Computer Science Student at RWTH Aachen UniversityCopyright: © RWTH Aachen
After the pandemic is over, should we return to having a full program of face-to-face courses, should we continue only offering online teaching and learning, or should we offer hybrid ways to teach and learn?
I believe that the university should go back to having a program of face-to-face teaching and learning, but I also think that we should benefit from the advantages of a hybrid system. Recordings of classes can be a good aid for us if courses overlap one another, and they can also be used well for revision purposes. Having said that, face-to-face classes are important due to the social contact that they bring with them.
Which teaching and learning formats would you like to see online, and which would you be keen on having in your personal environment?
I would say that it makes more sense for lectures later in the course of study to take place online, as right at the beginning, the students need to talk to each other, exchange ideas and get to know one another. Lab work and any other practical elements really do need to take place face-to-face. I also think that videos would be another excellent way to supplement the regular classes.
Can we organize teaching and learning together with companies? If so, how can this be achieved? Is this something that you would like to see happening?
I wouldn’t be in favor of this, as many companies seek to use such cooperation for advertising purposes. That is something that definitely has no business being in any learning environment.
Let’s turn the clock forward 10 years. Do you think we’ll still need lecturers or do you think that an AI or robot will be enough for teaching and learning?
I believe that modern technology will support teaching and learning in the future, but it will never be able to fully replace the human element.
In the future, lectures should incorporate research and practical elements, regardless of whether they take place face-to-face or virtually. How do you envisage these lectures being carried out?
I believe that the courses of the future should be should be more personal and more interactive. Undergraduate classes can still be used to convey knowledge, but students can gather more experience of their own through internships and the like. This is particularly the case in later semesters.
Industry and society have a range of things that they would like to see universities incorporating in their curricula in the future. Assuming that we don’t want to lengthen the courses of study, we need to think about what we can remove from the courses. Do you have any suggestions?
It is my belief that courses of study currently have a wide range of compulsory modules. If students were permitted to specialize earlier in their studies, there would be more room for the requirements of industry and society.
How can universities become better in multi-disciplinary teaching and learning and how can they help students to think outside the box when it comes to their studies?
Freely selectable credit points and the opportunity to take modules in related disciplines might help the students to see the big picture. It would also be helpful if seminars or internships carried out during the course of study were also in different disciplines.
Here’s a quote from Anant Agarwal (edX): “It’s always fun to dream about the future of universities. But the most important question is: What are the most important facilities for the students?” What’s your take on that?
Students need a well-equipped campus with modern learning facilities that has sufficient capacity to accommodate them all.
Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School asked the following key question during a science event: “How can we create learning environments that enable creative people to meet other like-minded people whom they have not yet met?”
A modern and well-equipped campus is important here as well. If students spend a large amount of time at the university and the university itself is geared to encourage them to do this, it’s almost guaranteed that interesting relationships will be the result.