Lectures will no longer be livestreamed by default, compulsory attendance will return

17 Aug 2022

No more livestreams during lectures and compulsory attendance at practicums and seminars where skills are practiced. With these measurements, Radboud University wants to lure as many students as possible back to campus. The University Student Council doubts whether the measurements can serve as a solution. ‘The facilities on campus need to follow suit.’

Education at Radboud University needs to take place on campus as much as possible the coming academic year, the Executive Board thinks. During the various waves of covid, no or only small groups of students were welcome on campus, but even after letting the restrictions go, lecture halls remained mostly empty.

Compulsory attendance

The board now wants to change that. Specifically, livestreams of lectures will no longer be offered. ‘Online education is no longer necessary now students can attend lectures on campus again’, says university spokesperson Anja van Kessel. ‘For academic development and student wellbeing, it is important that students come to campus and study and discuss together. We are not a university of remote education.’

So, students are expected on campus more often. For practicums and seminars where skills are practiced, attendance is compulsory, just like before the pandemic. It is up to the faculties and study programmes to decide for which forms of education attendance is compulsory.

Leading up to exams, faculties and programmes can decided for themselves whether or not to offer weblectures. ‘Generally, study programmes do give access to weblectures to students who are caretakers, have long covid or practice sports at a professional level’, says Van Kessel.

Lectures

If the measurements work, there will soon be lectures with hundreds of students again at study programmes such as law and psychology. Is the campus prepared for that? ‘The schedules are based on the situation as it was before covid’, Van Kessel explains. ‘In terms of scheduling, we foresee no issues.’

If there are too few seats in a lecture hall at the start of the academic year, which did sometimes happen before covid, then that can be solved on the spot according to the spokesperson. ‘We can, for example, provide a livestream in an extra lecture hall, so all students can attend the lecture on campus. But we will have to wait and see whether that problem arises.’

‘The Refter needs a better food offering’

The University Student Council (USR) reacts moderately positive to the new policy of Radboud University. ‘It is great that the university wants to lure students back to campus’, says chair Rizka Simons. ‘We would however like to see all faculties following a consistent policy when it comes to compulsory attendance and whether or not to provide livestreams.’

‘The Refter should once again provide better meals and a larger offering’

Still, the university could do more to lure students back to campus according to the USR. ‘The facilities on campus need to be in order’, says Simons. ‘The Refter and other hospitality services should once again provide better meals and a larger offering. If the University library and study lounges remain open longer, students would not have to go home immediately after a lecture. Only then can be break the vicious cycle of fewer students leading to a weaker providing of services and subsequently to even fewer students.

New covid wave

Whether students will actually find their way back to campus this coming fall, will mostly depend on the course of the pandemic. Van Kessel: ‘If we get a new wave of covid, then we will have to switch physical moments of contact back to online education. Luckily we know now that that can be done quickly.’

Translated by Jan Scholten.

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