The Executive Board has given teachers the freedom to keep the teaching workload manageable by making adjustments. ‘We have to accept that at present, not all learning outcomes are feasible for all courses,’ says rector Arthur Mol.
The degree programme learning outcomes — the attainment targets for the degree itself — will remain intact. These decisions are the result of an online consultation exercise between the Board and over 100 teachers on 8 October.
Wageningen teaching staff already had a high workload due to years of rising student numbers. Now there is the coronavirus crisis as well. The switch from campus teaching to online education cost a lot of extra time. Teachers also have to put in extra hours when combining the two: for example, the Covid rules mean that students have to be split into small groups, so staff spend more time teaching.
Mol says we need another debate about ‘what we can cope with in coronavirus times. We know from a survey that teaching online increases the workload substantially — 80 per cent of teachers say that. So we need to do something. We don’t want more teachers with a burn-out. We have to accept that not all learning outcomes are feasible for all education elements.’
The rector is keeping the learning outcomes for the degree as a whole, but he thinks that for individual courses, the coordinator should have the freedom to make adjustments after consulting the examining board and programme director. In other words, teachers should be put in charge of their own courses and be allowed to make changes, even if this affects the quality of the education. Mol: ‘Learning outcomes are often achieved through several courses; if you make changes to one course, that won’t immediately affect the quality of the degree.’