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Rob Goedemans: 'I'm sure we'll get through this together'

Rob Goedemans (52) is an information manager at the department Information Management and Facilities (IFZ) and member of the crisis team. He is involved in facilitating and providing information about distance learning. We asked Rob how he is helping our faculty through this hectic period.

‘As an information manager, I, together with Marjana Rhebergen, am responsible for all IT matters in the areas of Education, Research and Operations. I have been doing this for two years now, but I have been working for at the Humanities' faculty for twenty-eight years already and during that time I held various positions. I started in academics and as a linguist, I am still involved with the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL). After that, I was editor-in-chief at the faculty's web editorial team and IT & Education coordinator.’

The crisis team

‘Before the start of the coronacrisis, the faculty was already preparing the possible scenario in which distance learning would be the reality. This is why I was asked to join the decentral crisis team. In the beginning, I was still able to perform many of my regular activities, but that has changed now. In the last two weeks the Information Management and Facilities department (IFZ) has been working continiously to ensure that all of our teachers can conduct their teaching activities online and that all students can participate online; whether this entails watching a lecture, participating in a live workgroup or doing an exam. The atmosphere in the crisis team gives me courage; it emits collegiality. The members are working day after day to make the team function as the chess and switchboard that it should be. We'll get through this together, I'm sure.’

Kudos to everyone

‘Everyone must, of course, be well informed about all options and which one is best to apply per situation. And all of that in top gear. Without the boundless effort and overtime of the ICT & Education experts of ECOLe (Expertise Center Online Learning) it would have been impossible setting this up and informing everyone. It was very thrilling when we all started using the same online platforms. Employees of the ISSC, among others, needed to work on new software and scaling up the existing platforms for mass remote usage, which fortunately went quite well. In these types of operations, I'm the first contact person for the ISSC.  I have nothing but praise for the commitment everyone shows. Things occasionally falter and people do experience that, but I don't hear anyone complaining. People become creative with alternatives, are very self-reliant, and respond pleasantly to what we are able to achieve in this situation. I give everyone a compliment for that attitude.’

Every day brings something new

‘If I work from home? No, together with Ferdinand Harmsen and Thomas Vorisek I monitor the P.J. Veth fort. Of course, we do this according to national guidelines. Our work sometimes just requires us to be there. We start in the morning with a meeting in Microsoft Teams with all ECOLe employees and our department head joining in. Then we exchange relevant information and discuss what needs to be done that day. Every day is different, but the common thread is a lot of coordination and coordination with people. Furthermore, it ranges from brainstorming about how we should let students take exams in the near future, to searching the internet whether there are still webcams available for teachers who have no options at home to record video.’

Netflix, hiking, geocaching, cooking

‘I didn't have much free time these days. My wife works in the Intensive Care Unit of the LUMC, I don't need to say more about that I think. Netflix is ​​our biggest friend in the free hours we have, but we also like to take a nice walk; we often combine that with geocaching. We also love to cook and the weekend provides us enough time to do that wonderfully well. One of our biggest hobbies, traveling, had to be postponed. Last week we were supposed to be in Norway, searching for the Northern Lights. But things turned out differently...’

No hoarding, please

‘My message to all students and employees of the Faculty of Humanities is: take this pandemic seriously, stay healthy, pay attention to the elderly or a sick neighbor and do some groceries for them. But please, leave us a pack of toilet paper and a carton of eggs.’

The Humanities at Home series is the temporary replacement for Humans of Humanities. We will do a portrait of one of our researchers, staff members of students, every other week. What are they, and what do they do? You can find more portraits and information on this page.

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