Teaching team: Dr. Erin Wilson, Dr. Tina Otten, Linde Draaisma, Henk van Putten
Course: Climate Change, End Times, Sustainability
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Best practice: Preparatory podcasts, real-life discussions in a blended environment
The teaching team of the course “Climate Change, End Times, Sustainability” has received the inaugural UG Best Practice in Teaching & Learning Award 2022. Students called this course “the most interesting course I have ever followed”, and because of the interdisciplinary background of both the teachers and the students, it was named as an “eye-opening course”. Today TAG talks to prof.Dr. Erin Wilson and Linde Draaisma.
“I still consider it one of the best courses I've followed and one that I've not only been able to learn an incredible amount from, but that I've been able to apply to all other courses of my minor as well as to my development in the scope of global health. ”
Quote from an email by a medical student
Good morning, Erin and Linde. Congratulations on this award! What educational innovations are embedded in your course and make it so special?
Our course focuses on climate change and religion in an interdisciplinary setting. The main goal is to discuss with students what the different theological, religious, philosophical and spiritual traditions are with regards to climate change.
During the lockdown of 2020 we were searching for more engaging ways of online teaching (only 30% of the students were showing-up online). We knew students were watching lecture recordings while cooking or walking. We got an idea to create engaging, triggering podcasts to replace the online lectures.
The preparatory podcasts together with the real-life discussions provided an accessible and fun blended learning environment which gave students the tools to start thinking about topics they had never even considered before. We were able to record interviews with scholars from many different disciplines from our faculty, but also from other faculties and even other universities. In our podcasts we tried to discuss questions that would be important for students (based on the experience from the last year).
People often ask how difficult it is to create podcasts. Were you an experienced podcast-makers already?
Not at all! We dived into the online tutorials, listened to popular podcasts and learned it on the fly. We did not aim at radio sound-quality, but focused on educational goals and engaging speakers. Most of the interviews were, actually, edited google-meet recordings.
How important is it for you to work as a team?
I am the course coordinator, but creating a course like this would not be possible without our whole team.. Linde Draaisma made the podcasts possible (all technical aspects and editing). Together with Dr Tina Otten, the three of us managed to lead 12 discussion groups twice a week and Henk van Putten, our Faculty’s IT, Web and Education Coordinator made it work, scheduling all these sessions.
Is this award important for you?
It is extremely important not only for me but for the whole faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. With this award we are conveying the message that we are not just teaching Bible studies (what many people think we do) but have as a faculty a much broader interdisciplinary scope, relevant to contemporary social and political challenges
This award is important because of the jury decision (and recognition) by our peers, but also because students nominated us. We received emails, cards, and even chocolate from students!
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