Anka Mulder


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Online education in the Netherlands: Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam

Cooperation between TU Delft, Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and their medical centres has been around for some years. Over time, it has come to include  multidisciplinary research, the development of a particle cancer treatment centre and educational programmes on a variety of subjects, such as Life Science and Technology, Nano Bio Science, Molecular Science an Technology and Clinical Technology.

Earlier this year, TU Delft, Leiden University and Erasmus University decided to also join forces in innovation of  higher education pedagogy with a special focus on online education. The Centre for Education & Learning, CEL, was set up with the purpose to coordinate this. All three universities have high ambitions with regard to quality in and innovation of higher education. Furthermore, Delft is a core member of edX, Leiden of Coursera and Erasmus  has started an active policy in online education. Together we want to play a leading role in this:

  • we are currently developing blended learning minors together, the first of which will start in September (responsible innovation);
  • together we will recruit a number of PhD students, who will, for example, do research on how to use big data to improve higher education;
  • modules for online teaching are being developed for our teaching staff.

Last month, TU Delft hosted the edX Global Forum. Around 250 colleagues from the world’s top 100 universities came to Delft for a two day programme about edX’s next steps. They included board members, online education programme directors and staff, MOOC professors and author right experts. EdX now has 48 institutions on board, 180 MOOCs, 5 million enrolments and has handed out around 175.000 certificates. The subjects addressed during the forum included: blended learning, MOOCs and research on university education, new higher education networks, legal issues, open source, etc. New business models were also discussed, i.e.: which opportunities do universities have to brake even and how can edX help?  Suggestions included paid certificates, sponsored bridging MOOCs (i.e. on mathematics, English, etc), the licensing of MOOCs and running SPOCs on a white label part of the edX platform. TU Delft is interested in all these possibilities. George Siemens gave a fantastic and inspiring closing speech. Have a look:

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 13.55.45

(Click the image to open the session recording)

Two weeks later, a second important MOOC event took place when Coursera’s Daphne Koller visited Leiden University to talk about Coursera’s plans for the future. Leiden has also been one of the contributors of the LERU document on online education, which will be presented in Brussels this week.

Our goal is to become the European hub for online education and to reach out globally. We believe that we are in a good position to do this. If you are interested in our ambitions, let us know!

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