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Educate-it at REBO

Colleagues speaking

“Preparing the students for the world of tomorrow”- Tina van der Linden

Tina van der Linden (Law) has been using various digital tools to encourage her students and enliven her lectures for a long time now. She thinks that in the future IT will not only change the teaching methods but the teaching content too. One of the reasons for this is the technology-driven changes of the job market. How do you prepare students for this new electronic reality?

In the thirty years that Tina has been working at Utrecht University she obtained an extensive experience of knowledge clips, online testing, voting tools, chat applications, discussion boards and the recording of lectures. Tina: as I provide a mix of teaching tools, my lectures become livelier. I am, however, very critical and will only use IT if it is indeed functional.

Very useful: recording your own lectures
I consider the recording of my own lectures the most useful aspect of IT in teaching. I have noticed that my students use the recordings very regularly but still attend my lectures. If they find something difficult or happen to be ill, they can watch the video and opt to fast-forward certain parts. It is also rather useful for me to watch them back. It all has to be perfect as anything on tape can be used against me. It encourages me to provide the information clearly, succinctly and to the point.

Knowledge clips about graduation projects
One of my latest projects in the field of IT and teaching concerns two knowledge clips about graduation work. During the first meeting about their thesis, the students have to come up with a subject and are given a lot of information. As a result, not everyone manages to absorb the full content of that lecture. Together with some of my colleagues, I resolved to record two knowledge clips on how to formulate research questions. The videos are a big success and have been watched over 200 times.

Teaching in the future
The teaching concept will change dramatically in the future. Increasingly more teaching activities will take place online. It is, therefore, important to ask ourselves what we will still need a real-live teacher for. Personally, I think that face-to-face contact has an added value with regard to feedback, motivating students and practising skills such as presentation, pleading and providing feedback.

If you look at the long term developments, IT will not only change the method of teaching but also the job market our graduates will be entering into. Jobs will disappear or change as a result of robotising and artificial intelligence. ‘Humans need not apply’ shows the consequences of robotising in a 15-minute documentary.

People often think that robots can do no more than assemble cars, but things are rapidly developing. The work of teachers, doctors and lawyers can also be done by robots in the future.

Junior lawyers at a law office, for instance, often have to search for lots of information in databanks. This type of work will increasingly be carried out by computers. It leaves us to wonder how much work will remain to be done by legal practitioners.

Think about the content
That’s why it is fundamental that we think about the content of our academic programmes. How will our society change and what will the professionals have to be able to know and do? I think that a student should at least be able to keep up, be an auto-didact. Perhaps this is the most important skill we should teach our students: to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date and teach them how to do this.

Other colleagues speaking