As many universities continue to adapt to hybrid education a month into the new academic year, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences tapped into the expertise of professional corporate trainer Tim Birdsall to learn how companies have dealt with workplace learning in a time of corona to keep developing employees’ skillsets.
The Dutch government introduced new measures this week to curb the spread of COVID-19, but nothing that directly impacts higher education for the time being. It is now strongly requested that all persons wear face masks in public indoor spaces throughout the Netherlands. From Monday 5th October the wearing of facemasks is compulsory at all Wittenborg locations, unless sitting behind a desk, or in a classroom maintaining distance from others according to government guidelines (1.5 metres).
A smaller number of students than at the typical start of a new academic year were spotted at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' campus in Apeldoorn on Monday morning with the majority logging in online for classes. Those students and staff who did attend in person could be seen wearing masks in common areas or social distancing in classes. Aside from a few technical glitches, everything was running as planned, said Wittenborg's Head of Operations, Lasantha de Silva.
Hybrid learning – a mix of online and classroom sessions – will become the new norm in the coming academic year and Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences plans to excel in it. This was the message from Wittenborg President Peter Birdsall to staff as they prepare to continue delivering quality education to new and current students despite the looming presence of COVID-19 around the world.
Dutch universities are expected to re-open en masse after the summer holiday as the government announced a further ease in restrictions this week. The Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has called on the higher education sector to adopt a "hybrid" model, by providing online as well as class-based education – in line with a plan announced by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences two weeks ago. Van Engelshoven emphasised the importance of face-to-face education, especially for first-year students.