Meeting Learning Designer Esther Struijk: ‘The assistance I provide depends on the needs of the lecturer’
The first semester of 20-21 will be characterised by hybrid education: remote because we can, on campus if we can. Since this will have a tremendous impact on the way our courses are structured, the Faculty of Archaeology has hired a Learning Designer, named Esther Struijk. We held a short interview on her background and her work on the Faculty’s online curriculum. ‘The possibilities for creativity are endless.’
Esther Struijk has much experience in the private education sector. ‘For many years I worked for the NTI (Dutch Language Institute), a company that provides distance bachelor’s education. One of the projects I worked on was the institute’s transfer from distance education to online education.’ In this project she developed a new education concept.
Effectiveness of online learning
She started out being skeptical about the effectiveness of online learning. ‘I was not convinced. My line of thought was that learning is easier in the class room.’ However, at the end of the project she had turned into an ambassador for online learning. ‘My opinion had definitely shifted! There is so much you can do with online education. The possibilities for creativity are endless. Online learning can be highly effective, as well as fun.’
Now, Esther is a freelancing e-learning consultant. ‘I develop online modules on specific topics for companies and organisations.’ For this reason, she was hired by the Faculty of Archaeology. ‘We are facing a challenge for the upcoming academic year. Making the step to online education should not be done in an ad hoc manner. It needs to be well thought out. I was asked to assist in this process.’
Esther has already spoken with several lecturers. ‘The assistance I provide depends on the needs of the lecturer. For starters I give advice on how to move your course to an online setting. It is also important to reflect on a variety of scenarios: with some luck we may offer parts of our education on campus, though we need to take the possibility into account that everything may revert to online.’
With Esther’s input, the lecturer designs their course. In case the lecturer is still unsure how to set up the course, Esther can assist in the process from learning goals to the actual week planning and learning activities. ‘This design functions as a starting point for our student assistants to elaborate on. They will, for example, help out with the production of videos. Our student assistants can also help you with your Brightspace course or the use of Kaltura. There are, for example, many ways to let students cooperate online. We gladly assist you in developing a form of online cooperation that fits your course.’