Dr. Danny Scholten is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, division Innovations in Human Health & Life Sciences. Besides teaching courses in the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the master Drug Discovery and Safety, Scholten is very involved in the implementation of educational innovations in both studies. Furthermore, Scholten is secretary of the Examination Board, internship coordinator for both the bachelor and the master, and a discussion partner for educational innovation at both the faculty and central level.
In 2002, Scholten started with the bachelor Pharmaceutical Sciences. He chose this study because he considered it the best option at the time. He liked the bachelor's degree and therefore made the choice to do the following master in Drug Discovery and Safety. After his master, Danny Scholten chose to do PhD research in the medicinal chemistry group at the VU. According to Scholten, doing a PhD is primarily a choice you make for your skill development and deepening of your subject-specific knowledge. During your PhD, you will learn how to conduct research both independently and in collaboration and how to communicate about this. Despite the fact that Scholten no longer conducts pharmaceutical research, he still benefits from all the substantive and practical skills he acquired during his PhD. At the end of his PhD research, Scholten noticed that he really enjoyed working with students. It was, therefore, a logical choice for him to continue in education.
Education and, more specifically, innovating education is the passion of Danny Scholten. He is part of the Innovation in Human Health & Life Sciences division of the Department of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences. This group is involved in implementing educational innovation within the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Discovery & Safety programs and research into this at the VU. For example, this group functioned as a source of information for the faculty during the corona crisis, a time when education was mainly provided online. Scholten is also part of the VU teaching and learning expert group. This group is concerned with all tools that are used VU-wide within the learning platform Canvas.
Scholten and his colleagues' research focuses mainly on the role of feedback and activating blended learning in education and how software tools such as FeedbackFruits can support this. Blended learning is a method in which students, in addition to receiving traditional lectures, also receive knowledge clips and assignments where they can actively work with the teaching material. As a result, there is less focus on basic knowledge during contact hours, making it possible to go deeper into the teaching material. Research by Scholten and his colleagues shows that activating blended education has a positive effect on student performance. The results of this study are described in the article Practical Guidelines to Redesign Introductory Chemistry Courses Using a Flexible and Adaptive Blended Format (Scholten et al., 2021). This research also describes guidelines for fellow teachers on how they can practically implement this method in their own education. In addition, Scholten led the pilot for the use of FeedbackFruits, a platform where students can actively give and receive feedback, and helped make this tool available to all lecturers at the VU.
Scholten is doing what he can to improve education at the VU, so there are certainly a number of things he wants to change. For example, he wants a clear learning line in skills such as writing and communication throughout the curriculum of the bachelor and master degree programs. Students will benefit from these skills in the future. Scholten's commitment shows that he cares not only about the quality of the study but also about the students. Scholten will continue to look for opportunities to innovate the study so that students can get the best learning experience and thus be well prepared for their careers.