First-year students spend more time at home than on campus

First-year students of Mathematics and Statistics hardly visit the campus. For other students, there is a tailored approach that differs per programme.
A barn at Unifarm has been temporarily transformed into a lecture hall in preparation for a field trip, photo Albert Sikkema

First-year International Development Studies have mathematics and an introductory course in period 1. This brings them to campus for just three hours a week to follow small-scale seminars. In period 6, when there is no maths programme, they are expected on campus for six hours a week to follow small-scale interactive courses. Note: the mathematics lecturers also provide interactive courses, but these are online.

Planning

First-year students of Nutrition and Health follow a similar pattern. First, their programme consists of Statistics (online) and an introductory course that requires them to be present on campus for approximately four hours per week. The following period they are present on campus for two half-days for practicals and workgroups. Programme coordinator Rolf Marteijn stresses that the corona measures make planning education quite a challenge. One week they may have practicals every day, followed by several weeks without.

Field trips

The nature programmes have dealt with the corona measures smartly by setting up field trips fort he first-year students in the coming months. Thus, they can service larger groups with interactive teaching. A barn at Unifarm has been transformed into a lecture hall for introductions (coats recommended) and teachers have been equipped with walkie-talkies, allowing them to provide instruction outside at a suitable distance, says programme director Gijs Elkhuizen.

Practica

The development of blended practicals is currently underway. This could mean a student carries out a chemistry-practical on campus, while a fellow student follows the proceedings through live stream. A similar approach is also possible for field trips. A huge advantage is that it allows the facilitation of students that are unable to be present on campus, says Ulrike Wild, programme director Online Learning.

Tailored

These developments lead to many variations within and between programmes. ‘Everything is tailored, and, therefore, different’, days Fred Jonker, who is responsible fort he teaching schedules. For those wanting to know precisely what the new programmes look like, further details can be found on the intranet.

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