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3. Innovations in Education

Teaching and Learning Centre

Educational innovation at Radboud University received an enormous boost in 2020 thanks to the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC). Shortly after its opening in January, the first COVID-19 measures came into force and the TLC could immediately prove its worth in supporting lecturers with remote teaching and assessment. The centre played a crucial role in the progress of education in the initial phase of the crisis. This task remained relevant throughout the year.

Efforts were also made to strengthen the TLC within the faculties and the Radboud Graduate School of Education with the appointment of 13 lecturer ambassadors, and closer collaboration with the faculties’ Teaching Information Points (TIPs). Three researchers also started studies on student motivation, developing creativity and the academic education of the future. Wessel Meijer, division director for Academic Affairs: “Paradoxically, the combination of COVID-19 and the services provided by TLC and the TIPs has led to the biggest and fastest educational innovation in years. Many elements they developed will be here to stay, even after the pandemic, because they add a lot to flexible distance learning, such as flexible digital work groups, specific online collaboration tools and a reservoir of new knowledge clips.”

‘The Teaching and Learning Centre can only succeed if we work together’

- Jan Bransen

A wide range of training programmes for both new and experienced lecturers are planned, as are monthly inspiration sessions and workshops. Philosopher and first TLC director Jan Bransen: “The centre can only succeed if we work together. Cooperation applies to Radboud University as an educational institution in a world of wicked problems. In fact, that is also the message conveyed in the university’s new strategy: you have a part to play.”

Also of note is the Educational Innovation with ICT team that helps and encourages lecturers, students and support staff in designing and updating education with ICT. Examples include embedding digital resources in education and optimising Brightspace, the digital learning environment. A classroom of the future has been set up to test the possibilities.

Sustainability in Education

Bringing all students into contact with sustainability issues from their own discipline: that is the goal of the policy introduced in 2020 that mandates attention within the curricula to issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) of the United Nations. The website of Radboud Sustainable (in collaboration with Radboud Centre for Sustainability Challenges) shows which of the 17 SDGs are already being addressed in which Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes. This will be expanded in the coming years.

In addition to the space made for SDGs in the regular programmes, sustainability receives attention within a selection of minors and Master’s specialisations. Insights from various disciplines are combined in several programmes, such as the programme on climate change developed by the Philosophy department. It focuses on the role fossil fuel consumption plays in global warming, as well as on scientific insights about behavioural change.

By integrating sustainability into the curriculum, we are working on education that prepares for the future

Radboud Honours Academy

René ten Bos has been appointed the new dean of the Radboud Honours Academy (RHA) for three years. Ten Bos, Professor of Philosophy of Management Sciences and former Denker des Vaderlands, took over this position from the rector magnificus. Ten Bos says he wants to contribute to the further development and promotion of honours education on campus. “I would like to work towards strengthening the multidisciplinary character of honours education and, in doing so, more explicitly link it to current affairs.”

‘Honours education should be more explicitly linked to current affairs’

- René Ten Bos

The RHA, too, had to switch to online education for most of this year. Nevertheless, RHA manager Annemarie Hinten saw bright spots: “In these circumstances, lecturers and supervisors paid even more attention to the personal guidance of students. The students greatly appreciated that, and it enabled most of them to successfully complete their honours programme ‘like normal’.”

The majority of the honours programmes saw an increase in enrolment in 2020, possibly caused by the absence of other activities and positions. The RHA’s ambition to give something back to society led, among other things, to an interdisciplinary think tank of Bachelor’s students in 2020. Based on research commissioned by the university, the think tank presented a Radboud Cares Roadmap. In addition, the think tank set up Radboud Well-Being  Ambassadors to represent student interests related to well-being.