How ICT-proficient is THUAS?
This week is Video in Education Week. What better time to talk about how THUAS is faring when it comes to ICT in education? In a nutshell, the vanguard is hard at work, but the development is slow to get off the ground.
The digitisation of education and blended learning were also topics of discussion during my meetings with lecturers. The Delft University of Technology is often mentioned as a shining example: our neighbours in Delft have fantastic MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and substantial support for lecturers interested in making videos. Our lecturers, on the other hand, have received little support in their opinion. When they ask for advice, they feel they are handed a manual and left to their own devices.
We’ve fallen behind
Lecturers who are eager to digitise and innovate feel inhibited. They feel – and justifiably so – that THUAS has fallen behind. This leads to the following question: Can THUAS not be more ambitious in its pursuit of more digitised education? They expect that, if you use ICT facilities effectively, you will have more time to assist students. You can then teach them more, focus more on your own learning objectives and offer an inspiring total package.
I would like to emphasise the importance of ICT in education. Not as a goal in itself, but as a means to achieve our goals. That is why the first step is to establish a clear educational vision. In Delft, the MOOC approach is also part of a fine-tuned vision on education. The Hague University of Applied Sciences is currently working on this. On 8 December, you can hear more about our vision during the Executive Board get-together in the Lighthouse Café. (Remember to register!) And this vision will be fully developed in early 2017.
The essence of this vision is: what kinds of developments do we wish to promote? As far as I am concerned, we are working towards greater customisation for our students. It should be easier for them to enrol in subjects in other degree programmes and to follow their own learning route. This freedom of choice for students requires a more standardised education. THUAS has not pursued this earlier, but this is a consequence of our present ambitions. The use of video, for example, creates more time to offer students a customised education with a personal approach.
Digitally literate lecturers
There is another area worthy of attention when it comes to ICT in education. I often hear from lecturers that some of their colleagues – no one admits this about themselves – are not ICT-proficient. They refuse, for example, to use their Outlook calendar, as a result of which scheduling is a lot more time-consuming than necessary. Or they are unable to use Blackboard effectively, only posting basic info on their subject. And they sometimes struggle with other basic IT skills. This is something to which we should devote more time and energy. We do not expect every lecturer to be a digital whiz, but we need to make sure that everyone has mastered the basic skills.
In other words, there is still work to be done before we can fully embed ICT in the education. The basic knowledge of some members of our team of lecturers requires attention. We also need to dare to make demands. On the other hand, we need to have a solid educational vision in place in 2017 that forms the basis for our decisions regarding the focus of our IT investments. For the time being, I hope that lecturers who took part in the seminar Video in Education on 6 December were inspired enough to devote greater attention to this. The recording studios in the Strip are ready for use.
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