Student learning process central
Active blended learning is one of the design principles in the VU Educational Vision. Active learning is about all educational activities that make students think for themselves, reason for themselves, formulate their own goals and arrive at their own solutions.
Active learning involves students in the learning process through a variety of teaching activities. It involves a combination of active, meaningful learning tasks in which students are challenged. An optimal mix of physical and online education contributes to active learning. For example, by using online knowledge clips, physical teacing can go into the subject in greater depth. In this way, online and on-campus teaching methods reinforce each other and the teaching is increasingly tailored to the personal learning wishes of students.
Transition to active blended learning as a logical consequence of the corona crisis
Active blended learning is not a new concept. However, with the corona crisis, technological developments have accelerated and the skills of teachers have grown and perspectives on education have changed.
VU Amsterdam has considered the question of which elements for the education of the future should be retained for VU teaching and learning and which should not. Two important conclusions have been drawn from this.
VU Amsterdam is a Campus university: connectedness is key
The first conclusion is that it is necessary to meet physically for academic growth and bonding. The campus is an added value. VU Amsterdam must make good use of the opportunities to meet each other. This means that teaching and learning primarily takes place - and is timetabled - on the VU campus. In small and large classrooms, in lecture halls, in practical halls and in examination rooms.
Digital and online: where it adds value
This does not mean that there cannot be online components in education. Quite the contrary. In modern thinking on education, the subject matter is applied and deepened during teaching sessions on the campus. This requires students to prepare or process the material as well as possible, individually or in groups.
Digital and online tools are extremely suitable for this purpose: for learning material via digital sources such as knowledge clips and online books, for working on tasks and products, for collaboration, for sharing knowledge, for submitting assignments and for giving and receiving feedback. In VU education, digital and online resources should be fully exploited for that purpose.
But in several cases, it is also a good idea to organise online meetings with Zoom or MSTeams where this is useful. For example, to make it easier for guest lecturers from outside to contribute to the teaching or for Q&A sessions (response lectures).
A VU-wide approach
In order to make these two conclusions widely applicable at VU , VU Amsterdam has opted for a VU-wide approach for the period 2021-2024.