Before the Christmas break our first “ORAS Comes TU” survey took place. This is a TU-wide student survey we hold three times a year; a different subject each time. In this way we can see where students stand regarding important matters, so we can use this in our policy and the advice we give to the Executive Board of TU Delft. This time the subject was “capacity and lectures.”
TU Delft is struggling with a capacity problem and at the moment the TU Delft is looking for solutions, in which ORAS is actively engaged. Changing lecture times could be a feasible solution for this problem.
The way of lecturing (both the mode and the length) has been the same for a long time. This classic way of teaching is not always effective. Students, for example, regularly lose their attention during lectures or do not even attend lectures at all.
This may partly be due to the students’ concentration curve, which is shorter than the length of the lectures. In addition, the current form of lecturing is very passive. Blended learning, a mixture of classroom and online education, can provide more interactive lectures. An example of this is ‘flipped classroom’, where you first individually watch an online video lecture and then apply the material in a tutorial.
In this context we asked students questions about what they think of the current capacity of lecture halls and format and length of lectures. In total we surveyed 1540 students of all different faculties and phases of study.
From the results we can conclude that on some matters students have a strong opinion, while on others students seem rather divided. Below the results are analysed per subject.
Capacity lecture halls
In general the majority of the students (63%) seems satisfied about the capacity of lecture halls. However, 33% indicates they have skipped a lecture at least once because the lecture hall was too full. ORAS thinks this is unacceptable. We will do our best to help solve this problem in the immediate future.
Solution Capacity Problem
Asked about which solutions for the capacity problem students find acceptable, none of the solutions gained an absolute majority. “I don’t think any changes should be made to the current lecture times” appeared to be the most popular (47%). This means that attention should be paid to the aspirations of students when implementing changes in the lecture times, especially because a measure like introducing evening lectures can only count on the support of a small minority (10%) of the students.
An large majority of the students (86%) indicates that they think the current lecture duration is good. This means that TU Delft should be cautious when implementing changes in the duration of lectures because students do not seem to be in favour of such measures.
Furthermore it is apparent that students are only moderately positive about education innovation. 48% thinks modern technology should be used in education at TU Delft more often and 45% would like to have more interactive education at TU Delft. However a considerable minority (16% in both cases) does not agree with the statements. The rest of the students is neutral towards the statements.
Students seem to be even more divided regarding the questions whether tutorials could be taught by teaching assistants and whether watching a video lecture before a tutorial could be made mandatory; 40% in favour, 30% opposed and 49% in favour, 27% opposed respectively. This means that when implementing changes in our education TU Delft should pay attention to the student perspective in order to ensure sufficient support for such transitions.
Conclusively it is important that when implementing changes to the format and duration of lectures attention should be paid to the student perspective, because students seems to be rather divided on certain matters and do not seem to be in favour of certain changes. This is what ORAS wants to emphasize towards the Executive Board. Regarding the capacity of lecture halls students are generally satisfied, but a considerable portion of the population indicates to have skipped a lecture at least once because the lecture hall was too full. ORAS is going to make a case for this.