Universiteit Leiden

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Marjo de Graauw looks after the wellbeing of student and teacher

Heavy! This is the first word that comes to lecturer Marjo de Graauw’s mind when she looks back on the past year. But with her creativity and experience with educational innovation she was nonetheless able to provide her usual high standard of teaching.

She wasn’t on the campus very much herself over the past year, but she still received very high evaluations from her students. And that for a subject with over 400 first-year students. So, what is her secret? ‘The focus of this subject was on research and teamwork. It’s an enormous challenge to do that online, but we managed to create a really useful workplace in Teams. The students told me afterwards how well they learned to work together. I’m really proud of that.’  

Quiz with smileys

De Graauw pays a lot of attention to her students’ wellbeing. ‘I always start my online lectures with a quiz about wellbeing, something with smileys, for example, that produce a word cloud with emojis. That gives me a good idea of how my students are doing, and it’s a nice way to start your day.’   

As supervisor of the Skills platform, De Graauw is also responsible for the wellbeing of her colleagues. ‘It was a tough time, and the continuous switching meant that we were all at the end of our tether. I encouraged my team members to put work aside from time to time and focus on recharging their batteries. Together we managed to make sure our team stayed motivated.’  

Photo: Monique Shaw

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