The TU Delft (Extension School and Teaching & Learning Services) is one of the leading partners in the Digitel Pro partnership. The DigiTel Pro partnership brings together advanced “schools” in research, innovation, and good practice in synchronous hybrid (KU Leuven), blended learning (TU Delft), and online and distance learning (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, The Open Universiteit (OUNL), UNINETTUNO). It will also focus on the student readiness for online learning (DCU-NIDL, Dublin).
Category: "Online Learning"
The DigiTel Pro partnership brings together advanced “schools” in research, innovation and good practice in synchronous hybrid (KU Leuven), blended learning (TU Delft) and online and distance learning (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, The Open University of The Netherlands, UNINETTUNO). It will also focus on the student readiness for online learning (DCU-NIDL, Dublin).
Experts develop online courses on models and guidelines for the design, development and delivery for each of these three predominant formats in a post-Corona perspective. The courses will be in line with the most recent research and innovation.
The courses will be launched on Thursday 18th of November 2021, 14.00-16.00 CET.
Please join the Launch of our Course Programme on:
- Synchronous Hybrid Education: based on settings that have in common that both on-site or 'here' students and remote or 'there' students are included simultaneously;
- Blending your Education: with a deliberate mix of synchronous and asynchronous methods: based on a course design with a conscious combination of online and offline learning activities;
- Online Distance Education: based on a course design with a continuous physical separation between teacher and student.
- Student Readiness for Digital Education: giving students the digital edge to succeed as an online learner at university and setting them on the path to achieving their learning goals.
During this launch you will be able to meet the team leaders in dedicated break-out sessions.
Participation in the course programme, starting early 2022, will enable you as educator to make the transition from emergency online teaching during Covid-19 to fully professional teaching and learning in digital higher education. This first mutual acquaintance will ensure that the courses connect with your real needs and expectations. At the end of the session you will be able to continue interaction with the team leaders up till the start of the course.
Please find more information on the launch and the registration on our Eventbrite page.
The TU Delft Extension School and Teaching & Learning Services are pleased to be a member of the DigiTeL Pro Strategic Partnership (Professional Development for Digital Teaching and Learning) supported by funding through the Extraordinary Erasmus+ Coronavirus response. This project involves seven European university partners and is being led by EADTU.
Next to EADTU and TU Delft, the other 7 partners are:
- Belgium: KU Leuven
- France: Fédération interuniversitaire de l'enseignement à distance (FIED)
- Italy: Universita Telematica Internationale (UNINETTUNO)
- Ireland: Dublin City University
- Netherlands: Open Universiteit
- Spain: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Summary of the partnership
The COVID-19 crisis has made universities switch to digital education and to re-organize their campus. In the May 2020 surveys of the European Commission, it turned out that in the first (semi-) lockdown period, 95,1% of the universities organized online and distance learning and 82,7% even online exams. All institutions set-up massive support for organizing online lectures, tutorials and videoconferencing with diverse pedagogical approaches. At all levels, emergency decisions were made.
In the second wave of COVID-19, many universities wanted to keep students on campus for face to face teaching. After a few weeks only, this seemed impossible as Europe coloured red again. Universities allowed only half or one fifth of the students in face-to-face lectures, while others attended online. Now, most universities have to go in a complete lockdown again with online and distance education. Teaching staff feel this as a disruption, requiring an extreme workload to adapt to the situation. Students started to manifest for the right of having “quality education”. Watching a video or following a lesson via zoom is no longer felt as a solution as it was in the first wave.
This is where the DigiTeL Pro Strategic Partnership (Professional Development for Digital Teaching and Learning) comes in. It brings together excellent groups of experts from universities, well-known for research and innovation in digital education and having developed good practices in digital solutions during the Corona crisis.
They are prepared to valorise their expertise in continuous professional development courses (CPD) in order to reinforce the ability of universities to provide high quality, inclusive digital education. They are at the edge of expertise in teaching and learning scenarios, connecting with main trends in practices observed during the crisis, and in the student learning experience:
- synchronous hybrid learning: based on settings that have in common that both on-site or ‘here’ students and remote or ‘there’ students are simultaneously included (synchronous hybrid learning (KU Leuven-imec);
- blended learning: based on a course design with a deliberate combination of online and offline learning activities (EMBED strategic partnership, TU Delft, KU Leuven);
- online and distance learning: based on a course design with a continuous physical separation between teacher and learner, synchronously and asynchronously (OUNL, UOC, UNINETTUNO);
- student readiness for digital learning (NIDL, Dublin City University);
- Institutional policies and strategies: based on maturity dimensions in institutional policies and quality assurance approaches for digital education (EADTU, EMBED and e-xcellence partnerships).
In the DigiTeL Pro partnership, these groups interact and cooperate for cross-development and improvement. Objectives are:
- to explore and forecast educational needs of teaching staff and learners within and after the COVID+ era;
- to exchange expertise between researchers and innovators on synchronous hybrid, blended and online distance learning, optimizing models and guidelines for short-term and future CPD;
- to design, plan and develop continuing education courses enabling anyone involved in course and curriculum development in adapting to hybrid, blended and online distance learning;
- to empower student readiness for digital learning by an online course and integrating the “student voice” in all learning scenarios;
- to reinforce the ability of universities to provide high quality, inclusive and scalable digital education.
By doing this, DigiTel Pro enables universities and EUI alliances to respond to the unstable reality in which we are living, keeping all learners included and leaving nobody behind in this disruptive challenge.
The partnership will design, develop and implement three CPD courses on respectively synchronous hybrid, blended and online teaching and learning for anyone involved in digital course and curriculum development for leaders steering this process. They will optimize models, guidelines and pedagogies leading to mature and high quality education. A course has a modular structure and will be designed in alignment with the needs of universities, strong educational concepts and relevant learning objectives.
This will accelerate the Modernization Agenda and the digital transformation of education systems across Europe (the new Digital Education Action Plan and the report on the European Education Area 2025), supporting ultimately the Green Deal.
|Erasmus Call||KA2 - Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices KA226 - Partnerships for Digital Education Readiness|
|Project Duration||24 months|
In December the Executive Board approved the proposal to continue with the TU Delft Extension School for Continuing Education. Extension School will be an independent organisational unit within the University Corporate Office. We can continue to grow our portfolio of online courses for professionals.
Educate the World
The mission of the Extension School continues to educate the world and improve our campus and online education. In practice this means we will continue to offer courses on edX.org with an open license, publish the course content on our OpenCourseWare website and use our online courses in our campus education, often in a blended way. We will strengthen our research and innovation activities to learn more about online education and share that with our campus education.
We will grow our portfolio for professionals with new courses focused on six themes: Energy Transition, Sustainable Cities, Future of Transport, Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Medical Technology.
We have seven job openings:
- Manager Business Development
- Manager Education Support
- Learning Experience Coordinator
- Portfolio and Product Manager
- Quality Assurance Officer
- Research Coordinator
- Administrative Officer
More information on these positions including information to apply is available on our Vacancies Extension School page.
Since 2013, over 250 TU Delft lecturers have been developing and delivering online education. Thanks to their enterprising efforts and the dedication of the TU Delft Extension School (ES) support staff, TU Delft has contributed to educating the world and enhancing campus education.
Open and online education at TU Delft has had a positive impact on various areas beside benefiting campus education, from widening access to high quality education for hundreds of thousands, to contributing to our University’s international standing, from developing educational innovation and conducting pedagogical research, to forging industry collaboration.
This impact report gives a good overview of our activities and the impact we have had.
Online education gives academic staff new tools for research, valorisation and dissemination, as well as community building. For many lecturers, it also creates an opportunity to improve campus courses, innovate their teaching, and it adds to their professional development. It contributes to enhance networks and international recognition, in both academia and industry. Additionally, the findings from the research we conduct in online learning are applied to inform best practices in teaching, and to improve the learning experience on campus and online.
The support given by ES instructional designers and learning developers to academic staff - be they tenured professors, first year associates, or even student Dream Teams – has also resulted in a variety of educational innovations, such as new tools, animations, online labs, simulations, assessment methods, serious games and various technology applications.
In recent years, our online offering centred on key topics – energy transition, sustainable cities and the future of transportation – that are relevant to the University’s mission of contributing solutions to grand societal challenges. Looking ahead, we uphold our mission of providing quality education to people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, by continuing to offer our MOOCs with an open licence. At the same time, we focus on further growing a continuing education portfolio of modular and stackable programmes for working professionals.
Many of us are forced to work from home due to the Corona virus. For most of us, this is a new experience to do this not just for one day, but for a couple of weeks. For a lot of people their agendas are clearing out and they have some extra time. The perfect time to do some learning from home! Delft University is quickly changing all our campus education to remote teaching and learning. The expertise we build up with the Extension School comes in good use for that, but we continue to run the Extension School as well. So here is a selection of online courses that can help you through the days and weeks ahead.
Many of you have to home school your kids. To give them something to do, we relaunched our Scratch MOOCs for kids to learn to programme. We offer this course in Dutch and English. We also offer a teacher (that is you) version of this course in Dutch and English. If your kids are a bit older, we also have a course on pre-university calculus.
Before this crisis started there was a lot of media attention for the energy transition. If you are interested to learn more about this we have a whole bunch of courses on this topic. From solar energy to electric cars to zero energy design to the economics of energy transition.
Skills for Engineers
If you are more interested in developing your skills, we have courses on project management, leadership, visualising, design leadership and innovation. Or very practical skill with Unix Tools or Data Analytics in Excel (in Spanish).
For small business owners these are extremely difficult times. They might have to redesign their business model to survive this crisis. We have a programme developed to help them with business model innovation.
Most research labs are also closed, so this might be a great opportunity to look into Open Science.
The TU Delft Extension School has many courses online that can help you through these difficult times. I hope you find an interesting course in our portfolio on our online learning website. If you are interested in bulk enrolment for your company please contact us.
Yesterday I wrote about the ambiguous times for online learning. I received a lot of positive feedback on it. During the day my former team of Teaching & Learning Services has been working on a quick guide for our TU Delft lecturers. The page offers suggestions for them on how to continue offering education in a remote setting including a list of all the tools.
Teaching & Learning Services
In 2018 this team was created as a merger of different support groups. It is a team of 30 staff members and many student assistants who support both campus as online education. That means that the team already has extensive knowledge about online education and the learning technology to support this. To give an idea about what we have:
- First-line support is manned by trained student assistants. Regular occupation is 4 per shift, but this can be scaled up.
- We have four Learning Technology Support Officers (1 on maternity leave) who are responsible for the support website, documentation, more advanced questions and digital exam creation in MapleTA. They make the connection with other experts of Functional Management, ICT and Learning Developers.
- We have two Instructional Designers who know everything about the platforms and the integrated tools we support. That is Brightspace for campus courses and (open)edX for our Extension School courses.
- We have 14 Learning Developers who are all pedagogical experts and experienced in designing and running blended and online courses.
And I shouldn't forget the two coordinators, who are doing a great job in organising and prioritising all the activities. Since 1st of March they also are acting managers of the team until there is a new me. They are definitely up to the task!
Creating this team, and integration support for both campus and online courses, seems to be a really good decision in the current situation. It makes me proud to see what they are doing in these challenging times and how they are helping our lecturers.
We are aware that these are special times and that is why we prioritized the support of lecturers. They even opened up support this weekend:
Weekend Support: from campus to online teaching
As you may have noticed, the web page for teachers has been published yesterday: https://brightspace-support.tudelft.nl/remote-teaching-learning/.
This weekend, extra support for TU Delft lecturers is available. The helpdesk, learning developers, and functional admin are actively supporting teaching staff in moving campus education to online education. This includes email requests for online learning tools, technical queries, as well as didactical advice. All questions can be directed to email@example.com.
What is really good here is that it is not just the first line support. It is both the technical and didactical second line support as well.
New to remote teaching
For many of our lecturers remote teaching is something completely new. We are working on additional content to help you through this process. The most important advice is that you have to accept that you can't do everything. No one is expecting you to directly replicate your course. You have to focus on what you teach and prioritise on the theoretical concepts. These are relatively easy to convert.
Also, keep the production simple, it is not about being perfect, it is about having something for the students. If you already have a powerpoint slidedeck, recording a voice talking over your powerpoint is simple and easy to do.
One of the challenging things to do online is assessment. Especially if you are coming from written exams. Focus on the alignment of the online assessment to the prioritised learning objectives. The team is working on more extensive information about assessment. We have another 4 weeks before the exam period starts. We can't do everything in a weekend.
Since last week my main job is being the Executive Director of the TU Delft Extension School for open and online education. This week I got a lot of remarks that these Coronavirus times are great opportunities for online education. I'm ambivalent about that. Creating high-quality online education takes time. Careful design and rigorous delivery are important for a good learning experience. Yesterday the Government decided that all Dutch universities should directly move all their education online and not offer any on-campus classes until the end of March.
Currently, the Extension School has about 150 courses and develops about 30 courses per year. We are in the third quarter of our academic year, this means we have to move at least 800 courses instantly online and April 20th the 4th quarter starts with another 500 courses. This scale means that our regular processes of creating and offering online courses will not work. We have to redesign our processes, expand our tools and support.
So the online education we offer in our Extension School is incomparable to the online education we are going to do in the next weeks. I prefer to call it remote teaching and learning, to clearly distinguish it from our regular online education.
Readiness of students
Our normal learners in our courses make the decision to do an online course. We inform them what to expect. Our campus students are used to classroom teaching, we should be aware that their readiness for online education might not be as high as we expect. It is important to address this in our courses.
I see a lot of teachers asking for new tools and edtech companies offering their platform for free. This might seem like a good idea, but please be aware of a couple of things:
- implementation of a new tool takes time. From checking GDPR-compliance to setting it up the right way.
- if every teacher starts to use their own tool, the student will get frustrated very quickly. Most of them are fulltime students, who are following multiple courses. If they have to figure out new tools for every course it takes a lot of effort.
- the university offers an extensive set of tools. These tools are integrated, documented and supported, that means if you encounter a problem there is someone to help you.
So for use your campus LMS and the tools that are available. Yes, this will limit you to what you can do, but it is good enough to offer remote teaching and learning.
Most of our education is based on synchronous activities in classrooms. This is something that has a lot of limitations online. My recommendation is to only do synchronous activities when absolutely necessary and your group is not to big. If your regular class is a traditional lecture for a large group, online video is probably not the best option. Powerpoint with voice, a discussion board for questions and online office hours might be a much better option in this situation.
Other educational activities
There are a lot of educational activities that are even harder to move online, such as lab work. Another big challenge is our exams. Most exams are still 3-hour written exams. We have the option for digital exams, even with remote proctoring, but most exams have to be redesigned to work as a digital exam and our infrastructure can't handle 26000 students.
These are times that Teaching and Learning support staff can show their value. They are all doing their best within all the limitations to offer the best support for teachers and students. Make use of their expertise and involve them, you don't have figure everything out by yourself. And don't forget to be nice to them, send them hugs and chocolate.
Altogether, what we are currently offering online is remote teaching and learning and is not typical for online education we offer via the Extension School. It does offer an opportunity to continue to run the university as best as possible. Many things will fail, will be frustrating and will impact your life. Don't blame your teachers or university, they are really doing everything in their power to continue to offer your education.
The Digital Credential Consortium has published an interesting white paper on building the digital credential infrastructure for the future. The Digital Credentials Consortium was founded by leading universities with expertise in the design of verifiable digital credentials. Together, we are designing an infrastructure for digital credentials of academic achievement. Founding members are Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Georgia Institute of Technology (USA), Harvard University (USA), Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam (Germany), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), McMaster University (Canada), Tecnologico De Monterrey (Mexico), TU Munich (Germany), UC Berkeley (USA), UC Irvine (USA), University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy), University of Toronto (Canada).
The Delft Extension School is involved in this project, and I'm one of the participants and I reviewed this white paper.
This week the Executive Board has appointed me as the new Executive Director of the Delft Extension School per the 1st of January 2020. I’m delighted with this appointment and looking forward to lead the Extension School into a new phase.
Strengthening the foundation of the Extension School
Part of my new role is the transition of the Extension School into a new phase. Together with professor Arno Smets I’m leading a project team to prepare a business and implementation plan for the Extension School. After six years of exponential growth and tremendous success in Open & Online Education for learners worldwide, the foundation of the original setup of the Extension School needs enhancement. In 2021 the Extension School will become a permanent institute of TU Delft to educate the world by offering high-quality online education.
Per January I will combine the new role with my existing role as Manager Teaching & Learning Services until March 1st. From March 1st I will be fulltime focused on my new role as Executive Director.