Universiteit Leiden

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Niels van de Ven - CFI

A call about: support for lecturers with hybrid teaching

In the coming academic year things will hopefully gradually return to normal, so that teaching can again take place as far as possible on campus. Even so, hybrid teaching is here to stay. We talk to Niels van de Ven, former lecturer at Leiden Law School and now Education Manager at the Centre for Innovation (CFI). Niels is involved in coordinating this far-reaching project. One of the main aims of the project is to give lecturers as much support as possible before and during their classes.

What support is available for lecturers?

First of all, a lot of hard work has been done by the CFI, ICLON, ISSC, UFB and Functional Management at Student and Educational Affairs (SEA) to provide lecturers with extensive information so that they are as well prepared as possible for the coming period. New content about hybrid education has been added to the Teaching Support website, including a clear overview of all the available teaching tools, as well as a summary detailing a number of inspiring and stimulating activities that lecturers can use in their teaching. 

We’ve done all we can to provide lecturers with the right equipment for hybrid education, along with the relevant information. As an example, absence and attendance tools for student participation will be available that faculties can make use of. We’ve also held various training courses to prepare lecturers as well as possible for what they can expect in the lecture rooms. 

And there’s now a pool of student assistants who can help lecturers with moderation and technical support during lectures and tutorials (on campus/online). There is also a support service that lecturers can call during their classes.  

What were the main challenges of this project?

The biggest challenge was that the government only announced its Covid approach for higher education on 13 August. That meant we had to prepare for a range of different possible scenarios, which took up a lot of extra time and effort on the part of all those involved. However, everyone's proactive and flexible attitude meant we were able to prepare as thoroughly as possible for the present situation!

Do you have any tips for lecturers?

My main tip is to communicate as clearly as possible with students about what they can expect. Just be honest and admit that this hybrid type of education is new for you too. Students understand that and are happy to help where necessary.

I also advise lecturers – particularly in the early stages  – to take more time to prepare their classes. Use the Teaching Support website; it has a mass of information. Come to the lecture room earlier so you have time to install and test the equipment. And make use of the support from the central departments, as well as from your faculty; they can help you make the start of your teaching run smoothly.

There is a lot happening within Leiden University. The websites are filled with news on a daily basis. In the section 'A call about' we ask one of our employees to tell us more about a relevant and topical subject within the university. The answers give you more insight into the facts, but above all give you more personal background information. What was fun or frustrating? What was remarkable? What was good and what was bad? You can read all about it in 'A call about'.

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