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Learn Anywhere: more possibilities and an equal learning experience for students in the classroom and online

During the summer break, three lecture halls at Wijnhaven were equipped with advanced equipment and an education system in order to provide the best hybrid teaching possible during the upcoming academic year. The Learn Anywhere pilot will take place within the FGGA, which Koen Caminada is very happy about.

A total of 16 courses/ workgroups and 34 instructors and tutors are participating in the project at the FGGA. €60,000 has been invested per lecture hall: Vice-dean Caminada: With the latest techniques, the boundaries are blurring meaning that it should no longer matter where the student or instructor is physically located. An exciting development for which my expectations are high as with the support from the UFB, our motivated instructors and tutors, the effective project management and monitoring in collaboration with ICLON, the ingredients for success are certainly present as far as I’m concerned.

Facilitating a future-proof way of hybrid education

The UFB initiated the pilot, which Ronald Grootveld is leading: ‘We have set up three lecture halls in Wijnhaven, three at the Law faculty, one at Social Sciences and one in the Education faculty in the Oude Sterrenwacht for this project. The aim is to achieve an equal learning experience for students in the classroom as well as those online through a hybrid format. We seized the momentum of the COVID situation with both hands to see whether we can arrange this format of education in a future-proof way. It is not intended to bridge the corona period,’ Caminada agrees. ‘The FB wants to achieve more than this than just furnishing a beautiful lecture hall. Everyone understands that the future of our education will be partially blended.’ 


Classes are online and on campus

Impressed with the system

Various training courses have been conducted in the last few weeks in order to bring the didactic aspect and technical aspects together. Grootveld remarked: ‘This meant the instructors could practice and we could see if everything worked as we had planned. Do the cameras work? Can everyone be seen and heard? How is the interactivity? Is everything clear to the instructors?’ It’s very important that instructors had a chance to practice, said Caminada. ‘The system is user-friendly, but of course it takes some getting used to - just like cycling. You fall a couple of times and you get back up, and that’s how you learn.’

Celesta Kofman leads the team of tutors from the Bachelors of Security Studies that will teach using Learn Anywhere. She and her team are enthusiastic following the training sessions: ‘We were impressed with the equipment and the systems. There is a lot at stake for the participants, and instructors will have to learn to best use the system in practice, but there are many possibilities. The biggest advantages in my opinion are: high quality microphones, a screen with participants working from home at the back of the room so that the instructor does not have to look at the screen all the time to see those people, and a camera that can move with the instructor, so that, for example, people at home can also read what is written on the whiteboard. In the coming year, we will investigate which subjects and teaching methods are best suited for this way of teaching. In any case, the pilot fits in with an innovative study programme such as Security Studies!’

Greater flexibility

The pilot will last the entirety of this academic year, and expectations are high. Kofman said: ‘I hope that the barrier between students at home and those on campus disappears. The system lends more flexibility to instructors, students and the programme as a whole.’ Caminada agrees: ‘There is certainly more flexibility if such a system works well. Then, for example, we can cater to significantly more students with the consistently limited room lecture hall capacity. And, students from further away can join more easily, whilst those who prefer physical presence in their lectures are simultaneously catered for. The possibilities are endless.’

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