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  • Ridge Michiels

Experience expert on either side of the screen

Randi Buvens, alumnus, working student instructional and education sciences

“After graduating from Karel de Grote university college and spending a year travelling, I decided to enrol in the Master programme in instructional and education sciences and combine this with a job as a part-time teacher. I mainly decided to do because it meant that I didn’t actually have to be physically present. The entire programme had been developed with working students in mind.

To be honest, I like distance education. It offers plenty of advantages, I think. You can reach more people, you can combine your work and private life more easily, you set your own schedule and you can do it where and when you want. Our assignments and exams were adapted accordingly. I purposefully chose this programme because it offered maximum freedom, and the opportunity to work.

When I heard that the university was going to switch to online courses for all the students until the end of the academic year, I thought it had to be feasible. Everything was running seamlessly in our faculty and there is plenty of recording equipment on campus! Obviously, this will cause some difficulties, for group work and practicals. And contacts with fellow students will take an effort. What’s more, our faculty had been experimenting with this for many years, while the rest of the university now has to catch up in a very short time frame.

I graduated last year and am a full-time teacher now, although these days full-time is not quite what it used to be… Before the corona crisis, I didn’t use digital options that much in my own classes. I hadn’t had the opportunity. Or rather, every time that I planned to digitise something, something always interfered… Online classes somehow always ended up at the bottom of my to do list. The government now expects us to teach our pupils how to take online classes, but I’m not sure if we ourselves are that digitally savvy. My 61-year old mother is currently using Weebly to create classes for her year 1 pupils and I can tell that many of us still have a lot of catching up to do. Including myself. But I’m convinced that teachers and lecturers are capable of a lot. We just need to take our time for it. And perhaps this is a good opportunity. The amount of material that colleagues are sharing is huge and there are so many tools and methods available. Suddenly there is plenty of margin to experiment and the educational attainment levels are not as important. Yes we can!”

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