Online working visit Minister Van Engelshoven
On Tuesday 7 April, Minister Van Engelshoven paid her first digital working visit ever, to the ComeniusNetwork, SURF, and the Acceleration Plan. The visit was prompted by the Community Online Education, a community started by the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH), the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), SURF, and the Acceleration Plan when the decision was made on 12 March institutions were closing their campuses due to COVID-19.
The Minister had a conference call with twenty participants from their living rooms and home offices. Erwin Bleumink, president at SURF and member of the Steering group of the Acceleration Plan, welcomed the minister. Erwin referred to the minister’s previous visit, not so long ago on 3 February: “We couldn’t t have predicted then that the switch to fully online education would happen this quick.”
Community Online Education
Annette Peet, project manager Open and Online Education at SURF, and Johanna de Groot, programme manager of the Acceleration Plan, kicked off the minister’s visit. They talked about the start of the Community Online Education. Annette: “We try to help professionals in education to find their way through the enormous amount of information that was produced due to the immediate transition to online education. We do this by sharing information with institutions: What is everyone doing? Can we provide overviews? How can we help each other? This is possible thanks to the network we have built over the years, including various schemes from the Ministry of Education.” Johanna: “Partly thanks to the collaboration that already existed, we managed to find each other quickly. We now see knowledge and expertise are exchanged between institutions and experts through the Community. The speed of this taking form is unique.”
Read the full report here (Dutch).
Knowledge and expertise about online education are brought together at the Community Online Education. The activities of the Community consist of facilitating the sharing of expertise via SURF Communities, answering questions from institutions via VraagbaakOnlineOnderwijs@surf.nl, and organising webinars about the transition to online education.