How you study

In order to let students function at their fullest potential, the structure of education should be of high quality. The needs of the individual students should be the main focus of a degree program. There should be more awareness amongst students about what they can influence when it comes to their degrees. Lijst Calimero wants to improve the structure of education by pursuing small-scale education and interactive education. This encourages students to think critically and develop themselves on a more personal level. Detailed feedback by teachers and peers is thereby important. Additionally, the UG needs to adapt to recent developments and should make use digital possibilities in order to innovate its education.

Digitalisation

Digital innovation provides opportunities that improve the quality of our education.

Digitized testing

Lijst Calimero wants the UG to reap the benefits of digitized examination. It can reduce the use of paper, decrease the work pressure and increase quick response rates. The UG has to optimize the possibility to issue more digital exams with the current reconstruction of the Aletta Jacobshal. However, it should be considered that digital testing does not work for all courses and programs. Therefore, program committees should have a say whether digital testing is possible.

Online lectures

For students, it is helpful to be able to use online lectures in their learning process. We therefore think they should be introduced as much as possible, as long as it does not go at the expense of active participation in studying. In order to facilitate online lectures, the university has to create a main framework which can help with the implementation and create easy access if the program finds it necessary to record their lectures. The final choice of using video- or audio-lectures shall be decided by the lecturer, preferably in consultation with the faculty. Nevertheless, Lijst Calimero sees the benefits of using online lectures and would strive for the full optimization of opportunities online lectures can bring towards students. Lastly, the availability of online lectures should be set out clearly in Ocasys.

Educational software

Students are more and more digitized and the University has to keep up with the current technological developments. Lijst Calimero supports the use of new software, such as Perusall and Peerceptiv, if proven they give added value to courses after extensive evaluation. Lijst Calimero sees the benefits, but we are also aware of its shortcomings. Therefore, we only want to implement new software if we see a clear added value. It can for example lead to better interaction and thus, small-scale education.

Anonymous testing

Lijst Calimero also supports anonymous testing, which is available if more exams are taken digitally. Everyone, including teachers, has a certain amount of bias, which we would like to diminish through anonymous testing which can make the process of grading more fair towards students.

Website of the UG

Lijst Calimero notices that the current website of the University of Groningen is suboptimal, often a few clicks result in redirections or error notifications. This is a problem, as the general website is the business card of the university, and often the first portal of information for all visitors, including prospective students, researchers and private entities. Therefore, Lijst Calimero wants to see a thorough evaluation & change of the current website.

Google maps

Finding your way around the university is sometimes quite difficult. Lijst Calimero finds it should be made easier for newly arriving students to find their way around. Lijst Calimero want the UG to join the VSNU pilot for incorporating indoor Google Maps of the university in the software.

Grading statistics

Once receiving a grade, students should have the possibility to view the average result of other students on their exams. With the current change to the use of the grading centre, Lijst Calimero wants to make it available there. A proposal has been sent by Lijst Calimero to create statistics from the results of the exam in the grading centre.

Small-scale education

Small-scale education has been the focus point of Lijst Calimero throughout our 15 years of existence. The interaction, discussion, and feedback are the best means to understand and grasp a subject. The focus of this university should be on working groups, seminars, and personal feedbacks by tutors. Small seminar groups encourage active participation and can create more personal and fitting education, which are invaluable.

Learning Communities

Learning Communities are an excellent way to practice small-scale education. These communities learn students to work together, share their expertise with each other, and entrepreneurship in an interdisciplinary and small-scale manner. These skills are mostly not taught in the BA and MA programs but are highly demanded on the labor market. The Faculty of Economic and Business is currently running successful learning communities, something that should be actively promoted amongst all students.

More teachers

In order to pursue small-scale education, more teachers and more student assistants need to be hired. Teachers and student assistants play a vital role in a students study career. More teachers means more attention per individual students as well as less working pressure for the teachers themselves. Last year, Lijst Calimero has managed to avail 5 million euros structurally, available to be spent on lowering the workload and also attracting more teachers. We are going to oversee where the money actually being spent on this.

Student assistants

In order to reduce the work pressure of teachers, Lijst Calimero sees value in the use of student assistants. They can support teachers and decrease their workload, while student assistants gain valuable experience. The quality of student assistants needs to be high, therefore we want to implement better training for beginning student assistants.

Examining through feedback

Students should learn courses, not exams. However, the assessment is an integral part of the study program for students. By adopting a diversifying blend of assessment methods like essays, presentations, practicals or midterms, it can make a positive and significant impact on students. The diversification method may allow a broader range of students to show their abilities. To put this into practice, Lijst Calimero wants to evaluate and use online methods such as Peerceptiv, if proven it raises the quality of their education, which gives students the ability to give feedback on each other. Furthermore, there should always be the opportunity for students to get an elaboration on the feedback they have received from teachers, by for example visiting them in office hours.

Internationalization in education

In a globalized world, students should be prepared to work in an international and intercultural environment. The university should adapt and integrate different scholars, students, schools of thought and ways of research in its curricula in a way that improves the quality of education. Internationalizing has many aspects, and is always a means, never an end.

English courses and programmes

The UG is becoming an international university where diverse classrooms and the proficient use of English have become the norm. There has been a recent trend on “Anglicised” education, however, Lijst Calimero finds that not all courses at the UG could be translated to English. A careful assessment should be applied in the transition to the English language. The process of internationalizing a course should only be implemented if it increases the quality of the course. If there is no clear benefit, faculty councils, in conjunction with programme committees, should have the option to appeal against the anglicisation of a study.

English level of teachers

In order to give efficient classes, all teachers should have an appropriate level of English. The University is obliged to deliver good quality, which also covers the English level of the teachers. All classes taught in English should be given by a teacher who has a proficient level of English fluency, at least a C1, or more preferably C2 level. For the teachers who have not accomplished this level yet, the University of Groningen should maintain free English courses for teachers to reach C1 level, preferably C2 level, by 2022.

International classroom

The diversification of the UG can bring tremendous benefits for students. An intercultural discussion and incorporating different schools of thought can increase the quality of education. Lijst Calimero sees many benefits in the internationalization of a classroom, while also supporting the International Classroom project, if applicable to the programme.

Free Language Courses

In order to achieve integration between Dutch and International students, Lijst Calimero believes that internationals should receive the opportunity to follow free Dutch courses until at least the B2 level. Additionally, this provides internationals with the opportunity to find a job in the Netherlands in the future and it keeps academic expertise in the Netherlands.

Accessible education

A good degree and quality education should be available for everyone. It is absurd that certain courses or (master-) programmes are not available for students who are not high-performers. Lijst Calimero believes the admission requirements for excellence education should be focused on the student’s motivation.

Honours Programme

The fact that students can enjoy an interdisciplinary education with the Honours Programme is an extraordinary opportunity. Unfortunately, the dropout rate of the programme is significantly high. Therefore, the Honours Programme should be critically assessed and restructured according to the feedback received. We believe the programme should be challenging and should add value to students’ career. The opportunity to enjoy interdisciplinary extracurricular education should be open for everybody who is motivated. We propose to restructure the Honours College Programme as a program for all motivated students instead of students who receive high grades during their courses. Lijst Calimero believes it should be easy accessible interdisciplinary education for every student for extra ECTS who is interested.

Open bachelor courses to master students

Current master students are limited in the number of interdisciplinary courses, fitted to their curriculum, they can take. Even though masters are guiding students towards a particular specialization, they should be able to take courses at other faculties. The work field is becoming more diverse and the university should provide students with the possibility to grow outside of their field. Lijst Calimero wants to strive for more opportunities to expand your interest, even if you are in a master programme. Lijst Calimero proposes to open all bachelor courses to master students to let them diversify in their interests, next to following their master programme.

Bursary student experiment

Bursary students are introduced to increase the research output and reach the labour market with extra research capabilities. In return, these students were not obliged to give lectures and start researching in a topic of their interest. As seen in the evaluation, many of these students are dissatisfied with their role in the university since they do not have any freedom to write their own research proposals and demand more social security and training in educational activities. Since the objectives of this bursary experiment are not met, Lijst Calimero does not see added value in this experiment. Therefore, we will vote to discontinue this project.

The implications of the Committee-van Rijn

The committee-van Rijn is responsible for revising the financing of our higher education. The committee has a plan to give more money to the Technical Universities, which means the budget of broad universities, like the UG, will suffer high budget cuts. The majority of these cuts will be in the alpha: arts, law, philosophy, behavioural sciences, theology, economics & business, & gamma faculties: medical sciences, spatial sciences, which already suffer from slim budgets and high working pressure. Lijst Calimero therefore believes that the University of Groningen should speak out against cuts in these faculties and recognize other means in which these faculties could be supported in case these budget-cuts become clear at the end of April/the beginning of May 2019. Additionally, the whole academic community should unite to ask for additional funding instead of allocated funding. We should not have to divide poverty.