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Online classes for law first-years cancelled

Recordings of a class should be used as a supplement for that class and not as a substitute for attending class.

Online classes for law first-years cancelled

First-year students of the Dutch law bachelor will no longer be able to rewatch their classes online. As of September the faculty has disabled this option.
By Giulia Fabrizi / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The change appears to stem from one important standpoint: the law faculty wants to be an ‘on-campus faculty’; one where students and lecturers are physically present. ‘We kept seeing that students were using online classes to substitute actually going to class, rather than using them as a supplementary resource’, says Jaap Dijkstra, the faculty’s director of education.

Dijkstra says the unwanted use of online classes was confirmed through course evaluations and by the committee that examined the faculty’s digital policies and online courses last year. ‘Among other things this showed that the output of our English bachelor programme was higher, while the students there never had access to online classes.’

Dijkstra doesn’t mean to say that the lack of online classes is a direct link to the English bachelor’s higher output, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the students. ‘And it is really important to us that students develop the right attitude towards their studies from the get-go. In this way we hope they’ll experience that regular attendance will help them to better understand the material and it will make their studies more enjoyable.’

Bachelor versus master

Whether the policy will be applied to more senior students is still being discussed, Dijkstra says. ‘The faculty council agreed on what to do for the first-year students, but we’re still divided on the other years.’ Some students, like the ones in a transition programme to a fiscal law masters, can’t do without online classes.

‘And we value the opportunity for students to gain proper law experience during their studies’, says Dijkstra. Senior students who have the opportunity to do an internship, but also have to take a class, should be able to do so. ‘I personally think there’s a big difference between the bachelor and the master programmes’, Dijkstra adds. ‘For now, we’re implementing this rule for the first year to see how it works.’

18 September 2019 | 18-9-2019, 16:39
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