Steve Keya is a third-year medical student at VU Amsterdam and works as a student assistant at the VU Education Lab. He has helped many teachers with the transition to online teaching.

Steve helps with the implementation of suitable digital applications that are a good addition to (online) teaching. “We [the student assistants of the VU Education Lab] helped Pre-University College with the transition to online teaching. In addition to technical instructions, we also talked about the content, giving advice based on our student perspective and our experiences with Canvas”. It strikes Steve that the digital tools have become very popular. One of these tools is Perusall. “I’ll sit with teachers for about 20 minutes and explain the system and its capabilities to them. Then they can ask me questions.” A Perusall community will also be created where teachers can easily ask each other questions and learn from each other’s experiences.

Steve is very proud of the work that is done from the VU Education Lab. “It’s very nice that we had already started, which allowed us to take a leading role in the digitisation process, instead of setting up an ad hoc working group”. When asked how Steve has been lately, he answers that he has experienced it as special and pleasant. “I am a real homeworker and I have started to do a lot of things. For me it’s much more efficient this way. Zoom appointments where everyone is on time and travel hours that I don’t have anymore; this gives me more time for other things, such as reading about and studying investing. And although I don’t like teaching at a distance, I really enjoy working at a distance”. About keeping work and private life separate, Steve says there’s not really a clear dividing line. “It’s always been mixed up with me. I get a lot of energy from work, so I like doing many things at once. Especially since my social life has decreased lately. I also work in the COVID department of the VU Medical Center (VUmc), so I try to avoid contact with others as much as possible”. About his work at the COVID department of the VUmc, Steve says “I had followed an internship at the VUmc before, so I already knew a bit  what to expect. Although I want to go more in the practical direction myself, such as surgery instead of immunology, this is very useful practical experience. And I’m happy to help out.”

Steve has grand ideas about the future of education. He would like to see the personalised medicine method from medicine also being applied in the form of personalised education. This is an elaboration of education in which students can choose for themselves how they learn and absorb the study material. “Instead of constantly taking exams and following 25 hours of lectures, students can choose to read the book more often and follow one-to-one lectures. This may not be the most efficient, but I think it’s the most effective.” Although Steve enjoys working from a distance, he misses contact with people. “There are people now that I don’t speak to and see at all, and that’s crazy. There are no spontaneous conversations in the corridors, so you miss the simple and informal parts of working together”.