Education in the academic year 2020-21 at Ghent University

UGent community: back on campus as much as possible

Education at Ghent University changed suddenly and dramatically in March 2020.  We have learned a lot in recent months, including that we enjoy working and learning together. After all, we have experienced what we miss when we cannot meet each other -students, teachers, staff- on campus.

This will therefore be one of the most important objectives for education at Ghent University in the academic year 2020-21. From the start of the academic year, we want to continue to form the Ghent University community, as much as possible back on campus in Ghent and Kortrijk, supplemented with online education. Of course, this goes hand in hand with guaranteeing everyone's safety and realizing quality education.

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In 2020-21, Ghent University is fully committed to activating education with a well-considered and well-coordinated mix of on-campus and online education.

In doing so, students will work actively with the learning content, both individually and in interaction with each other and with the lecturers.

All on-campus education will be activating and therefore offers added value for deepening the subject matter and for realising competences that cannot or are difficult to achieve online through collaboration, discussion, mutual communication, presentation, etc. The basic principle is also that internships, practicals, and research in the framework of Bachelor's and Master's dissertations will continue as planned. The practicals, labs, exercises and seminars therefore take place as much as possible on campus and are given priority when allocating the available space in our buildings.

Student-centred

In organizing education for next academic year, forming a community, promoting interaction and social contact between students and providing structure are important goals.

In order to achieve this, we are freeing up extra classrooms at Ghent University where students can work and study together. In addition, we will also make extra external locations available to students that will serve as study and teaching space. In this way we expand the capacity so that students can still be present on campus as much as possible while observing the distance rules. We offer students guidance and structure by working with fixed timetables in which both on-campus and online educational activities are scheduled.

 

Those who come to study at Ghent University for the first time, such as first generation students, students in linking programmes and new international students, receive our extra attention and care. Students in the first bachelor year will be divided into smaller study groups. Students within the same study group will be taught together more often. Each study group will have its own StudyCoach: a personal tutor and mentor who will help students with all their questions.

For programmes with little practical experience, where there is less opportunity to meet each other in small groups on campus, UGent provides a permanent study place for these study groups, the Study-OO (Study Online On Campus), where people can study together at fixed times. Here, students from the first bachelor year can take interactive online lessons together, and work together on assignments, exercises, and preparations. They will also receive coaching and possibly take evaluations or exams there.

 

For students who are new to Ghent University, special attention will be paid to the starting weeks of the academic year 2020-21. We will provide a warm welcome with on-campus activities so that students can get to know each other, get to know the university, be offered opportunities for remediation and be informed about the approach within the courses. For older students, too, courses can incorporate certain elements of transition or preparation. This gives all students opportunities to develop their talents in our inclusive educational and study environment.

 

We want to give student life plenty of opportunities in consultation with the student organizations and our student facilities department. The university's homes are already opening under a number of additional conditions and the private room market is also making the necessary preparations. The choice to make maximum use of on-campus education and to get a place as a student to develop, feel at home and - in good but also bad days - be able to fall back on fellow students, remain good reasons to rent a room.

Internationalisation, also in 2020-21

Internationalisation remains an important strategic educational objective next academic year. Whenever mobility is possible, we want to facilitate this for Ghent University students and teachers as well as for foreign students and teachers. However, it is already clear that not all physical student and teacher mobility will be possible. This means that it is important that faculties, study programmes and lecturers focus on alternative forms of internationalisation in their education during the academic year 2020-21.  In this way, we want to continue to offer opportunities to all Ghent University students to acquire international and intercultural competences. This will mainly be done through more internationalisation@home initiatives, in particular through online collaboration with the various foreign partners of Ghent University (from opening/sharing each other's offerings to setting up joint online educational activities). Our English-taught study programmes may opt to work fully online for the first few months and only switch to on-campus at a later date.

Study programmes and lecturers steering the process

Faculties, programmes and lecturers are best placed to make decisions and choices about the layout of the academic year, the design of the study programmes and the design of the courses with the associated examinations and evaluations.

 

All chairpersons of the study programme committees were informed about the Ghent University approach for the academic year 2020-21 in the week of June 15. In the week of June 22, the internal deliberations within the study programme committees start with the lecturers involved and all others involved in the education. In determining the study programme's approach, full account is taken of everyone's ability (workload of employees; study load of students) and the university's other core tasks. Student representatives will also be actively involved in the design of education in 2020-21. After all, Ghent University attaches great importance to student participation.

 

Support of individual instructors and training committees is central to this. On June 22, Educational Tips 2.0 was launched with hands-on tips and tricks, concrete information about online forms of education and evaluation and digital tools, inspiring examples, and so on. The broad support provided for this process of change will also get underway. We will focus on a far-reaching faculty ánd central cooperation for both didactic and technical support. We are also working on more and better performing online tools (for lessons and evaluations), providing more recording facilities and are making blueprints available.

More information

- If you still have questions: consult the FAQ page for students

- New bachelor students of Ghent University can find all the information at: https://www.ugent.be/infodagen.

- Lecturers and other staff involved in education are referred to Educational Tips 2.0 for more information.