A new column on keeping you up-to-date on the changes in education. We will inform you in this column on the improvements made in education. We are selectively breeding the best forms of education for you!
In this column I, Timon van Leeuwen, the commissioner education, will inform you on all the relevant topics being discussed in the StudCie (study committee of Semper Florens) and the OpCie (program committee for the studies of plant sciences).
Crowded rooms and shortage of time
At the beginning of this year, the new extended daytime schedule (EDS) was officially used. We have tried to evaluate the receival of the EDS and looked into prevalent problems concerning the EDS. The receival of the EDS has also been discussed with teachers in the OpCie. The opinions of students and teachers together creates an image of the overall receival and appreciation of the EDS. These opinions were discussed in the OpCie to discover the necessary changes. However, the EDS is a schedule that does not only impact the studies of plant sciences, therefore suggestions for necessary changes in the scheduling have to be done at an University-wide level. Changes in scheduling are a lengthy process and will only commence at the beginning of next academic year or the end of this academic year.
New exam setup in Concepts in Plant Physiology
The BSc course Concepts in Plant Physiology, in the 2nd year 1st period, has changed its exam setup. Previously, the exam of the course was at the end of the period in the exam week. However, the 1st period of the 2nd year is perceived as quite busy, due to the 4 courses in total that are being followed by students. Therefore, the teaching staff of HPP has decided to change the exam setup by splitting the exam into 3 separate exams. In the course there are roughly 3 different topics discussed and now there is an exam on each topic. The separation of the exam lightens the workload for students.
Overall appreciation of the 1st period has improved, due to the new exam setup of Concepts in Plant Physiology. This has been the first academic year the new exam setup was used, therefore we can expect some changes in the exams. An increase in appreciation of the 1st period is very welcome, but we are looking into how we can further improve the appreciation of this period, which is often perceived as busy.
Growth of the bachelor Plant Sciences
The bachelor of Plant Sciences has come a long way since the merger in 2002. At the start of 2002 few students started the bachelor Plant Sciences. A couple of years later in 2019 we can proudly say that the number of Plant Sciences students in the bachelor is at a stable level above the 100 students. This is a magnificent increase in comparison to the start of the bachelor. The bachelor Plant Sciences is perceived by a lot of students as a great study! We think this is partly the reason why the study has grown so much over the years. We are proud to be part of the success of this great study and want to keep improving the study by evaluating the courses.
New course on bioinformatics
We have a new improved bioinformatics course! This academic year the course Introduction to Bioinformatics has been followed for the first time by 3rd year bachelor students in the 1st period. Previously, the course on bioinformatics in the bachelor was Bioinformation Technology. However, this course was not perceived as a good course on bioinformatics. Therefore, the OpCie decided after thorough discussion to drop out of Bioinformation Technology and look into the new course that was being setup Introduction to Bioinformatics.
The new course is more tailor made for Plant Sciences students and can be followed by master students, but must be followed by bachelor students with the major Plant Genomics and Health. Furthermore, the course is a good stepping stone for other bioinformatics courses given at the WUR. As bioinformatics is becoming more important in plant sciences and more students are interested in the topic, this new course is very welcome!