Roberto Rocco, Igor Tempels

University lecturers have received Comenius grants to improve education programmes. In Delft, Igor Pessoa and Roberto Rocco received 50.000 Euro.

Liever Nederlands

The Comenius programme was set up by former Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker (2016) to stimulate innovation in education and to start a change in culture within higher education institutions. Many universities prioritise research above education.

TU Delft Architecture lecturers Igor Tempels Moreno Pessoa and Roberto Rocco received one of the 38 Comenius grants worth EUR 50,000.

Their project, Bridging DOCS, is working on connecting online students and students on campus. Tempels and Rocco have noticed that education on campus sometimes lags behind international online courses. They have designed educational experiments that connect international and campus students within the master module Methodology for Urbanism and the MOOC Rethink the City.

“Students behave differently,” explains Igor Pessoa. “The dynamics of interaction online is different to what happens in an auditorium. During a lecture, students won’t raise their hands quickly, but online they react and have much more lively debates. Perhaps because they are partially anonymous.” By involving campus students in online discussions, the lecturers hope to encourage them to participate in the discussion forums.

His colleague Roberto Rocco uses a board game on real estate development in his lectures. Now, he develops an online version of the game together with the TU Delft Gamelab. They still puzzle over the possibilities to accommodate more players than there are available roles (such as inhabitant, neighbours, municipality, and housing corporation).

Another idea is to have online MOOC-students to log in live to a lecture in order to bring more diversity into the auditorium.

Pessoa and Rocco expect to be able to share their experiences by May 2020.

Besides the Teaching Fellow Grant, the Comenius programme also includes 23 Senior Fellow Grants (worth EUR 100.000) and six Leadership Fellow Grants (EUR 250.000).

At the next Comenius Festival on 6 June 2019, the winners will join the recently established Comenius network that has been accommodated by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences KNAW. Members of this young club have either received a Comenius grant, or have been nominated for the Lecturer of the Year election.

Comenius, or Jan Amos Komensky, was a 17th century Moravian philosopher and pedagogue who pleaded for education for everyone, girls and boys from all social backgrounds. He died in Amsterdam in 1670.