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The new Blackboard

Brightspace pilots to be launched

As announced previously, Blackboard will be replaced by Brightspace in the academic year of 2018-2019. Starting this February, the Brightspace pilots will be launched in everyday education to test if the new learning environment fits with the wishes of students and teachers.

Original text: Elisa Ros Villarte
Translation: Marit de Vries

The new system has been chosen for its user friendliness, greater compatibility with mobile devices and integration with other systems such as Osiris. Professors will be able to follow a practice course through a digital tutorial named Sandbox during the course of 2018. This tutorial will stay open for use after the implementation of the new system, so that professors can experiment with the software without any risk for the educational content. To make sure the introduction and implementation of Brightspace will run as smoothly as possible, all professors will be following a basic training course as well. Through this course they can also familiarize themselves with the new Learning Management System and discover all of its possibilities and applications. This is beneficial to both professors and students, as all programs and faculties will be working in the same way.

Evidently the introduction of Brightspace is already in full swing. Come February, students will also be able to get a taste of the new program in TvA 1, where help desk staff is at hand to answer any possible questions. 'No doubt there will be some startup problems, but we are putting everything to work to make sure the changeover will run as smoothly as possible', said Daniël Wigboldus, chairman of the Executive Board, last week Monday in his New Year's speech. Hopefully the pilots will indeed be effective in preventing problems before Brightspace is officially introduced.

 

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Final tribute to TvA

Farewell in style

It is only a matter of time before the buildings of the Thomas van Aquinostraat (TvA) will be part of history. Before it will really be gone, students are lucky enough to get a chance to party in this concrete labyrinth at the TvA Tribute on Wednesday, January 17.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Sander Nederveen

There will be a wide range of activities to choose from that evening, including laser gaming, escape rooms, and a silent disco. After years of daydreaming about an event like this, students and staff have finally come together to organize this grand spectacle. 'Back when talks about moving the faculties first began, there were already plans to organize something during the last week', says Bjorn Teeuwen, employee at the Nijmegen School of Management (NSM) and co-organizer of the TvA Tribute. 'Paintball was discussed often, but that would cause too much of a disruption, which is why we have chosen for laser gaming.'

Laser gaming and partying
As TvA 3 and 5 are to be demolished first, the activities will take place there. 'Laser gaming will be done in TvA 5', Teeuwen explains. 'One team gathers in the main hall, the other one at the bridge between Tva 3 and Tva 5, and then they need to find each other from there. Most of the furniture will be gone by that time, but we might put some things in there. When it is all empty it is less fun, because then the hallways will just be long and open.' When students are done playing with their laser guns, they can enjoy themselves in TvA 3 for food, drinks, and other entertainment. 'TvA 3 will be the central location,' Teeuwen says. There will be a bar, a food corner, a mechanical bull, and a live band. 'The intention is to create a festival atmosphere, a bit like the Campusnacht.'

Spectacle for everyone
A lot of students are also involved with the organization of the event. All five study associations from the NSM and three from the Faculty of Social Sciences are participating, as well as Nijmegen Student Sports Council, in light of their lustrum. The students are responsible for a large part of the organization, and they will also help on the evening itself, by taking care of activities such as standing behind the tap or checking tickets. There is also a lot of enthusiasm about the TvA Tribute outside of the faculties involved. Hundreds of people have expressed interest through the Facebook event, and at the first ticket sale last Wednesday, over 150 tickets were sold for laser gaming. 'The maximum number of tickets that we can sell is 400, but then all time slots will be filled with teams of 20', Teeuwen says. The rest of the event will for the most part be freely accessible. Teeuwen hopes it is going to be a university-wide success, so alumni and Radboud-staff are more than welcome.

 

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Animation video on campus renovations

RU presents its renewed campus

Last week Tuesday, the Radboud University (RU) posted an exciting animation video, displaying the changes that will occur on campus following the demolition of the buildings in the Thomas van Aquinostraat.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Marissa Aarts

The video, which includes a catchy tune, shows how the TvA-buildings will be demolished over the course of 2018. After the demolition, a new building for the Faculty of Social Sciences will arise from the dust, which should be ready by 2020. It will be the most sustainable building on campus, equipped with solar panels and geothermal heating, as a result of which it can run on renewable energy. The proceedings will start in February next year, but the first wrecking ball will not hit the gray concrete until the summer. Lampposts, bicycle racks and other street furniture that surround TvA right now will not become museum objects, but will be given a second life on the grounds of the Berchmanianum. This former monastery will also come to serve as a university buidling.

With the closing of the TvA buildings approaching, the relocation of the Nijmegen School of Management to the renewed Gymnasion is also getting closer. The first moving boxes have been brought to the sports center earlier this week, and the new building will be used as of January.

 

 

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Questionnaire on new interior design

Students and staff get to decide Refter's new look

As has been known for some time, The Refter is going to be completely transformed over the course of the upcoming year. To get ideas for the design of the new Refter, the Facilities & Services Department (F&S) is reaching out to Radboud students and staff for help.

Original text: Jean Querelle
Translation: Ramadan Hasani

We already knew that The Refter was going to be remodeled into an actual food court the upcoming year. This way students can easily put together their own meals. Along with those changes, there will be two commercial venues. To give shape to the renovation, F&S wants to take into consideration the opinions of students and staff. 'With a questionnaire we want to gain information from the users of the facilities', says David Niessen, head of the department Retail and Catering of F&S. The questionnaire that F&S has provided for students and staff does not only concern the shape of the chairs and where they will be placed, the design of the menu is also determined by the visitors. 'With the help of mood boards, visitors can get an impression of the atmosphere in the new Refter. We do not know exactly how it will end up looking, but that is why people can choose between the different atmospheres on the mood boards.'

Nevertheless, the actual construction is still not due for some time. 'We have not set an exact date yet but we aim to realize as much as possible in September 2018', Niessen explains. Most of the work will be done during the summer vacation. 'There is also a small reward for the most enthusiastic respondents of the questionnaire.' Participants will get a coffee coupon they can exchange at one of the catering establishments on campus.

 

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Pen and paper switched for laptops

Typing instead of writing

Starting in 2018, the Radboud University (RU) will take a further step in the direction of digitalized education: in February, the RU will start a pilot in which students will no longer be allowed to use pen and paper during their exams, but will be using laptops instead. The aim of this pilot is for teachers to gain experience with this new way of examination, which is going to be definitively launched later in 2018.

Original text: Danique Janssen
Translation: Evelien Müller

Practical considerations
The RU has purchased 578 Chromebooks and has invested in software, Cirrus Assessment, that will allow tests to be taken digitally. The laptops are stored in carts at the Gymnasion, in which they are charged. The carts allow for easy transportation to the location of an exam. 'The battery life of the laptops is 12 hours, so students do not need to worry about their laptops dying during an exam', Jos in den Bosch says, who is the program manager of IT and Education. Even if this were to happen, this would be no reason to panic. 'The software constantly monitors what the student is working on, and directly saves all progress. If something bad were to happen, the students can return to their work on a spare laptop immediately.'

All-round advantages
According to In den Bosch, the initiative offers several advantages. The digitalisation allows for new methods of testing. Furthermore, video and audio fragments can now be used. The RU, furthermore, wants to meet the modern student halfway. 'Students follow seven weeks of classes in which they take notes on their laptops, but they still have to do their exams using pen and paper. They have grown up in a world full of digital tools. A written exam simply does not match their perspective on the world', In den Bosch explains. Teachers will also enjoy the advantages, because the marking of exams will become quicker and more efficient. 'I heard some teachers say that they spend more time trying to decipher handwritings than actually checking the answers. That problem will be solved with this initiative.'

More digitalization
The RU has been working hard on digitalization and improvements in this field for some time now. Earlier this year, all student files were digitalized. Moreover, it was announced that the RU will switch from Blackboard to a new program called Brightspace sometime in 2018. Furthermore, 'testing grounds' for IT and Education have been introduced. These are spaces in which the RU gives people with innovative ideas the opportunity to test them. By switching to laptop exams, the university is making huge advances in the digital era.

 

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