4 September 2017

Open and Online Education 2018 call for proposals opened

A new call for proposals for the Open and Online Education stimulus package has been opened. Open and online education provides opportunities to innovate teaching, improve the quality of education and boost academic outcomes. That is why the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (ECS) is making funding available both for experiments with online education and for initiatives using open course materials. The submission deadline for your project proposal is 15 December 2017. New format: 2 columns The current Open and Online Education stimulus package has been revised. From now on, it will consist of two columns: online education and open course materials. ECS and SURF seek to encourage the adoption of open course materials. SURF is in charge of supervising the projects and sharing knowledge with the entirety of higher education. Online education column: peer feedback and peer assessments this year’s themes in online education Within this column, grants are available for either redesigning current educational offerings or developing new online education. This year, a theme has been introduced to focus the projects and to encourage the collaborative development of knowledge. The theme for this year’s proposals is the effective application of peer feedback and peer assessment in online education. A maximum of 550,000 euros in grant money will be available in this round. Each project can apply for a grant of no more than 100,000 euros. There is no lower limit; Small projects are welcome. The project must at least match the amount in its grant application with resources of its own. Projects should run for between 12 and 24 months. Submitted projects must start between 1 May and 1 September 2018. Open course material column Within this column, grants are available for experimentation with reusing existing and open course materials within communities of teachers. This will stimulate teacher collaboration across institutional borders to create and (re)use high-quality collections of open course materials. By working together, they can increase the quality of these materials and make more efficient use of their time. Each project can apply for a grant no greater than 175,000 euros. To ensure that the project results will be broadly applicable, each application must be submitted by no fewer than 2 different institutions of higher learning. The project must at least match the amount in its grant application with means of its own. Projects should run for between 12 and 24 months. Project submitters can choose a start date anywhere between 1 May and 1 September 2018.     Information and submitting a proposal If you are interested in submitting a proposal, it is important that you follow UU’s internal procedure  and that you use the template SURF will post on its website in early September. Please inform Educate-it ( when you intend to submit your proposal. Educate-it can also assist with drafting your proposal if you wish. You can find more information about this stimulus package on the SURF website. Unlike in previous years, those applying for a grant will be personally responsible for submitting their proposal including all the relevant documentation (signed letter from the Executive Board, any additional letters of intent, budget) through Additional information about submitting a project proposal, the procedures and the assessment criteria can be found in the following flyers about the Open and Online Education stimulus package: Flyer Online Education Column 2018 (pdf) Flyer Open Course Materials Column 2018 (pdf) You should also consult the web pages on the Open and Online Education stimulus package, which include links to previously approved projects (in Dutch):

3 July 2017

Two UU MOOCs going live

On Monday, July 3rd, two MOOCs will go live on the Coursera platform: Future Foods and Dynamics of Youth. This will bring the total number of UU MOOCs to five. With its MOOCs, Utrecht University intends to promote the University and its strategic themes internationally, to create expertise in new forms of education, and to make education more widely available. This is also why Educate-it facilitates these MOOCs, each of which is connected to one of the university’s strategic themes or focus areas.   Dynamics of Youth The ‘Understanding child development from synapse to society’ MOOC accurately represents how complex child development is and how it is influenced by a large number of factors at different organisational levels. The course covers subjects like developmental systems approach; brain development; cognitive, linguistic and social-emotional development; and all of the factors that influence that development. As an illustration of how an interdisciplinary approach helps make sense of development, the course demonstrates how researchers in various disciplines and from various backgrounds research development at Utrecht University.   Future Food The purpose of the ‘Unravelling solutions for future food problems’ MOOC is to create awareness for an interdisciplinary approach to food supply problems in the world. The course addresses its central issues of ‘food shortage’ and ‘healthy choices’ from an interdisciplinary perspective. Issues under discussion include: possible solutions for meeting the demands of a growing global population, the role of food in preventing non-communicable diseases, and the need to understand the food choices required to change to a healthier diet and alternative foods.   Develop your own MOOC? Development of the ‘Sustainability’ MOOC will start after the summer. The expectation is that the total number of available MOOCs will reach seven fairly soon. These MOOCs may be integrated into summer schools and campus teaching, possibly in combination with working groups and an on-campus exam. Teachers and researchers interested in developing a MOOC can turn to the Strategic Theme coordinator or the Educate-it project leader for Online Education, Renée Filius. For more information about MOOCs and to hear about Human Rights teacher Antoine Buys’ experience with developing a MOOC, watch the video at the bottom of the page.   Positive reviews The Institutions MOOC ‘Human Rights for Open Societies’ and the Life Sciences MOOC ‘Clinical Epidemiology’ are both performing well, as is the existing ‘Ebola’ MOOC UU co-developed with UvA. Some 20,000 to 25,000 people registered for each of those three MOOCs, with around 5,000 participants at each course actively taking part throughout. How much the participants appreciate the course is reflected not just by how they rate it on surveys (each course is rated 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5), but by the many positive comments they leave on the Coursera website as well. Here are some examples:   Human Rights for Open Societies An excellent introduction to Human Rights in an inclusive and Open Society. I have learned a lot about the basic rights that ALL human beings have irrespective of the countries they reside in. All states have an obligation to ensure that those human rights are protected at all cost and in the best interests of each and every citizen and non-citizen! Amazing for all the beginners. The course has very clear structure, which enables you to connect all the topics. Very clear lectures and quizzes that help you with further understanding. This course is an excellent guide to the problems and benefits of human rights within open society!     Clinical Epidemiology I loved the clarity of focus, the clarity of the lectures, the simplicity used in explained the concepts. I am most grateful as this has been of great help and I think I am ready to embark on discussions with senior clinicians in order to carry out research. This will generate evidence which will readily be applicable to the patients in our settings Thank you! Thank you so much for this HUGE opportunity to take a world class course for free with two of the best professors there are. I have no words to describe my satisfaction. I really enjoyed every single lecture. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity for me, as a middle-eastern student, to learn from you. Thank you so much!

27 June 2017

Blackboard wins European tender from Utrecht University

By means of a European tendering process, Utrecht University has once again selected Blackboard for its digital learning environment. As Blackboard’s current contract expires on 31 December 2018, we kicked off a selection process in October 2016. The Executive Board will soon sign a contract for this four-year-long cooperation.   European tender In October 2016, SURFmarket and eight educational institutions, including Utrecht University, sealed framework agreements with four digital learning environment suppliers. Later on, these educational institutions launched independent mini-competition processes to each select the supplier that best suits them. This process and the subsequent contract award to Blackboard are due to constructive collaboration between the Department of Information and Technology Services (ITS) and the faculties. An important part of the mini-competition process was feedback received from lecturers, students, and administrators on the systems offered. Teams consisting of both lecturers and students tested all the systems extensively, focusing on which system best aligns with Utrecht University’s practices, user requirements, and which is the most user-friendly. Fitting the bill Committees of faculty representatives assessed all four suppliers’ offers based on a set of predefined criteria, the total award being split as follows: 70 percent on quality and 30 percent on price. The bids were assessed on a raft of requirements and demands, user test results, migration plans, each supplier’s vision, and the price. In the end, once all the elements had been assessed, Blackboard came out on top over the other bidders. Professionalisation Now that Utrecht University is continuing its partnership with Blackboard, we will once again focus on the possibilities offered by this learning environment from the autumn of 2017. The Teacher Development activities of the Educate-it programme will support this.

20 June 2017

First vlog is online! Jasper van Winden visits the Surf get together about the use of virtual reality for educational purposes in Groningen. Checkout Jasper's channel Check out Jasper's Educate-it playlist

6 June 2017

Educate-it organises large-scale teacher survey on educational innovation

Educate-it organises large-scale teacher survey on educational innovation Starting June 6th, all UU teachers will be asked to evaluate Educate-it, the educational innovation programme. Even teachers who’ve never heard of the programme will be asked to complete the online survey. This will help Educate-it to better meet teachers’ needs in future. What is Educate-it? The University-wide Educate-it programme supports teachers as they adapt their teaching to the education of the future. Educate-it helps teachers innovate and blend their teaching practices. Many IT tools are available that can engage students and overcome obstacles to good teaching. Interim evaluation Because Educate-it values teachers’ experiences and hopes to optimise its activities based on those experiences, programme manager Jan Haarhuis is investing heavily in interim evaluations. He has invited advisors from both USG Consultancy and O&T to develop a survey that will catalogue how teachers regard educational innovation in general and the Educate-it programme in particular. Input from teachers will be used to improve the programme’s teacher development activities, to decide which tools will continue to be supported, and to explore what more Educate-it can do to support teachers as they implement IT in their teaching. Invitation lost in the mail? If you haven’t received an email containing a link to the survey (yet), please go to this intranet message in which you can find the link to the survey. Doing so will take about 10 minutes. To learn more about the survey, contact Sebastiaan Steenman of USG Consultancy ( To learn more about how Educate-it can help you enhance your teaching, contact Educate-it.

1 June 2017

Educate-it tool guide live

What tool would you use to create more interaction in your classroom? And what if you wanted to give digital feedback? The Educate-it tool guide helps teachers find the right tool to effect the changes they want to see in their teaching practice. The tools are clearly presented and organised based on three learning objectives. The Educate-it tool guide helps teachers choose a tool that works for their learning objectives. Each tool has a brief description, tips for using it, and experiences from users. Manuals are also provided, as are instructions on how to start using the tools in your teaching practice. Naturally, teachers are more than welcome to contact Educate-it for additional support and with any questions about the tools. The tool guide goes live on the Educate-it site on June 1st:

22 May 2017

More and more UU teachers have started using MyWorkplace

More and more teachers have started using MyWorkplace in their teaching, and students are getting more and more comfortable using it. With MyWorkplace, students can access the software they need for their studies anytime and anywhere. This includes SPSS, Matlab, Stata and over 100 other academic apps. Did you know that teachers can use MyWorkplace to teach computer-supported courses? The main advantage is that it frees you from dependency on Computer Learning Rooms with the necessary software installed. More information? Click here.

22 May 2017

Collaboration UU and Ricoh

Last week, Utrecht University and Ricoh signed a letter of intent to intensify their collaboration in developing new educational technology. Educational innovation is a key priority in Utrecht University’s Strategic Plan. Besides improving their didactic methods and making use of software, the UU-wide Educate-it programme also works on adapting the design of teaching spaces (Future Learning Spaces). In the Utrecht Teaching and Learning Lab, lecturers can try out new facilities in practice. Collaboration with developers and suppliers of new products, such as the worldwide ICT-company Ricoh, enables the effects of technology to be tested at an early stage of prototyping, allowing products to be adjusted and improved where necessary. More information. Click here.

9 May 2017

Two honored UU-project proposals in the OCW subsidy scheme Open and Online education

Utrecht University is very successful in the third round of the OCW subsidy scheme Open and Online education. As many as two of the eleven project proposals are awarded by the Utrecht University. The Ministry of education, culture and science allows until 2018 four times grants for an annual subsidy scheme Open and online education. In the third round of this arrangement 55 project proposals are submitted – almost three times more than last year (21), 11 of which have been honored by the Minister. These projects start this year. Honored UU project proposals the Ministry of education, culture and science has given grants for the following project proposals of the University Utrecht: -       Public International Law: knowledge clips & bites -       The X-Games

7 March 2017

Educate-it 2016 Results: Educational Innovations on the Rise

The Educate-it programme has made great strides since its inception in late 2014. The Educate-it programme for innovation in education operates according to an evidence-based hybrid strategy. It combines a bottom-up approach that invests teachers with ownership of the changes to their teaching practices with a top-down approach of centralised organisation and support. This strategy is bearing fruit. In a relatively short time, the programme has made enormous progress on many innovations and garnered widespread support for itself and its cause across the university. Educate-it has become an institution. More and more teachers seek the programme out to make use of its support and services as they innovate their teaching practices. The Educate-it programmes at the various faculties are bringing these services to the doorsteps of the university’s students and teachers.   Educate-it’s 2016 results have been collected into an easy-to-read infographic. Here are some numerical highlights from those results: More than 1,500 teachers have started digitising parts of their teaching. More than 5,000 students have used one or more of Educate-it’s learning tools in their coursework. More than 700 teachers and university staff have completed online modules. Nearly 300 teachers have taken part in the workshops. The number of digital assessments has doubled from 200 to 400. The number of students undergoing digital assessment has more than doubled to almost 47,000. There have been 1,608 video recordings: two-and-half times as many as in 2014. These were viewed by students 581,600 times: twice as much as in 2014. The number of visitors to the Educate-it website has more than tripled from 17,000 to 52,000. Nearly 12,000 people took part in 2 MOOCs (with 3 more in development).