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Point 06: Prioritising creativity and innovation in teaching and research

The UvA has taken steps to innovate research and teaching by introducing blended learning, developing a Vision on Teaching and Learning, and setting up a flexible learning pilot.

New Vision on Teaching and Learning

The Vision on Teaching and Learning was updated in 2017. This update was the result of extensive consultations with the UvA community and a close collaboration with the CSR. The Vision on Teaching and Learning incorporates UvA-wide initiatives aimed at further development and innovation of our general and educational policies such as UvA Matching, blended learning, increasing the professionalism of teaching staff, knowledge sharing, outbound mobility and study success 2.0.

This Vision on Teaching and Learning reflects a clear choice for research-intensive education, meaning that research and teaching reinforce each other. As a consequence, both pillars of the university's education policy will be valued and supported equally (see points 07 and 08). 

Blended learning

In October 2015, the Educational Innovation/Blended Learning Task Force issued its Blend IT & Share IT advisory report on implementing blended curricula at the UvA. The key question with regard to blended learning is how new combinations of online and offline learning activities can help improve the quality, flexibility and accessibility of teaching. The report was subsequently distributed within the UvA as a green paper and submitted for comment to the academic community. The report met with an overwhelming response. Based on all of this input, a definitive action plan was drawn up which is currently being implemented. The Student Council has joined the steering committee for educational reform, which oversees the action plan's implementation. 

In spring 2017, the faculties submitted their own blended learning strategy. Many faculties have now taken steps to implement blended learning in their curricula. Most of them organise their own training sessions for lecturers and have appointed technical as well as curriculum support staff. In addition, the UvA established the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, which organises training sessions for lecturers and acts as a networking centre as well as a knowledge bank for the faculties' Teaching Quality and Innovation Officers (TQIs). 

Flexible learning

A flexible learning pilot is running throughout the academic year 2017-2018. Flexible learning gives students more flexibility in structuring their studies, requiring them to pay only for the courses in which they actually enrol. By taking part in the pilot, the Executive Board hopes to be able to accommodate students who are not well-served by the study pace of the fixed full-time curricula. This flexible learning pilot is an initiative of the National Student Union (LSVb) and the outgoing coalition government parties, the VVD and the PvdA. The CSR agreed to the pilot on the condition that the Programme Committees of the programmes in question were also in favour of them.

During the academic year 2017-2018, a total of 238 students are participating in the flexible learning pilot. The Bachelor's programme Economics and Business Administration, the Bachelor's programme Fiscal Economics, and the Master's programmes Educational Sciences and Sociology received more applications than there were places. This pilot will be continued in the academic year 2018-2019, when it will be joined by several Master's programmes.