caught with our pants down by the coronavirus crisis. But it’s been a year now, and I’m still having to administer unproctored open-book examinations, where students don’t have to show any ID and I have no idea who is sitting the exam. As far as I’m concerned, online proctoring is the only way to prevent cheating. “

“But the university is greedy. They’re like a restaurant that wishes to feed one hundred clients at the same time, but only employs one chef, and is surprised that the quality of the food leaves something to be desired. In such cases, you either hire another chef, or you accept fewer clients. You don’t just take these kids’ money and have them attend Zoom calls with three hundred other students.”

“In order to prevent cheating, they asked me to come up with sixty more multiple-choice questions, on top of the twenty I already had. And to make it even harder to cheat, they are giving students very little time to sit their exams, so that they have no time to secretly consult others. As a lecturer, I feel very uncomfortable about that.”

Least glorious job

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‘The most annoying thing is when the technology doesn’t work’

Sandra van Thiel is very appreciative of the ICT support given to staff and is also happy…

“I know that students are having a rough time of it, so at the start of my series of lectures I told my students: in the next nine weeks, all my time will belong to you. I gave them my mobile phone number and told them to message me if they had any concerns. So now I’m chatting to about five students every night.”

“Teaching is my calling, and teaching Bachelor’s students is the least glorious job you can have, but it’s where you can make the greatest difference. I feel that teachers have the most important job in our economy. I can tell that our students are having a tough time of it emotionally, and I try to guide them, or refer them to one of our fantastic student counsellors. But it does keep me up at night sometimes.”

  1. Check here first online lecture on Corporate finance (lecture starts after 15:30 minutes ↩︎
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