UR | Making going to class after 6 as likeable as possible
Most people must have heard of it by now, TU/e will start making use of evening hours for lectures from quartile 3 and 4 of this academic year. What’s going on?
With the still-increasing number of students at TU/e, schedulers had more and more difficulties finding suitable locations for lectures. The main problem is scheduling groups with 180 students or more. Currently, lecture rooms with this capacity have an occupation of over 90%. This tells us that this problem cannot be solved by simply scheduling differently. An often-heard counterargument is: “But when I walked through the Auditorium this afternoon, most lecture rooms weren’t even full”. Of course it might seem this way, but this is merely because students sometimes just don’t show up for lectures later during the course. Rescheduling all courses after two weeks is not an option, it is very labor-intensive for the schedulers and confusing for students and staff.
Many solutions have been proposed: building more lecture rooms, hiring more teachers, renting external locations etc. Some of these solutions have already been ruled out. Hiring external locations is very expensive, as is building new lecture rooms.
The executive board prefers spending money on more staff. I think this is the right choice. Having more teachers will decrease the workload on staff members. It also allows for education in smaller groups, for which lecture rooms are abundantly available. It could even improve the education! Less students per teacher would result in a more small-scaled situation, something TU/e has always prided herself on. Another possibility is using Auditorium 4 and 5 for lecturing in the afternoon hours. Currently, these rooms are reserved for ceremonies and Groep-één is investigating how often these ceremonies actually take place. If the occupancy is low, this would be an option.
Finally, the way courses are taught should change. The number of large scale lectures per course can be significantly reduced by using modern tools such as web lectures. In this way, the contact hours can be optimized. However, this is not something that can be implemented over night. It requires a mind-shift amongst the teachers, and recording web lectures takes a lot of effort.
These solutions all seem promising and together with other people, we as Groep-één will continue to monitor them and come up with new alternatives to minimize the number of evening lectures. However, for quartile 3 and 4 there is simply no other way around it. There are some mitigating circumstances though. Only a few courses will utilize the 9th and 10th hour so that it is very unlikely that a student will have to spend more than two evenings a week at TU/e. Besides, first year courses are excluded and there will be no evening lectures on Fridays.
Many people are currently looking into other important requirements, such as dining facilities. Student and staff should be able to have a quick and affordable meal before the lectures. Besides, it should be possible to get a good cup of coffee (not from the vending machine). It is with these conditions that going to class after 6 is made as likeable as possible. I hope people will accept the fact that evening lectures are the only option for this academic year and trust that we will continue to look for better alternatives for the future.