Anka Mulder

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Good news is news too!

As a positive person I have never understood why people enjoy to complain so much. It almost seems that good news is no news. And sometimes we forget positive outcomes, which are worth mentioning as well.

That is also the case when it comes to higher education. Two examples. Universities used to be elitist institutions, teaching only the happy few. Nowadays, we teach millions. That is certainly progress. Higher education evaluations, however, are often focused on the problems that these large student numbers bring about. The developments in online education are also scrutinised. MOOCs have allowed millions of learners to have access to free top education and to study subjects they like. Yet, they are criticised for being pedagogically traditional. Of course we have to continue to improve both the quality of and access to higher education, on campus and online. At the same time it is good to pay attention to and to value the improvements that have been made.

I see inspiring examples of good and innovative teaching around me every day.

One of our TU Delft professors, Arie van Deursen, sent me link to his blog today: “Teaching Software Architecture: with GitHub!“, a course for Computer Science master students. The lecturers in this course tried to change their course radically and bridge the gap between theory and practice in teaching software architecture. They divided the class in groups of 3-4 students, each of which had to adopt an active open source GitHub project and contribute, using the architectural theory given to them by the lecturers. The course included software metrics, architectural scotches, lectures from real software architects and presentations. Students were evaluated by their lecturers and their peers. The learning outcomes were very good and students liked the course. They mostly enjoyed the fact that they contributed to solving a real problem and received positive feedback for this from the field.

As for Arie and his team: more than 18.000 people have read this blog since Friday. Have a look at Arie’s blog yourself. And do you have interesting examples you want to share? Please post your comment below.

And for 2014? Let’s keep an open mind, for things to improve as well as the positive. Happy New Year!

Image CC BY NC SA Michal Switala

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