Whether it involves knowledge clips or recorded lectures, many students like online education, according to an EM survey this week. Looking back and being able to pause recorded lectures gives students a sense of freedom. Deans also recognise the advantages of online education. The online knowledge clips provide more time for questions and discussions during sessions on campus.

Zandvliet is part of the University Council’s blended learning taskforce and is one of the supporters of online education. He has enjoyed the last eighteen months. “Personally, I like the fact that lectures are recorded. I work alongside my studies, so I sometimes watch them in the evening. The fact that I can watch them at any time gives me a lot of freedom. It’s just tutorials that I prefer to have on campus. When students are together in a room, it’s much easier for them to consult each other.”

Offline, online of hybride? De toekomst van het onderwijs staat dankzij de coronacrisis op losse schroeven. Wordt alles anders of wordt alles als vanouds? In deze themaweek kijkt EM van alle kanten naar wat coronaonderwijs voor studenten en docenten heeft betekent, hoe het beter kan en waar we zo gauw mogelijk vanaf moeten.

Information not the same as education

‘We moeten echt beter nadenken over het effect op werkdruk en de mentale gezondheid van docenten’

Ana Uribe Sandoval

Uribe Sandoval has also noticed that students prefer online education. However, she has her doubts about this form of education. “Information is not the same as education. You can watch a lecture at home in bed, but that doesn’t give you the same experience as coming to campus. There you can ask questions and discuss the subjects with your fellow students.”

She is also concerned about teaching materials being reused. “Sometimes recorded lectures are used again, year in, year out. That shouldn’t be the case. The world around is changing, and it’s vital to adapt lectures to the subjects that concern students today. Obviously, this teaching method is cost effective, but it doesn’t benefit the students.”

In short: too many issues have not been properly thought through, says Uribe Sandoval. “We must really take the time to consider the effect of workload and the mental health of lecturers, and about many other things. That’s why I still support offline education.”

‘More research needed’

Education will probably never go completely online, according to Zandvliet. Because he too sees room for improvement. “We must first do more research before we can establish that. Will students become demotivated if most lectures can be followed online? Does online education have an impact on the figures? These are things we need to answer first. And if we want to have tutorials online, we must first study how we can improve the communication between students. Speaking with a delay really doesn’t work.”

Online education indispensable during the pandemic

Uribe Sandoval and Zandvliet do agree on one thing though: during the pandemic, online education is indispensable. Uribe Sandoval: “These are unusual times, and we need online education.” Nevertheless, she says: “This is an unusual situation. We can’t plan the future of education based on the worst scenario.”

Zandvliet also underlines the importance of online education in the short term. “We must now ensure that everyone can actually study, whether the students are at home due to coronavirus or not.” The University Council therefore has regular discussions with the Executive Board about offering students online education. “We heard noises from various faculties that lectures weren’t recorded, despite the promise to do so. The U Council is pressing the Executive Board to offer all lectures online.”

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