VU Education Day 2020 full of interesting tricks and tips


Kristina Edström (keynote) and Raymond Reesink (chairman of the day)
VU Education Day about 300 attendees

Not only teachers were interested in the tips and tricks that Kristina Edström gave in her keynote, students were also impressed by her presentation. Charlotte Meijer, Master’s student in Education and Innovation, and student assistant VU Education Lab, was so impressed that she decided to write down some highlights. They seem so simple, but this is easier said than done. We would love to share them with you in case you weren’t there.

How can students learn more, without spending more time as a teacher?

  • Give clear learning goals. Not just for this course, but for their further education/life
  • Keep the quality high by only passing students who reach the goals.
  • Create a course that works towards these goals. 
  • Do this by using your own time effectively.

Tricks to apply this:

  • Don’t choose one student to present, but choose a student randomly on the day of the presentation. Because of this, every student knows almost all the theory and has learned more.
  • Each student helps another student by giving them feedback. After all, the teacher can’t pay attention to everyone at the same time.
  • Let the students make an assignment and let them give feedback to each other. Have a discussion afterwards. Everyone has already put work into it, so they know what it is all about and that results in a high quality discussion. Afterwards, the teacher has to assess assignments. Use an easier grading scale, because this goes much faster. 0=fail, 1=pass, 2=brilliant. Students get a bonus point if they have given feedback. The teacher does not have to read everything. If students have given feedback and participated in the discussion, their quality is by far the best. Feedback is no longer necessary, because that has already been given during the feedback and discussion.

An oral exam is good for learning. Students take it more seriously because they don’t want to make a fool out of themselves. Explaining something to others is also a higher form of learning. Give them only a short period of time: 7 minutes, so you still have a lot of time to ask questions afterwards and the questions are easy to come up with. Afterwards, ask them how they think it went, and they already will assess themselves. In the end, this will cost the teacher less time than an exam. Making and assessing an exam takes a lot of time. Spending time individually with an instructor also stimulates students because they feel that the instructor cares about their learning process. With an oral exam you must also have a learning goal that requires presentation skills.

View the slides of Kristina’s presentation here.