13 February 2017

Come to the Educate-it workshops

Educate-it offers several workshops for teachers the coming weeks. Register and come to one of more of the workshops below and get inspired and learn skills to strengthen your education. For more information and registration      

10 February 2017

Feite Hofman (Ministry of Education) underlines importance of Teaching & Learning Lab

Director of Higher Education and Student Administration at the Ministry of Education, Feite Hofman, visited the Teaching & Learning Lab (TLL) with a delegation on 16 December. The UU spoke with him about innovation in education, he witnessed the recording of a ‘knowledge clip’ about the use of the Arduino tool in physics education. The TLL is an initiative of the Freudenthal Institute and the program Educate-it, is located in the Buys Ballot building and focusses on innovation in education. Hofman was very impressed with the interfacultary lab. Read it in the interview below. What do you think of the idea of ​​the TLL, a physical test location for teaching innovation and learning effect measurement? Hofman: “It's definitely a good innovative idea, since we have little evidence-based practice in education. Everyone has ideas about what good education is, but we rarely test those ideas in a scientific way. That’s actually quite strange for an academic attitude. That’s why a Teaching & Learning Lab is so important. Students, teachers and educational researchers can use it to experimentally determine what works.” What do you think is so innovative about the TLL? “What’s innovative is that you create an environment where the latest technologies (3D printers, knowledge clips, smart tables) can be optimally used by students and teachers. The TLL is a cross between a media lab like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has, and an old-fashioned classroom.” How do you see the TLL contributing to the quality of education? “The workplaces of the future are full of new technology to help you collaborate better. The universities and colleges have to prepare students for that. The innovations of the TLL contribute to that. In the future, we want education to be adjusted to the personal learning experiences of each student. New educational technology makes it possible to optimally support each student in the learning process.” Would you recommend the TLL concept to other universities and colleges? “What is happening in the TLL is relevant to all universities and colleges. It would be good if other universities could learn from the experiences of Utrecht University.” Is there anything else you want to say about the TLL? “I think it is very commendable that the TLL also seeks collaboration with secondary education, thus facilitating the connection with higher education.”  

24 January 2017

Interested in evaluating writing assignments digitally? Register for the Revisely pilot programme!

Are you interested in experimenting with digitally grading and marking up writing assignments such as reports, essays and papers? Teachers can now register to take part in the pilot programme for online tool Revisely, which was started by Educate-it this past September. The pilot, initially slated for periods 1 and 2, has been extended until the end of the 2016/2017 academic year. One of the reasons for this extension is that Revisely has added new functionality for peer grading and submitting group efforts. Revisely is an online tool for grading written assignments. The tool supports teachers in all aspects of the process surrounding writing assignments; from creating the assignment, checking for plagiarism and providing feedback through to monitoring the submission and evaluation process. It’s easy for teachers to provide their students with relevant feedback in Revisely thanks to the built-in database of comments and the option of providing custom feedback. Recently, Revisely implemented peer feedback and support for group submissions as well. If you are a teacher and would like to take part in the pilot programme or simply learn more about using Revisely, contact Nanette Verhulst, project leader of the Digital Feedback subproject at Educate-it: You could also register for the ‘Grade assignments digitally with Revisely’ workshop. That will take place on 13 March. For more information, see

29 November 2016

How do I make a good knowledge clip? Take the e-module

How do I make a good knowledge clip? What’s important to know when you get started with knowledge clips? How and where can Utrecht University support you in creating your own knowledge clips? These and other questions are answered in the e-module about knowledge clips, which is now online available to all UU staff. Knowledge clips are short video presentations that explain a single specific subject. They are one of a number of blended learning tools you can incorporate into your teaching practice. You can create your own knowledge clips or download existing clips from the internet. These modules cover all the do’s and don’ts of creating knowledge clips and using them in your teaching. The module also discusses how you should present yourself in front of the camera and what makes a good story. This module is available, free of charge, on the Educate-it site for all teachers and teaching assistants who make knowledge clips.  

1 November 2016

Use of Educate-it tools in education on the rise

At the request of teachers, Educate-it offers a selection of online tools for educational innovation. An increasing number of teachers has started experimenting with these tools and is using them to innovate their teaching and incorporate Blended Learning. That’s why Educate-it recently extended the licences on the tools listed below, ensuring they will be available to teachers throughout the coming academic year. This year, Educate-it will continue to conduct research into the use of these tools and into the experiences of the teachers and students who use them. Does the use of these tools truly add value to blended education? Only the tools that do have their licences extended.   More interaction before and during lectures and seminars with PresentersWall Voting tool PresentersWall was once again widely used throughout this past academic year by both teachers (500) and students (125) to create more interaction during face-to-face teaching time. And the number of users is still climbing. PresentersWall was evaluated last year with a survey among students in a number of courses. The evaluation revealed that students found PresentersWall to be engaging, fun and meaningful. It helped them work on the subject matter more actively and to better understand their lectures. If you’re curious about what possible, why not visit Educate-it PresentersWall?   Scalable Learning Using Scalable Learning, you can enrich your knowledge clips with questions, assignments and (peer) feedback. In their evaluation of the tool, teachers described it as very user-friendly and announced their intention to make even more use of the tool in their teaching. One of the findings from the teacher focus group was that teachers noticed their students were coming to class with a better understanding of the subject matter so that time in the classroom could be used for more in-depth treatment of the subject matter. Teachers were also pleased to find that they could tell which parts of the subject matter their students were struggling with, which empowered them to use classroom time to address those specific issues. If you’re curious about the possibilities of Scalable Learning, visit Educate-it Scalable Learning.   Practicing communication skills with TrainTool TrainTool is currently being used to train interview techniques, presentation skills and communication skills in a variety of scenarios. There’s a TrainTool app as well now, so students can use their mobile devices to practice their skills online. An evaluation among teachers showed that those of them that used this tool in their teaching practice saw clear added value to the teaching process and were pleased with how user-friendly the tool is and with the quality of support from Educate-it. Students were asked how competent they felt at interview techniques before and after using TrainTool. Before the course, students felt barely to averagely competent at the various aspects of conducting interviews, such as deep questioning, phrasing questions, summarising, listening and showing empathy. After using TrainTool, they feel significantly more competent, feel more confident about their interviewing skills and appreciate the importance of interviewing. If this tool intrigues you, visit Educate-it TrainTool to learn more.   Creating E-modules with Xerte Ten teachers at UU currently use Xerte to create e-modules. One of those teachers is Gert Folkers, a teacher at Chemistry: ‘Xerte is a development tool where you can create slides containing text, video, images and/or questions with just a few keystrokes. An e-module is a bunch of those slides combined and is easy to offer to students. I would definitely recommend Xerte to my colleagues! It’s easy to use and easy to incorporate into your teaching.’ If you’re interested in the possibilities, visit Educate-it Xerte.   Do you have any questions about innovating your education? Would you like support in doing so? Contact Educate-it or come visit us at the Educate-it desk in the University Library de Uithof, a place for teachers and students to turn with all of their questions about blended learning, online tools or anything else involving Educate-it.

6 June 2016

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, running from 2014 through 2017, 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 which 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 the newsitem on intranet. Completing the survey will take about 10 minutes. To learn more about the survey, contact Sebastiaan Steenman of USG Consultancy ( or Renske de Kleijn of O&T ( To learn more about how Educate-it can help you enhance your teaching, contact Educate-it.

2 June 2016

New workshops and online modules to enhance your teaching

Do you want to enhance your teaching and introduce Blended Learning? Educate-it offers practical and didactic support in the form of teaching tools, online modules, workshops and individual coaching. Educate-it is organising a number of accessible workshops in June on the teaching tools TrainTool, Xerte and Scalable Learning. You will discover the many features of each tool and how to make the most of those features in your teaching. There are also a number of online training courses you can take at a time and place of your choosing, such as the course on (digital) assessment that went live recently.   Online training on assessment: always available online “What form of assessment best matches my teaching style?” “What if nobody scored above 70 on my exam?” “What are my options for (digital) assessment?” Would you like answers to practical questions like these? Then the online module on assessment developed by Educate-it with O&T is right for you! You will learn how to design, construct and present a good assessment (question). How to score and evaluate your assessments will also be covered. The module has been developed in such a way that you can get started on your own materials immediately. You can optimise existing assessments or develop brand new ones. If you’re only interested in a specific element of the assessment cycle, you can limit your studies to that part of the module. You set your own learning path. This accessible module is available to UU employees free of charge. Click “Online module on assessment” on the Educate-it page, log in with your SolisID and get started right away!    Flipping the Classroom with Scalable Learning: 20 June Flipping the classroom is an educational concept in which the knowledge transfer happens at home, using such tools as knowledge clips. Better use is made of the time spent with the teacher by employing more active teaching formats in the classroom. Scalable Learning is a platform designed specifically for this form of teaching. It makes the knowledge transfer through self-study more interactive, provides teachers with clear insight into any comprehension problems and reveals those problems at a keystroke in the classroom. You will leave this workshop knowing what it means to flip the classroom, with many tips and tricks for redesigning (parts of) your teaching according to the flipped model, and comfortably familiar with Scalable Learning. For more information and to register for the workshop Scalable learning.   Exercise your students’ soft skills with TrainTool: 22 June TrainTool is an app that lets students practice their communication skills (interview, presentation, social, transmission and language) online. In a short video, the app presents a scenario and invites the student to respond. The student records his or her response on a webcam, tablet or mobile phone. They can practice as many times as they like. Then, they submit their favourite recording to their teacher or fellow students, who will provide feedback. TrainTool also allows for the assessment of communication skills. Over the course of the workshop, you will learn how to use TrainTool in your own course, explore what features TrainTool has to offer, and get started on developing your own TrainTool training. For more information and to register for the workshop TrainTool.   Developing your own modules with Xerte Online Toolkits: 23 June Xerte Online Toolkits (XOT) is an online tool for developing your own interactive learning materials (or e-modules). You compose these e-modules by filling out forms in the online development environment. This requires no programming skills. This workshop will teach you what Xerte is, how to use it and how it can enhance your teaching. The workshop provides a brief introduction, teaching you all you need to know to start developing on your own. For more information and to register for the workshop Xerte.   If you have questions about Educate-it or any of the teaching tools, please contact Educate-it.

30 May 2016

Supporting educational innovations from the Educate-it desk

How do you make your classes more interactive? How do you make use of video in your courses? How do you perform digital assessments? The Educate-it educational innovation programme facilitates teachers as they enhance their teaching with these and other improvements. Under the heading teaching tools & training, the Educate-it website lists the tools available to help you enhance your teaching practice, including information about how each tool enhances education, other teachers’ experiences with the tools and an FAQ. If you would like to know more about the didactic applications of these IT tools or have any technical or practical questions, contact support by clicking the ‘I have a question’ button. Someone will get in touch with you that same day. Getting in touch with Educate-it You can also visit the Educate-it support desk in the University Library at the Uithof, a place for teachers and students to go for answers about blended learning, online tools and anything else involving Educate-it. This desk is manned on weekdays from 8.30 until 17.30 by Educate-it students who can help teachers with practical questions right then and there or put them in touch with Educate-it project coordinators to address didactic questions. You’ll find the Educate-it desk next to the elevators on the third floor of the University Library in the Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3. The Educate-it student can also come to your workspace for support if you need it. The desk can also be reached by phone at 030-253 2197. Or you could submit your question through the contact form on the Educate-it site.

11 May 2016

Students come up with study stress and course review apps

EduChallenge winners Team Bij de Hand One app to track stress-related complaints in students and another to review courses. These were just two of the innovative educational initiatives students entered into EduChallenge 2016.   Joining forces Educhallenge is three-day competition in which students from all over the Netherlands think about and work on educational innovation. The competition’s second edition took place in the Science Park from 20 through 22 April. Its organisers were the Educate-it programme at Utrecht University, the Boundless learning programme at UMC Utrecht and Ricoh. Their efforts were supported by knowledge and expertise supplied by UU’s IT Services department, the Freudenthal Institute and the University Library. External organisations SURFnet, Campusparty and UtrechtInc also contributed. Exchange This year, 43 students in 9 teams took part. They worked on technological concepts with the potential to improve education. They were supported in their process with inspiration sessions and intensive coaching by academic and business experts. “The event’s strength is in creating a vibrant exchange between student, academia and businesses.” So says Educhallenge project leader Michèle Gerbrands. “The students know what’s needed and try to find innovative ways to meet those needs. Our experts coach the teams and together they take their ideas to the next level.” Study stress app Student participant Aiden Buis also believes in this extraordinary cooperation. Aiden is part of the Nomi+ team, which took home the professional jury’s prize as well as the audience prize. Nomi+ is an app that addresses the growing numbers of students dealing with psychological problems. The app creates insight into stress-related complaints by providing information. It also monitors overall health and informs users about where to find help. Juror and Faculty of Medicine assessor Lisa Adriaansen believes Nomi+ could resolve an urgent problem. “And it’s a viable concept.” More participation Lisa was also very pleased with the efforts of the other teams. She shares what the concepts of all the teams have shown her. “We’ve seen that students want more of a voice in the processes at their schools and that there is a need for organisation and clarification of the vast amounts of information (about programmes, courses and internships).” Additional information Source: Dub (read the entire article here) To see pictures of the event, visit Instagram. The winning team created a video report.

31 March 2016

First MOOC UU live

March 24 2016- The first MOOC of Utrecht University will go live on the platform Coursera at April 4th. The registration has recently started. This MOOC with the subject Clinical Epidemiology is the first of four MOOCs the UU will be developing in 2016, each linked to one of the university's four strategic themes. The university wants to use these MOOCs to introduce students to the relevant fields. That will allow students to make a more informed selection from among the accredited Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) and campus courses. An MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course – is a free online course that has been designed for mass participation and for which the course materials are distributed on the web, meaning that participants are not bound to any one location. Courses usually last from 3 to 6 weeks and feature lots of interaction between students, who can take part wherever and whenever they like. MOOCs make heavy use of video, quizzes, texts and homework as well as a final exam. The course is not accredited. Goals UU wants to use MOOCs to gain experience with new forms of teaching and new ways to make education available to wide audiences. That's why the MOOCs are coordinated by Educate-it. Other goals UU hopes to achieve with these MOOCs are: Increasing Utrecht University's renown Contributing to the university's (international) reputation Using the four themes to demonstrate what areas UU excels in. Marketing the university's (post-graduate) online educational programmes and investigating whether MOOCs increase participation in UU educational programmes, especially its (online) Master's degree programmes. Facilitating scientific research by generating data.  UU and online education Utrecht University already has a great deal of experience with online education. The MOOCs will serve as an introduction to the SPOCs and campus education. Utrecht University has been developing SPOCs – Small Private Online Courses – since 2012. It was one of the first institutions to offer SPOCs and a complete online Master's degree programme. Right now, the university already offers over 70 fully accredited courses on the Elevate health platform, which UU co-founded with UMCU. That platform offers small-scale education with intense coaching and lots of interaction, both among students and between students and teachers. This makes it a good fit for the Utrecht model of education, with its emphasis on small-scale, personal and engaging education. The advantage of SPOCs is that students from all over the world can participate in the course from a distance, without having to physically come to Utrecht. We will also be using these courses to help students make up any academic deficits before they start a Master's degree programme. Concurrently with the Elevate initiative, top-tier institutions like Stanford, MIT and Harvard started the first MOOCs. MOOC platforms offer free, online, open courses that can and do accommodate large numbers of participants. The MOOCs have put online education back on the international and administrative agenda. They have vastly increased the popularity of online education. Since the fall of 2013, some of the top-tier institutions and MOOC platforms have been shifting their focus: alongside their MOOCs, they have started offering SPOCs. This latter form of teaching has a more sustainable business model and a much higher graduation rate. It seems likely that these two forms of teaching will continue to exist side by side for a few more years at least, but only time will tell. The UU MOOCs Now that MOOC platforms are graduating from their initial years of experimentation and development, the time has come to investigate how Utrecht University can benefit from MOOCs. The university has no intention to offer the entirety of its on-campus education online, but it does believe, as stated in the Strategic Plan, that it is important from the perspective of internationalisation and valorisation to develop off-campus education that parallels on-campus teaching. In time, it may well become feasible for students at our campus to take part in courses or academic programmes with students elsewhere in the world. Educate-it will coordinate the development of four MOOCs in 2016, as well as their publication on Coursera. Each course will address one of Utrecht University's four research themes: Sustainability, Life Sciences, Institutions and Dynamics of Youth. You can find more information about the MOOCs on offer from UU on the UU corporate site. More information about Utrecht University's SPOCs is available from the Elevate site.