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‘That’s how I teach my students to communicate effectively online’

Effective communication is one of the most important ‘skills of the 21st century’. People often think that these skills can only be taught face-to-face. However, recent technological developments now make it possible to teach these skills online, for example using the DialogueTrainer tool for conversational scenarios. I’ve been involved in the development of this tool from the very beginning as part of two university-wide projects: Communicate I and II, from 2013 to 2018. I was one of the first to use the tool for teaching in a centralised and large-scale manner in the ‘Professional Conversations’ course within the Psychology study programme. In order to improve the effectiveness of the group conversation scenarios, I embedded the tool in the e-learning modules where students can learn to enhance their communications knowledge and competency by means of a diverse and coherent package of online work formats. In addition to online scenarios, the package includes knowledge clips, good and bad examples of conversations, assignments, questionnaires, quizzes, discussions, polls, assessment questions, etcetera. In so doing, they can learn how difficult communication can be, understand (mis)communication, obtain insight into their own communication habits, and become more effective in holding conversations themselves. This integrated, digital approach is a powerful tool for learning how to communicate, and reinforces the face-to-face education in communication skills. The course is structured as follows: each week, the students prepare for the lab seminar by completing the e-learning modules on topics like listening, giving feedback or collecting information. They don’t have to do the work at a fixed place or time, however; they can complete the assignments at their own pace at a convenient moment, and can do so as often as they like. Each lab seminar deals with the contents of the e-learning module. Course evaluations have shown that students prefer the e-learning modules to lectures. Seminar lecturers have also noticed the difference: students come better prepared to class, which leaves more time for practice and in-depth discussion. Finally, another benefit is that I can also easily give fellow lecturers access to my own e-learning modules. That makes it easier to collaborate, and facilitates active sharing of knowledge across study programmes, faculties, and even universities. Want to find out more? Then take a look at the showcase I’ve created for the course ‘Professional Conversations’ by registering via this link (SolisID): https://lll-platform-uu.nl/enrol/signup/?l=t9233arzGyWI. If you’re interested in what DialogueTrainer has to offer for your curriculum, then visit the Educate-it site or contact Educate-it to ask for practical or didactic support.

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Educational innovation is helping laboratory animals - Benedikte Sam

As the faculty contact for Educate-it at Veterinary Medicine, I get to work with a colleague from the Chair of Quality Promotion at my faculty to organise an Education Sandwich meeting each month. We aim to inform and inspire teachers with recent developments in the fields of education and educational science. These meetings draw a crowd. Three recently developed e-modules were presented at the most recent meeting, whose common thread was that they each contributed to a reduction in animal testing (a priority at our faculty). All three also enabled our students to prepare thoroughly for their practicals: an essential element of becoming a vet. The first module was developed by colleagues involved with the 3R-center, a group dedicated to Replacing, Reducing and Refining testing on animals. The module is available to externals as well as our own students and is directed at improving awareness and knowledge of humane termination in people who work with laboratory animals professionally. The end of this presentation transitioned smoothly into a discussion of the ‘Behaviour and Handling’ self-study module, which helps students prepare for practicals on various species of animals. Students get to see ahead of time what kinds of behaviours they should expect, what procedure they will learn and how to perform that procedure properly. This frees up time in the practical for students to actually practice. A module that ties into that nicely is ‘Clinical Diagnostics, Cat’. The behaviour of cats makes using them as (educational) laboratory animals fairly complex, not least because they are especially susceptible to stress. To allow students to still practice what they need while using as few cats as possible, three measures were implemented: Students can prepare for clinical teaching sessions involving cats at home, using the new e-learning module on clinical diagnostics. That module contains theory, practice, and many videos and exercises. During practicals, the more distressing procedures will no longer be performed on live cats, but on dummy animals (called ‘fluffy cats’), so that students can practice basic procedures under the auspices of the teacher. These fluffy cats are also used for the so-called station exams in the bachelor’s degree programme. Students can prove they possess the required skills and expertise to pass their exam using the dummy. It is inspiring to see how actively teachers are innovating their teaching. And our students share that excitement, since the modules allow them to review and practice as often as they like. I make myself useful to teachers by helping them procure funds and whatever (educational, technical or practical) support they require. I also connect teachers interested in starting similar projects. Obviously, my ‘Education Sandwich’ meetings also provide teachers a platform for sharing their educational accomplishments and developments. Future editions have already been scheduled and will address very different subjects: January 22nd: Chantal Duijn will talk about her doctoral research into EPA’s in veterinary education. February 5th: Ruurd Jorritsma will address sideways entry into the Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health master’s degree programme. In closing, I would like to share that our students are also developing courses, such as our didactics elective. A teacher had asked them for help: How do I get students to show up for practicals properly prepared? Here’s what they came up with: https://educate-it.uu.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/voorbereiding-praktica-leerlijn-DHV.mp4 Enjoy!

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News

28 March 2020

As of Monday 30 March: Webinars Distance Learning - teaching methods and tools

Would you like to know how to prepare your course for period 4 using the available tools? Or do you have questions about the use of a specific tool? We will be happy to help you with this and organize short webinars on various themes and topics every day from Monday 30 March. Educational advisors and experts from Onderwijsdvies & Training (O&T) and Educate-it are ready to provide you with didactic and practical information and answer your questions. All questions that cannot be answered directly, will be looked into and answered later. Onderwerp Data Testing Monday 30 March, 14:00 – 15:00 Thursday 2 April, 14:00 – 15:00 Knowledge clips Monday 30 March, 15:15-16:15 Wednesday 1 April, 15:15-16:15 (Peer)feedback Tuesday 31 March, 14:00-15:00 Friday 3 April, 14:00-15:00 Mentimeter Tuesday 31 March, 15:15-16:15 Microsoft Teams Wednesday 1 April, 14:00-15:00 Grasple Thursday 2 April, 15:15-16:15 Activating forms of work online Thursday 2 April, 16:30-17:30 The webinar will be given in English or Dutch, depending on the language preference of the participants. Registration is not required. You can participate by clicking on the link below on the day of your choice at the time indicated, which will take you to the meeting. Take part in the Info and Question Hour here: Participate in Microsoft Teams meeting​

14 March 2020

Availability & teaching remotely

Due to the Corona measures, the Educate-it desk cannot be reached by telephone or physically. However, we can be reached during office hours (Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 17.00 hours) via e-mail and chat. In addition, we also check the mail in the weekend on specific times, so we can answer questions that can't wait. There is a team of didactic staff ready to support teachers in teaching remotely.  Workshops are postponed for the time being. Teachers who have registered will be notified when there is more clarity about the schedule. Instead of workshops we offer webinars Distance Learning from March 30th. See the calendar page for each webinar.

9 March 2020

April 2020 is Skills month

Skills, like communication, academic or lab skills, are incorporated in many teaching courses. For students, practicing these skills is an important part of the programme and vital preparation for their careers. By using online tools teachers can help all of their students to practice these skills. That is why Educate-it organises the month of the Skills. With these tools, students can practice their skills digitally in a secure and familiar environment, as often as they want or need. Students receive the feedback they need to develop their skills from the tool itself or digitally from their teachers and peers. This provides students an important opportunity to practice their skills before they have to use them in their classes or careers. Offer for teachers Teachers interested in learning about skills and the best ways to use them in education will be invited to take part in various workshops and IT tools. A comprehensive list of our offerings can be found on the Month of the Skills page. Are you interested in skills but too busy right now to take part in any of our activities? Naturally, the online training courses are available year-round and you can always get in touch with us to get the support you need. Next month, our theme will be Knowledge clips.

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Events

16 April 2020

Webinar Mentimeter: This will make your education even more activating

Many UU teachers use the online voting tool Mentimeter, which allows you to easily interact with a group of students. With Mentimeter, all students in a lecture can answer questions asked by the teacher via their phone or laptop at the same time. The multiple choice questions are used most frequently by far, while many other functionalities are still not used. Think of other question types and the Q&A, which allows students to anonymously ask a question that is projected on the screen. Are you also curious about what other possibilities Mentimeter offers to make your education even more activating? Then follow the webinar on 16 April from 13.15 to 14.15 hrs. During this webinar you will experience which question types and possibilities are available in Mentimeter and how this can strengthen your education. Successful examples will be given by different experiences of teachers. After this webinar, you will know which question types are best suited to your teaching and you will be able to use Mentimeter more effectively. Click here to sign up for the webinar. This is offered in English and will be recorded so that it can be viewed via the Educate-it site.

30 April 2020

Workshop Effective Digital Assessment

This workshop will offer some rules of thumb for composing a good exam and good (open or closed) exam questions. As an exercise, we will critically examine your past exam questions, looking for ways to improve them and learn how to write even better questions in future. We will also get our hands dirty: you’ll learn how to transfer your exam questions into Remindo and use them to compose an assessment. You’ll also learn how to re-use your questions in later assessments. By working this way, you will start to build a database of questions and answers that will benefit you for years to come. You will be working on your own questions in the workshop. Bring one of your past (summative or formative) assessments with you! You will also need to bring your own laptop. The workshop is usually conducted in Dutch. If you’d prefer to take it in English, please email dp.educate-it@uu.nl for a personal appointment.

12 May 2020

Workshop Creating effective knowledge clips

In this workshop, you will learn when offering a knowledge clip is effective. You will also experience how a good knowledge clip affects the learner and take your own initial steps toward designing an effective and attractive knowledge clip for use in your own courses.

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