Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is working very hard to switch from an offline campus to an online community. All kinds of groups, such as lecturers, support officers and students, have expressed their own wishes and expectations, but these expectations still need to be transformed into an accessible and user-friendly system. Silvester Draaijer, policy officer for educational innovation and ICT, and also Quartermaster at Network for teaching and learning (NT&L), is one of the people working hard on this topic,

When you ask him how it goes, his first answer is: “Very busy! Projects for which there used to be plenty of time, now need to be implemented as soon as possible. After all, you want teachers to be able to get to work as quickly as possible and students not to experience any study delays”.

At the moment Silvester is, among other things, setting up Online Proctoring, a way of online testing. It’s not very easy. Factors like money, privacy, technical solutions have to be considered for the whole VU population.
When asked how he thinks VU will function after the Corona era, Silvester answers: “I would like to see students no longer having to come to VU for every event. For example, that we only fill a lecture hall with 500 people twice – if that’s allowed at all – instead of 16 times, and that we choose to offer the remaining lectures online. One way of doing this is to use all kinds of interactive forms that the online landscape offers, such as question-and-answer games”.

Silvester also suspects that the privacy discussion surrounding Online Proctoring will be reopened again, as the implementation will be slightly different. “The student will probably have to give permission before starting the exam. It is then logistically difficult to figure out how to ensure that students do not give their permission at the last minute! However, Silvester does see a great opportunity for Online Proctoring for students with a disability who are not always able to go to the VU or for students who are abroad.

Silvester is looking forward to the time and opportunities to work on some other projects, such as the Goal Setting project, the Online Feedback Library and the Group Peer Feedback function. What he was looking forward to was the 11th of May when the first large-scale online proctored tests with Proctorio went live. And that was great, because it went very well.

Does Silvester have anything to add to round off the VU campus? “Yes, that VU NT&L is doing everything in its power to support teachers and students in making good and responsible online education.”

We thank Silvester and his team on behalf of all online users of the entire VU!