New Timetables, Online Courses in Moodle, Office365 and Teams and Video in Stream - Life at Wittenborg Continues Online - Wittenborg Equips Students and Staff to Keep Education Going amid Global Coronavirus Crisis
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has shown its agility by quickly moving its education to online delivery, even for new students who were supposed to arrive for the March start and who cannot yet travel. Within a short period of time, since the announcement to 'work from home' on March 14th, WUAS has published new timetables for Block 6, implemented a link between the online material in Moodle with Office365 and Teams, and increased its support for the online delivery of its modules in Block 6.
Teachers are able to upload videos and online material through the usual Moodle interface, and also through Teams and Groups in Office365. Students remain in their classes and groups - online; however, same-subjects will be delivered across multiple programmes to multiple groups at the same time. Students are following their modules from their homes in the Netherlands, but also from countries such as China, Nigeria, Vietnam and Iran.
Complexities of working from home
Staff and students are discovering that working, teaching and learning online are much more complex than the normal daily routine at Wittenborg, with a constant flow of information, instructions and questions as the system is geared up to cope with the current global crisis.
Many students are confined to their rooms to study, and staff are often surrounded by children who are home from school and other staff members. Luckily, in the Netherlands, everyone is still allowed out of the house - as long as they keep at least 1.5 metres distance from others. Luckily, spring is breaking through and the sun is shining constantly every day at the moment!
Wittenborg announced last week that in the coming period it will offer its modules and programmes online through its virtual learning environment Moodle (www.wittenborg-online.com) following the advice of the Dutch government, who requested all universities to move their education online during the corona crisis. Students have been assured that their education will not be frozen.
Moodle and Teams
Peter Birdsall, Wittenborg's President, said one benefit of the current situation is that WUAS' online support area will now be further refined and be "ten times better" than before. "We are lucky as we have always had the structure of our programmes and courses online, in Moodle, where we have been uploading all study material for years - since 2004 in fact. It's just that now, we really need to polish our presentation, information, how-tos and staff and student support for the online delivery applications. Of course, we are and will remain a predominantly classroom-teaching university, offering students an experiential learning environment, and we are not used to actually delivering online; however, I am confident that we will bridge this unfortunate period."
Wittenborg announced additional safety measures this week, including the temporary closure of one of its Apeldoorn locations (Spoorstraat 23), Amsterdam and Munich.
Staff are advised to work from home where possible. Students are asked to make an appointment if they need to speak to a member of staff. Admissions, Registry and the Front Desk will be maintained at the other Apeldoorn building, Aventus, during working days in this period. Dozens of Microsoft Teams meeting groups have also been created online to keep business going.
A few international members of staff, who were on holiday as the Netherlands imposed several travel restrictions and found themselves "stuck" in their home countries, have been equipped in the meantime to work online. "So far, it's going excellently – people have been working from Nepal to Malaysia, and we have students joining online from China, Nigeria, and Vietnam to mention a few countries," said Birdsall.
By James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press