The first digital meeting of the Flexible education zone took place on 17 April. In the midst of a pandemic, the team explored what COVID-19 does to us, both personally and professionally. The crisis temporarily slowed the zone down due to the extra work we all face, but it was nice to see and talk to everyone again.
The theme of the day was “Shifting down”, moving into a lower gear. Taking the time to reflect together on the current circumstances. The institutions are currently taking major steps in accelerating the online provision of all educational activities. There have been tremendous achievements by everyone in higher education and we’re proving to be more flexible than we ever thought possible. We can be proud of each other; a lot has happened and a lot has gone well!
The new reality
We discussed the new reality we are facing. We talked about what is currently going on in regards to flexibility in the institutions. Organising practical training, online testing, and professional development of lecturers are now important themes. We’ve also noticed the crisis will have clear consequences for a number of things such as open days, the Binding Study Advice (BSA), and financing in the future.
Many of these changes currently aren’t viewed from the perspective of flexible education. However, even without aiming for more flexible education, we are becoming more flexible, and COVID-19 unintentionally boosts the flexibility of higher education. The impact of this, however, will only be visible when the dust has settled. It is too early to draw any conclusions for the long term, but we can state that time- and location-independent studying will play a more important role than before. The need for adequate student guidance and up-to-date and personal information provision has also become more important than ever.
In conclusion, there’s no need to change the course and plans of our zone. We see even more acceleration on the theme of flexible education than before and we’ll continue with what we were doing. In a time of many uncertainties, we’ll certainly continue our activities after shifting down temporarily!