Universiteit Leiden

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Tips from lecturers for lecturers

In large numbers, lecturers from the History study programme responded to the call to share tips for online and hybrid education. Everyone can now take a look at these tips on the university website, says chair of education Kim Beerden.

Who created the idea for this call?

‘After last semester, the Programme Board wanted to know what lecturer’s experiences were with teaching during times of Covid. I myself was on maternity leave at the time, but my colleagues, Claire Weeda as chair and Diederik Smit as secretary, sent out an e-mail about this. They mainly asked whether lecturers had any tips they wanted to share.

A lot of responses came in: it turned out that people had developed best practices for all kinds of aspects regarding online and hybrid education. And people showed so much enthusiasm for these tips that they have now been put on the university's website.'

Was that surprising to you?

‘I think it is amazing that colleagues turned out to be willing to share ideas with each other and to make each other's education better in this way. Of course, the faculty also played a role in this: Annebeth Simonsz of Educational Advice and Quality Assurance in particular has made a huge effort to ensure that lecturers meet in intervision groups. This has lowered the threshold for many colleagues to talk about their teaching. This is how you get inspiration from teachers for teachers, because you learn the most from each other.

The document with tips also shows how much experience we have gained regarding online and hybrid education. Because of the Covid crisis, we are of course more or less forced to implement all kinds of educational innovations. With a lot of help from ECOLe, which has also done a great job.’

What kinds of tips does the document contain?

‘It contains advice on all sorts of educational aspects, from creating a sense of community to online examination. One example of what I found to be a great tip is to indicate, as a lecturer, that you'll be staying in the Kaltura environment for a little bit longer after a lecture has ended. This way, students can contact you if they have a quick question or want to discuss a personal issue. Normally, you would have a chat like that during the break, but online the threshold is higher.

Other tips help, for example, to keep the students at home more focused, because lectures can be quite long. You can tell them beforehand that afterwards they have to share three important points about the lecture in the chat. That way, they have to properly think about what they are hearing. It immediately becomes a lot more exciting.

An alternative is Kaltura's quiz function: beforehand, you give the students a number of multiple choice questions about the content of the lecture. This also has a very activating effect.

The document contains dozens of tips, all tried and tested in practice. So I hope that lecturers from outside the History study programme will also use it to their advantage.’

Do you think any tips will stick after Covid?

‘First of all, let me say that we must return to face-to-face education as soon as we can. We are all very much looking forward to that. But some 'blended' elements that people have now mastered can still be useful.

I'm talking, for example, about the short knowledge clips that lecturers have been making recently. Or getting students to work together in small groups, as we currently do in the breakout rooms. This works very well and can also be organised in a physical form.

This also connects with what I think is the most important lesson this period has taught us: how incredibly important interaction is for students, both among themselves and with lecturers. And that we must foster this interaction in all kinds of ways. Also - and especially - when we are allowed to come together again.’

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