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Seven Comenius grants for Leiden lecturers

Eleven lecturers from Leiden University have been awarded Comenius grants that will allow them to work with their teams on an innovation project within their own teaching. They have been awarded three grants of 100,000 euros within the Senior Fellows programme and four grants of 50,000 euros within the Teaching Fellows programme.

The Comenius grants are awarded each year to teaching professionals in higher education to encourage educational innovation. The grants are funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, as a token of appreciation for excellent and inspired teaching. Their implementation is the responsibility of the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO). Some 66 fellowships are awarded each year, 40 of which in the Teaching Fellow programme, 22 in the Senior Fellow programme and four in the Leadership Fellow programme. The laureates join the national ComeniusNetwork, a network of educational innovators in higher education.

Climate change education

Min Cho – Assistant Professor in Global Health, Innovation and Society (FGGA/LUC)
Jyothi Thrivikraman – Assistant Professor in Global Health, Innovation and Society (FGGA/LUC)

Senior Fellowship Project: A teaching journey of resilience and climate change education
Thema: Open theme

Higher Education Institutions will need to respond to expectations from students to equip them to make significant contributions towards sustainable futures. The question arises: how are educators meant to incorporate climate change education to meet student needs? Many teachers, especially those in non-STEM disciplines, feel unsure about how to teach climate change or address the anxieties of students. Our innovation ‘EcoConnect’ seeks to build a toolkit containing CCE teaching methods, workshops, and a website. Through EcoConnect, non-STEM faculties will be able to acquire skills and tools to incorporate climate change education to support student learning.

Digital heritage education

Karin de Wild – Assistant Professor of Contemporary Museum and Collection Studies (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society)
Peter Verhaar – Assistant Professor and Digital Scholarship Librarian (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society)

Senior Fellowship Project: A new didactic approach to digital heritage education
Thema: Connecting to the labour market

While cultural heritage is increasingly made available digitally, many heritage institutions currently experience a shortage of digitally skilled staff. For this reason, it is crucial for current cohorts of humanities students to develop skills and knowledge in the field of digital curating, data science and AI. This project focuses on the implementation of content-related and didactic innovations which will enable students to develop the relevant expertise in an efficient and engaging manner. Working with a form of education based on the principle of integrative learning, students will learn how to work in transdisciplinary environments and to apply theoretical knowledge to concrete situations.

Educating medical students and nurses in training together

Alexandra Langers – Gastroenterologist, teacher in bachelor and master of Medicine and bachelor Biomedical Siences (LUMC)
Esther Hamoen –
Internist-endocrinologist and clinical teacher in the internal medicine clerkship of the master of Medicine (LUMC)

Senior Fellowship Project: Bring the hospital to the healthcare professionals in training: integration of virtual teaching activities in a clinical teaching unit to enhance interprofessional workplace learning

Physicians and nurses are educated separately. However, in their future workplace, both healthcare professionals work together. A substantial part of their education, especially at the start of the bachelor, takes place outside the hospital. In daily practice, we see that students experience a barrier once they start their workplace training. Our project aims to educate medical students and nurses in training together, so they can learn with each other, and from one another. We will do this by using modern technology to create a realistic and safe environment which brings a real-life ward to the teaching environment outside the hospital.

App that teaches critical thinking

Zsuzsika Sjoerds – Assistant Professor Cognitive Neuroscience & Metascience - (Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology)
Sebo Uithol –
Assistant Professor Cognitive Neuroscience & Philosophy (Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology)

Teaching Fellowship Project: The Family Dinner app: the app that teaches students critical thinking
Thema: Education forms of the future

In a world filled with misinformation, critical thinking is an essential yet challenging skill. Universities strive to turn students into critical thinkers, but are faced with full curricula and limited practice time. Our ‘Family Dinner’ app simulates real conversations at the dinner table with ‘family members’, training students to recognise argumentation fallacies and biases in a relatively natural setting. A pilot at Leiden University showed that learning through the app is highly effective and appreciated. With the Comenius Teaching Fellow grant, we transform our pilot app into a didactically advanced learning tool that can be made available for a large user community.

Diversifying history

Kim Beerden – Lecturer in Ancient History (Institute for History)

Teaching Fellowship Project: Wanted: roadmap. Diversifying history between contents and process
Theme: Diversity and inclusion

Many lecturers aim to make their courses more diverse, but they often encounter problems in the process. The project ‘Wanted: roadmap’ develops a roadmap for Dutch (academic) historians to bring this into practice. BA1 teaching in Graeco-Roman history at Leiden University functions as its pilot, making this project a communal effort of the Ancient History colleagues.

Experiences (re)developing assignments will be used to show in the roadmap how the following four themes may be dealt with: diversity of materials, inclusive language, trigger warnings and accessibility. In this way, the project seeks to make a fundamental contribution to diversification in Dutch history education.

Language support for students with reading difficulties

Eun-Ju Kim – Lecturer in Korean (Leiden Institute for Area Studies)

Teaching Fellowship Project: Levelling the reading and learning environment: language support for students of Korean and Japanese with reading difficulties (LD/dyslexia)
Theme: Diversity and inclusion

This project develops language-specific tools for students with reading difficulties (LD/dyslexia) who are learning Korean or Japanese as a second language in order to achieve more successful reading and learning. This support program determines individual student needs in their language acquisition process and combines existing support methods for dyslexia that are familiar to Dutch students with those in the target languages. These methods are then applied to the course content of the Korean and Japanese Studies BA language programs. The development of such a support method contributes to acknowledging student diversity and to creating a more inclusive and supportive language program that can level out unequal learning opportunities because of reading difficulties.

Crucial education on drug development

Wisse Bakker - Lecturer on the Academic Pharma minor (LUMC)

Teaching Fellowship Project: Half minor ‘Academic Pharma’
Theme: Open theme

Medical students lack crucial training in the complex process of drug development. Academia and physicians need to take a particularly active part in the development of ‘less commercially interesting’ drugs, for rare diseases for example, or the repurposing of cheaper drugs for other diseases. This is covered in the ‘Academic Pharma’ half minor. The minor includes innovative methods, role plays and practical team assignments. Students also work on creative solutions to ongoing projects supervised by the project leaders from the ‘Academic Pharma’ research theme. The aim is to interest students in academic drug development and to strengthen the ties between clinical practice, academia and the Life Sciences sector in the Netherlands.

Would you like more information about the Comenius scholarship or to submit a proposal yourself? Leiden University assists lecturers in preparing their innovation proposal. For questions about the scholarship and the procedure, please contact Anna Terra Verhage, Strategy and Academic Affairs. See also the general Comenius grant page with more information about the scholarship and the procedure.

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