This week, Salma returned to block 6 classes - online. She was happy that the virtual learning environment (Wittenborg-Online) is enabling lectures to happen while she is on the other side of the world. Salma was also glad to reconnect with her classmates. The only difference is, Apeldoorn is eight hours ahead of Mexico City. And in some days, Salma has to wake up at 3 a.m. to be in class.
Welcome to our new series where staff and students will share little bits on how they are adjusting to the new normal of life during a health pandemic like COVID-19. First up is Wittenborg lecturer, Daniel O’Connell, who is from Ireland. He also sent us a fun picture of his first passport photo!
In March of this year, class-based education for both schools and universities in the Netherlands screeched to a halt. Samantha Birdsall, Project Week teacher at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, is in a unique position because she is also a substitute primary school teacher at the Prins Willem Alexander School in the Dutch town of Laren. In an interview she gave the inside scoop on how each is coping with their new reality of online education, the challenges and what lessons can be taken into the future.
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) has successfully switched all its bachelor’s and master’s curriculum to online delivery to cope with the effects of the worldwide coronavirus crisis. WUAS’ aim is to ensure continued delivery, without a study freeze and minimising the risk of study delays for its students. We thank each and every one of our students and staff for making this possible. Below we outline some decisions we have made regarding the planning at WUAS until the summer vacation.
After Wittenborg started giving classes online to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, like other institutions of higher education in the Netherlands, MBA student Oluwaseun Ogunremi was sitting alone in his Apeldoorn room when he started thinking about what he could contribute to support people in this global crisis. As someone who has wide experience in making music for commercials, he decided to write and produce a kids' song that would make it fun and easy to remember to frequently wash hands – one of the main messages from governments around the world to help prevent corona.
The Dutch government set the ball rolling to help prospective international students unable to do an English language test – a prerequisite when applying for a study visa – due to COVID-19 restrictions in many of their home countries. Most students do an IELTS or TOEFL at a test centre, but as many of these centres around the world have closed, students found themselves stuck. The Dutch department of education is now working on a solution with the National Commission for the Code of Conduct for International Students in Dutch Higher Education that might enable students to do the test online.
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences IBA student Shanfeng Lu represented Chinese students in Apeldoorn by joining a webinar organised by the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands about the prevention of COVID-19.
At the end of March, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences had its introduction days for block 6 of the 2019-2020 academic year. The introduction days were quite unique this block as they took place online. The Dutch government decided that all schools and universities should close on the 13th of March forcing WUAS to move all its activities online. WUAS staff adapted the introduction day activities that usually happen at the WUAS campuses into online sessions detailing information such as how to navigate Wittenborg Online, the role of a WUAS process tutor and adapting to life in the Netherlands.
Congratulations to Wittenborg students for completing the first full week of online delivery of their bachelor's or master's degrees. Congratulations to Wittenborg teachers for doing something they weren’t prepared for, and making it happen. Congratulations to Wittenborg staff teams who have been working around the clock this past week.
Keeping fit, discovering new hobbies, baking cakes, making music – these are some of the fun, interesting activities students have been using to cope with stricter social distancing measures necessitated by the Dutch government to curb the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. And of course, keeping up with their studies with the help of Wittenborg's ever improving online resources.