Many students miss being able to go to campus every day and see all their fellow students. Nevertheless, there are other students who wouldn’t mind having all their lectures online from now on, or who’d like to keep some hybrid learning at the very least. These students’ personal views give us some insight into the other side of the story.
Myrthe Hovius, 22, master in Medicine
“When I was still doing my Bachelor’s in medicine last year, we’d sometimes have four hundred people spread across two different lecture theatres. Students in Theatre no. 1 would sometimes be able to ask a question after the lecture because the lecturer was there. Students in the other lecture theatre were often unable to do so. It’s honestly a lot easier [to ask questions] in online classes. Lecturers now address questions the moment you ask them.
“When it comes to seminars, I like that we can do it with breakout rooms. Here, too, it’s a fact that once two out of sixty students have asked their questions, there is very little room left for any other questions. Breakout rooms allow for more interaction, and lecturers can provide more targeted help.
“I think in-person classes are only necessary for genuinely practical exercises, such as resuscitation, contact exercises and first aid.”
Hazem Omran, 21, International Bachelor in Communication and Media
“Due to my ADHD, I prefer online lectures, because I get to set the pace myself. For instance, I can view the lecture at a faster or slower pace or watch something again if I don’t understand what is being said or if something is going a little too fast for me.
“Another thing I’ve noticed while attending online and on-campus lectures is that I’m able to focus much better when attending online lectures because I’m less distracted by people and fellow students. I’ve noticed that when I’m attending lectures on campus, I have a tendency to look around, chat with my fellow students or simply get distracted in general. But when I’m at home, I’m better able to take notes, take screenshots and follow what is being said.”
Dunya*, 24, bachelor Educational Sciences
“I spend nearly all my time at home because I get fatigued very easily. Ever since age 16, I’ve suffered from a chronic vitamin B12 deficiency, meaning I fall asleep or need some rest after three hours’ hard work. I need an hour and a half’s sleep to be able to go on. Because of that, and because I also have dyslexia, it will take me longer to complete my degree than I’d like. In-person classes were quite the challenge for me.
“Online classes are great for me, because when I’m on campus I can’t sleep in between my classes, and this way I don’t have to do the two-hour commute from Zeeland.
“At the moment I find it hard to combine the eight hours of lectures I have in my degree programme with all the things I love. I have hardly enough energy as it is. It really takes quite an effort to get any studying done at all, so it’s vital to me that I be able to watch lectures at a later time and view them at my own pace. Without this I can’t really do it properly. So I’m all in favour of online teaching!”
*Real name has been substituted by the editors.
Chris Zandgrond, 32, legal counsel, is doing a part-time degree in Philosophy
“The lectures taught as part of my degree in philosophy generally start at four and end at eight. It’s very hard for me to attend them in person, because I work as a legal counsel at a Rotterdam law firm until five o’clock or later. I work thirty hours a week, and focusing on my studies for twenty hours a week is hard without any form of flexibility.
“So for me, online teaching is great. I don’t miss campus life and student life. I had those before. I’m all about the curriculum and in-depth study.”
Gertjan Soet, 20, bachelor Economics and Law
“I started in 2020, so I’ve hardly had any in-person lectures. In other words, I’m not used to them.
“But yeah, if I had to choose, I’d choose online classes, because I live in Bodegraven and it takes me about two and a half hours to go to Woudestein and back.
“I’m actually very lucky to have all these online classes, because I’m doing two Bachelor’s degrees. Being able to set my own hours is very useful to me, because I don’t have an awful lot of time. This way my class timetables don’t clash. I’m able to view everything at a faster pace, and the fact that I’m not always able to ask questions is something I can live with. The only time I go to campus is for certain group assignments.”