Welcome to Wittenborg Online, the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment of

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences!

Online Education & Support System for Hybrid Teaching and Learning in Our Bachelor and Master Degree Programmes.

Wittenborg Online News!

Even on a Shoestring Budget, Starting a Business in the Netherlands is Possible, says Those Who Did It

by Wittenborg News -

Even on a Shoestring Budget, Starting a Business in the Netherlands is Possible, says Those Who Did It

https://www.wittenborg.eu/even-shoestring-budget-starting-business-netherlands-possible-says-those-who-did-it.htm

Wittenborg Hosts Webinar for Students on Starting a Business in the Netherlands

Wittenborg Hosts Webinar for Students on Starting a Business in the Netherlands

If you are an international student or newly graduated, starting a business in the Netherlands offers an alternative to searching for a job. This option was unpacked in a recent webinar hosted by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences for current and prospective students. Many of them already has lots of business ideas. The webinar was facilitated by Yanti Setiawan, Wittenborg's Manager Admissions & External Relations, who presented the basics of registering a business as well as other howto's  and pitfalls to look out for.

The Dutch government has made entrepreneurship relatively easy. Did you know for instance, that you can register a business at the Chamber of Commerce for a mere €51,30? Wittenborg invited current international student, Bishal Bhandari, to share his experience of running a business as photographer, videographer and graphic designer. Also invited was Wittenborg alumnus, Anesca Smith, whose company African Design Collective aims to connect African designers and makers with global buyers.

Dealing with the Paperwork

Setiawan ran through the different legal forms of businesses in the Netherlands, the  importance of choosing a name and ensuring it has not been taken. In response to how he keeps his paper work in order, Bhandari shared that at the start he used the services of an accountant, but soon realized that submitting your tax returns quarterly as a sole proprietorship is less intimidating than it sounds and thus he now files it himself.

As someone who provides a service, as oppose to a product, Bhandari said he benefitted a lot from word-of-mouth when promoting his business. Even Wittenborg regularly commissions him to make videos of its events.

A Hobby Turned into a Business

Smith sells her products in various brick-and-mortar shops in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as having an online presence. "What started out as a hobby, turned into a more serious business for me by 2019, albeit on a shoestring budget," Smith said. "After scouting some products while on a holiday in South Africa, I gradually started selling more merchandise online as well as in a concept store in Nijmegen, a city in the east of the Netherlands. More shop-agreements followed with our products now being sold in Leiden, The Hague, Rotterdam and Ghent, Belgium. I also do a lot of sales on Instagram. Social media is a cheap, easy way of promoting your products – especially when you are just starting out."

She shared how importing products from Africa became more complicated during COVID-19, with more expensive and longer shipping times, as well as how many of the company's suppliers in Africa ran into trouble as the pandemic raged on.

Navigating Cultural Differences

Asked about how she navigates cultural differences, Smith said she learned that the Dutch customer on holiday in Africa, or Asia, is a different type of buyer in the Netherlands. "Your products have to fit seamlessly into their homes or wardrobes. When I am in the physical shops, I spent a lot of time connecting with customers, learning from them and telling the story behind my brand or a product. Connecting also means a lot of listening, not just talking non-stop. Good communication skills is a real asset in business."

Many of the prospective students who logged in for the webinar already has a product or service in their home country and had questions about the Dutch market. Smith advised them to connect with someone who is already familiar with how businesses are conducted in the Netherlands, like a mentor or coach such as provided by non-profit organisation Qredits or Stichting Ondernemersklankbord for a small fee.

WUP 24/1/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

Sustainable Tourism Management – Lessons from Kenya

by Wittenborg News -

Sustainable Tourism Management – Lessons from Kenya

https://www.wittenborg.eu/sustainable-tourism-management-lessons-kenya.htm
Conservation Specialist Enlightens Wittenborg Students on Value of Involving Local Communities in Conservation Efforts

Conservation Specialist Enlightens Wittenborg Students on Value of Involving Local Communities in Conservation Efforts

Conservation specialist Joshua Wambugu recently shared his expertise with bachelor's degree students at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, drawing their attention to the importance of community-based conservation (CBC) as the road to sustainable tourism development. Even stronger, he argues for putting local community involvement at the centre of conservation.

Wambugu hails from Kenya – East Africa's strongest economy where eco-tourism plays a big part in the country's flourishing service industry. He used that country's conservation efforts as an example. The class he was teaching was on Sustainable Tourism Management to students doing a bachelor's in Hospitality Business Administration.

Wambugu has more than a decade's work experience in sustainable tourism and conservation. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the Marine Animal Ecology Group of  one of the Netherlands' top-ranked institutions, Wageningen University.

Aside from affirming the need to put community involvement at the centre of conservation efforts, Wambugu also emphasised the broad objectives of CBC to enhance wildlife and biodiversity conservation while providing economic incentives for local people. "Their involvement creates a ‘social licence or contract’ in attaining success for conservation projects in terms of local support and trust. The unwritten contract is achieved through a meaningful and trust-based dialogue where locals feel satisfied that their views and expectations are understood and considered. Lack of involvement and ineffective relationship means the success may be compromised.

"In other words, future attempts may encounter resistance or not be accepted at all. Communities have a crucial role to play in biodiversity conservation simply because communities are the hosts (key connecting stakeholders) and custodians of the natural resources. It also speaks to local knowledge (the value of indigenous knowledge), beneficiaries (sustainable use), stewards, and victims (of negative environmental impact)."

Coral reefs are widespread along the east African coast and Seychelle islands. Four years ago, coral reef along the Kenyan coastline was almost totally destroyed in some areas. Rising sea temperatures had triggered devastating bleaching episodes for the fourth time in less than two decades, and with the whitening of coral came a dwindling of marine life. Overfishing only exacerbated the problem.

That was until the Kenyan government started working with local communities to rehabilitate degraded coral reefs. Among the areas targeted was Wasini Island, a tiny strip of land off Kenya’s south-east coast where the initiative was led by women on the island. The results have been astoundingly successful.

As a PhD candidate, Wambugu's research will specifically focus on socio-economic and ecological impacts and potential sustainable livelihoods from the coral reef restoration taking into account the perceptions and attitudes of local communities, tourism, technology (coral reef restoration) and protected marine areas.

WUP 22/1/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press


Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

by Wittenborg News -

Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

After Studying Online for Months in Home Country, Master's Student Finally Makes It to Netherlands

A master's student at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, hailed in her home country of Iran for her portraits of Down syndrome children, hopes to continue with her art of those on the fringes of society now that she is studying in the Netherlands.

Farnoosh Dabirimovahed came to the Netherlands in October of 2020 to continue her studies at Wittenborg's campus in Apeldoorn after already starting online in May of that year. She is doing an MBA in Hospitality Management. Before moving abroad, Dabirimovahed was director of the language department at a large petrochemical concern in Iran and an English teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in English translation – a handy qualification that she uses to teach English online while COVID-19 is keeping many people around the world indoors at the moment.

Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

Dabirimovahed, who has five exhibitions under her belt, started drawing portraits of Down syndrome children a few years ago. She was taken by surprise when she realised how touched people were and all her work quickly sold out.

"I actually under-priced them in the beginning because I was not sure how they would be received. Many of my clients were doctors and medical staff. When I was still a little girl, I would walk home from school and we would pass an institute for Down syndrome children, so I went to that same institute to take photos of my subjects and then draw them."

Capturing the facial features of Down syndrome and representing them in a respectful manner, bringing joy to those who see her art is something she loves. In Iran, she donated all the profit she made from her drawings back to fund the Down syndrome community, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. "When I was working as a director, my art had to make way for that, but now I hope to continue it here in the Netherlands."

Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

Why did she leave her high-profile job in Iran to be a student in the Netherlands? "I always wanted to continue with my studies. The inspiration came from the language students I taught back in Iran – many of them wanted to work in the tourism and hospitality industry and that was how the seed was planted. I wanted to learn more about management."

One of the reasons she chose Wittenborg was because of its flexible entry system. "There are several opportunities per year to start with your studies because of the block system here at Wittenborg. Initially, I wanted to come in February 2020, but it was easy to switch to May."

Artist Hailed for Portraits of Down Syndrome Children Now MBA Student at Wittenborg

Because of corona-regulations, she has not been able to see as much of what the country has to offer as she would have liked, but has already made a couple of friends and even dined with the Dutch family of a new friend.

Dabirimovahed is not sure what she wants to do after graduating. "My focus is now on my studies and I try not to look too much into the future. Maybe I'll go back to Iran, or maybe I'll stay in the Netherlands."

WUP 20/1/2021
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content

"The Good News is that Wittenborg is Now Offering its Own MSc Programmes"

by Wittenborg News -

"The Good News is that Wittenborg is Now Offering its Own MSc Programmes"


"The Good News is that Wittenborg is Now Offering its Own MSc Programmes"

End of an Era: Brexit Spells End of Wittenborg's Teaching Collaboration with UK Partner University of Brighton

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' long-standing delivery partnership with the University of Brighton in the UK is coming to an end. Wittenborg's President, Peter Birdsall, has indicated that the partnership, of joint programme delivery, has become unsustainable as a result of Brexit.  

Birdsall, said in a statement that as a result of Brexit the "difficulties and administration of running jointly delivered programmes in the Netherlands are too great for the relationship to remain a success".  

The good news is that Wittenborg is now offering its own Master of Science (MSc) degree programme called a Master of Business Management, also specialised in the 4 areas that the 'Brighton degrees' have been focussed on: hospitality, tourism, events and sports business. The MBM programme is accredited by the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO), and also offers 4 pathways in  international business.

For a long time, it has been uncertain how Brexit would affect Wittenborg's partnership with Brighton, but clarity on the matter was given on Friday. "The ending of this partnership for delivery of programmes in the Netherlands will not affect the development of Wittenborg or its students and staff in any significant way," Birdsall assured stakeholders.

"The Good News is that Wittenborg is Now Offering its Own MSc Programmes"

Many highlights and successes

"The partnership lasted for a long period of time and had many enjoyable and successful moments. Wittenborg is glad to say that many of the teaching staff involved in the programmes from the University of Brighton have stayed in touch and will continue to do so."

Wittenborg has been working with the University of Brighton since 2009 – it began with the opportunity for Wittenborg students to go to the UK and complete a top-up degree in hospitality as part of the so-called EuroBA Consortium programme.

Experience with Brighton invaluable to Wittenborg's own development

From 2012, Brighton offered MSc programmes in hospitality, tourism, event management and later sports business at the Wittenborg locations in Apeldoorn. "Although the degrees were fully University of Brighton master's degrees, they were jointly taught and delivered together with Wittenborg teaching staff," Birdsall said.

"The experience that Wittenborg built up during the following years proved invaluable when it came to the creation and accreditation of its own master of business administration programmes, and most recently master of business management programmes leading to an MSc."

In the years after 2016, Brighton and Wittenborg offered bachelor's top-up programmes in the Netherlands. In Apeldoorn, students were able to study a top-up in hospitality management, which was integrated into Wittenborg’s own bachelor's programme and lead to a double degree. The Amsterdam campus offered a double degree in entrepreneurship and small business (EBA) and a bachelor's in business leading to a BSc from Brighton.

The double degree in Amsterdam will still see the top-up year being offered by Brighton for the current cohort and the two years of students that have already been registered at Wittenborg on this track. After current students, the programme will close and no new students are being admitted to the double degree. Wittenborg will continue to expand its own programmes in Amsterdam according to its development there.

Wittenborg offers its own MSc degree programme specialised in hospitality, tourism, events and sports business, accredited by NVAO. Its HBA business administration pathway offers all the bachelor versions of these specialisations.

WUP 18/1/2021
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press


Empathy (in Times of Adversity)

by Wittenborg News -

Empathy (in Times of Adversity)

Empathy (in Times of Adversity)

Empathy - the Zeitgeist of Today

The word ‘empathy’ has become some kind of cultural zeitgeist - which means the spirit or mood of today’s generation, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This common buzzword is often mentioned and discussed in schools, workplaces, even corporate boardrooms and more so now in hospitals and government offices. But what is empathy really and why does it matter?

Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels. Some people consider it as an important pathway to kindness, and kindness is one of the pillars of humanity. How can you be kind to somebody if you do not feel for that person, or you do not experience what that person is going through? Schools across the world are teaching empathy to students and a myriad of research has been carried out to delve deeper into its meaning.

Empathy is climbing in someone's skin and walking around in it

The base of empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s skin and walk around in it. Only then can you feel how that person feels and imagine how that person lives or has lived.  As Atticus Finch said to his daughter, Scout, in the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” This is so true in this modern life where many individuals share their (sad or happy) stories on social media platforms and in return receive criticisms, sarcastic remarks, sniggering, denigrations and derogative comments, instead of empathy and sympathies.  

For many decades, the business world too has been promoting empathy by encouraging companies to be more proactive in ensuring fair trade and stopping labour rights violations and sweatshops in Third World countries where their manufacturing operations are taking place. In recent months, governments all around the world are seeking empathy from citizens, in light of the still-ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, urging them to be more supportive towards measures to help curb the spread or the second wave of the disease.  

In this kind of situation, feeling sympathetic is not enough; we need to have empathy. While sympathy means the feeling of pity or sorrow for someone else, empathy goes deeper. It asks you to understand, share the feelings of another and offer help, even if in the form of words. Sympathising is feeling sorry for the person who is walking in the rain without an umbrella. Empathising is understanding the feeling of that poor person and offering to share an umbrella with him/her.  

We should feel empathetic to families who have suffered pain and loss of their closed ones. We should try to walk in the shoes of healthcare workers who are in the frontline, battling the onset of the disease. We should have considerations for businesses which have closed down. We should understand and even help out friends who have been displaced from their jobs or students whose parents may have lost their jobs and are no longer able to afford to continue their studies. Philosopher Roman Krznaric states in his book that empathy is an ideal (a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence) and it has the power to both transform our lives and lead to significant social change. Scientifically, he said, humans are naturally wired for empathy. But social and political factors put up barriers preventing us from manifesting our empathy. 

Empathy can bring people of different colours, races and religions to a peaceful co-existence

Education, at home, in school and at work, can definitely overcome these barriers. We must teach ourselves and our loved ones to take time to understand those who are unfortunate and try to see things from their perspectives. We should try to broaden our landscape and not just be concerned with our own happiness, wants and achievements. We should try to cultivate empathy in ourselves and reach out to people who are in need. Travelling, reading books, volunteering or even abstaining ourselves from indulging too much in our materialistic lives can greatly improve our understanding of how other people live their lives and see things from their vantage point. These activities can help to decrease prejudice and discrimination and bring us, people of different colours, races and religions, closer to a peaceful co-existence in this small world of ours.

WUP 16/1/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab
© Wittenborg University Press

Related Content

Students Learn about Traits of a Good Business Leader from Expert

by Wittenborg News -

Students Learn about Traits of a Good Business Leader from Expert

https://www.wittenborg.eu/students-learn-about-traits-good-business-leader-expert.htm

Executive Coach, Hamid Safaei, Inspires Students with Business Acumen

Executive Coach, Hamid Safaei, Inspires Students with Business Acumen

Top executive coach Hamid Safaei, who has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies, guest lectured at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences this week, talking to bachelor’s and master’s students about what to consider when designing organisation structures.

Safaei is best known for mentoring on leadership and personal development. In addition, he is the CEO and founder of Aubergini – a new, plant-based food company based in the Netherlands – as well as bestselling author and certified executive coach who helps leaders, senior managers and budding entrepreneurs multiply their results by taking their companies to the next level.

His lecture at Wittenborg was a mixture of personal experience, both on a private and business level, as well as challenging students to examine their own thoughts on the ideal organisational structure. Many cited examples from high-flying companies like Google, WeWork, Amazon, Apple and Netflix.

Safaei, who is originally from Iran, came to the Netherlands 20 years ago, but says it took him 7 years to really feel like the Netherlands was his home. "Every week I planned to pack my bags. Then a switch turned in my mind and I learned to love the place I am in – which is now one of my mottos."

Meet the needs of your employees

Safaei said in deciding the organisational structure you have to meet the needs of the people who work there. "You have to connect the structure with the human element and give people room to develop and exercise a level of freedom. If the structure is too rigid, it will not work. Freedom is the most cherished human value. We die gradually if we don’t like the place where we work. That freedom is very important."

According to Safaei one of the traits of a good leader is that they respect their own time. "It is said of Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and since this week richest man in the world) that if a meeting is not up to his standard, he will get up and leave. You might say that is disrespectful, but that is how leaders think: they respect their time. It is the most expensive asset in anyone's life."

The ability to communicate well is also seen as a premium leadership quality. "You need to talk to people in a way and in a language that they understand and you have to be an inspiring speaker." He also said that for a company to be successful it either has to fulfil a need or satisfy a desire – like in the way Netflix satisfies people's desire for entertainment.

The Trump question

Drawn out for an opinion on the current debate of whether social media companies like Twitter and Facebook did right by banning outgoing US president Donald Trump from their platforms, Safaei said the reasons behind the decision are "probably 100 times more complex than what you or I think". Nonetheless, he said Trump contributed immensely to the growth in popularity of social media platforms like Twitter. "Trump used Twitter to hire and fire people, make statements, speak directly to his followers – thanks to him, Twitter became a more mature and legit source of information."

Safaei is the author of First Class Leadership and Your Journey to Fulfillment.

WUP 13/1/2020
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content

Wittenborg Made Huge Investment in Digital Resources the Past Year

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Made Huge Investment in Digital Resources the Past Year

Wittenborg Made Huge Investment in Digital Resources the Past Year

Centralising Support to Students Key to Online Learning Success, Says Wittenborg President

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has quadrupled its investment in digital resources the past year as the world continues to see a rise in online learning. Since the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 a year ago, the institution has largely see-sawed between virtual and hybrid teaching (a combination of teaching classes online and in-person).

Wittenborg President Peter Birdsall said that although everyone is keen to get back to the classroom,  including students, they do want the option of online learning – even after the pandemic has been brought under control by way of vaccinations.

Nonetheless, he was pleased by the efficiency of Wittenborg's ICT team in responding to the new demands that online learning has placed on them. Along with investing in software, Wittenborg also enlarged the capacity of its human resources to ensure everything runs smoothly.

"The most important thing we have done is to centralise the support mechanism. For instance, the past year we have systematically improved the helpdesk software, so that emails with, say, questions are flagged and automatically sent to the person best suited to respond to them as quickly as possible."

Birdsall told the British weekly Times Higher Education (THE) last year that Wittenborg has set up an around-the-clock helpdesk to answer “every conceivable question” from its 1,200 students and staff, who hail from more than 120 different countries. It was part of a survey the publication did halfway through 2020 to determine how institutions are transitioning to online learning. About 200 university leaders from 53 territories took part in the survey.

Birdsall said already back then that keeping support centralised and coordinated is a proven success. "Answers are provided, even if it means forwarding the question to a teacher, a supervisor, a tutor, a registrar, a visa expert, the housing team or a technical person."

Medicine, engineering and technology hardest to teach online

Most respondents to the survey were content with the way they have handled the switch to online learning. "A full 85 per cent believe that their transition has been successful from a technical point of view," THE reported. The survey indicated that universities found disciplines related to medicine, biology, engineering and technology the hardest to teach online.

WUP 11/1/2020
by Anesca Smith
© Wittenborg University Press

Related Content

Millions Set to Get Vaccinated in the Netherlands in Coming Months, including International Students

by Wittenborg News -

Millions Set to Get Vaccinated in the Netherlands in Coming Months, including International Students

https://www.wittenborg.eu/millions-set-get-vaccinated-netherlands-coming-months-including-international-students.htm

As the Netherlands Start Vaccinating, What does that Mean for Education at Wittenborg?

As the Netherlands Start Vaccinating, What does that Mean for Education at Wittenborg?

Now that the Netherlands has started its vaccination programme, what does that mean for education at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in the coming weeks and in the long-term? A recent survey among students and staff has shown that the majority of them are in favour of taking the vaccine.

Top class healthcare system in the Netherlands

The Dutch government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Wednesday with millions set to get the jab in the next few months. The Netherlands is known for its excellent health care system, consistently ranked highly in Europe (2nd behind Switzerland in 2018), and the government has been meticulous in first setting up a proper roadmap and getting infrastructure in place before embarking on vaccination – even though it meant being the last country in the EU to start. Experts have been quick to point out that its not about how quickly the vaccination programme is started, but how effective and efficient it is.

When will I get my Vaccine?

The first vaccines are being distributed to frontline healthcare workers and those at most risk from a Covid-19 infection. So when will 'ordinary people' get vaccinated? The government is optimistic that those who don't fall in a vulnerable category will get their turn by early Spring – that is to say, in the second quarter of the year. All international students at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences have full Dutch health insurance and will also receive the vaccine as residents. All healthcare in the Netherlands is affordable and private, and Wittenborg arranges healthcare insurance for all its students who require it.

Meanwhile, at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, the past year has seen it switch swiftly and efficiently to online teaching during the first corona wave in March, then to hybrid education at the end of the summer after restrictions were eased. Wittenborg's President, Peter Birdsall, said that although classes are currently offered online again, many students still come to the campus to speak to teachers and use facilities, such as the library.

Students keen to return to class

"In my talks with individual students, it is clear that they are very keen to come back to class. Interestingly, what they don't want, once the spread of COVID-19 has been halted by the vaccine, is a return to a system of compulsory physical attendance for 75% of all classes - that’s what we had until the pandemic. We are quite happy with participation in the hybrid and online lessons so are not planning to re-introduce the 'roll-call'. They want the opportunity to return to class, but it shouldn't be compulsory. They still want the option of online learning, so I think some form of hybrid teaching and learning will remain the 'norm'."

"The majority of our students are international, who study abroad and come for the experience, driven by curiosity and a sense of adventure. They want the full Dutch experience. They want to go to class, interact with fellow students and they want to network in the Netherlands and make friends."

For the coming three weeks most students at Wittenborg will be busy preparing for and taking exams and assessments, as well as doing paper re-writes.

A survey which came out this week has shown that most Dutch people (75%) are now in favour of taking the vaccine. Earlier surveys put the willingness to be vaccinated at 66% and 69%. Wittenborg's own survey among students and staff has shown almost 42% will take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them and a further 25% will "maybe" take it. About 33% do not want the vaccine, with the majority of those indicating they have worries about possible side-effects.

WUP 9/1/2021
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Erasmus+ 'Eco-Systems of Open Science Schooling' Project is Officially Open

by Wittenborg News -

Erasmus+ 'Eco-Systems of Open Science Schooling' Project is Officially Open

2-year Erasmus+ Project Receives Grant from EU

Erasmus+ 'Eco-Systems of Open Science Schooling' Project is Officially Open-1Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been awarded the task by the European Commission to head and coordinate research on 'Eco-Systems of Open Science Schooling'. The 2-year Erasmus+ project, which received an EU grant of more than EUR 250,000, started in October 2020 and is expected to be completed by September 2022.

The main aim of the project is to encourage “open schooling” where schools, in cooperation with other stakeholders, become an agent of community well-being. According to Commission 2015, Science Education for Responsible Citizenship, families are encouraged to become real partners in school life and activities, while professionals from enterprises, civil and wider society should be actively involved in bringing real-life projects into the classrooms. To make open science schooling a reality, the Commission recommends schools have "permanent and sustainable access to real-life and real-time science resources (locally and globally) for students and teachers to tap into". This works if the agents in the eco-systems make available the basic resources, infrastructures and collaboration to schools and students to help them conduct and accomplish science missions.

2-year Erasmus+ Project Receives Grant from EU

A more open, exciting and stimulating way of learning science

The project concept is built on the invaluable lessons learned from the 30-month Open Science Schooling Erasmus+ Schools project, which was coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland. It has been proven that Open Science Schooling is robust and more appealing compared to traditional science teaching, and it offers students a much more open, exciting and stimulating way of learning science.

Led by its CEO, Maggie Feng, and supported by Professor Dadi Chen and Hanna Abdelwahab, Wittenborg will liaise with 50 secondary school students working through a total of 20 science missions in eight participating countries. The partners involved in this project are Itä-Suomen Yliopisto (University of Eastern Finland), Liceum Ogólnokształcące z Oddziałami Dwujęzycznymi im. Adama Mickiewicza (Poland), Pasvalio Levens Pagrindine Mokykla (Lithuania), Scoala Gimnaziala Gheorghe Titeica (Romania), Eelazig Doga Anadolu Lisesi (Elazig Egitimcilik Tic.ve San. A.S) (Turkey), and Working with Europe/Treballant amb Europa Associació (Spain).

2-year Erasmus+ Project Receives Grant from EU

Students enthusiastic to collaborate with peers from partner schools

The two-day virtual kick-off meeting was held on 17th and 18th December, 2020. During the first day, Feng, together with Calkin Suero Montero, a knowledge expert from the University of Eastern Finland, and Mireia Masgrau, a grant application specialist based in Spain, extended a warm welcome to the respective partner schools’ coordinators, school managers, science teachers and students who were present. Masgrau impressed on the participants that there is a need to shift the mindset of teachers, schools and society, to change the way science is being taught to youngsters of this new generation in order to keep their interest, curiosity and engagement alive.

Montero, when commenting on the brainstorming sessions for a suitable logo for the project, emphasised that science learning should not be a closed box, but instead should involve collaboration and cooperation with external partners, organisations and every agent in the eco-systems. Excitement could be felt in the air during the kick-off sessions and the students who were present expressed their interest and enthusiasm to start their project and to collaborate with their peers from the other countries.

WUP 7/1/2020
By Hanna Abdelwahab
© Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Research Confirms Efficacy of Homework Support

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Research Confirms Efficacy of Homework Support

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-research-confirms-efficacy-homework-support.htm
Interesting Business Case Study for Wittenborg Students

Wittenborg Research Confirms Efficacy of Homework Support

Wittenborg's campus in Amsterdam was recently commissioned to investigate the effect of a homework support programme on the academic performance of schoolchildren in G Noord, statistically one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam. (Read the previous article here). Buurt Talent Ontwikkeling (BTO), a social enterprise, provides homework support to pupils in Amsterdam Southeast whose parents lack financial resources or skills. BTO encompasses the spirit of vision-driven social entrepreneurship by providing a platform for youth talent development. This made it an interesting business case study for Wittenborg students.

The research was led by Senior Lecturers Amy Abdou, Dr Dadi Chen and Andreas Ooijer. Students from Wittenborg's Amsterdam campus were also involved in the research design, literature review, interview process and data analysis. The research findings confirmed the efficacy of the homework support given by BTO. By measuring the pre- and post-study advice of pupils exiting primary education, the team was able to correlate participation in the BTO programme with a rise in final 'studie advice', the recommendations for a pupil's next step for secondary school. The findings also revealed that BTO pupils are more likely to receive recommendations for Senior General Secondary Education (HAVO) or Pre-University Education (VWO) compared to the average student in the neighbourhood.

BTO programme turns students' weaknesses into strengths

Commenting on her participation in the research, Soliendley Everett, a third-year Entrepreneurial Business Administration (EBA) student, said, “The reason why I wanted to help evaluate the BTO programme is to maintain this programme for the future multicultural generation. It is a unique concept that helps children from different backgrounds and cultures to develop their weaknesses into strengths, not only at an academic level, but also on a personal level."

Reflecting that the problems these children face is something that she is familiar with because of her own cultural background, Everett said that being part of the research was a great experience for her. She had had the opportunity to interview several of the children that are attending the programme and ex-participants, and some of them, according to her, have left her speechless. "I was amazed how these 10-12 year-olds have a clear view of what career path they want to follow."

Where you come from does not define where you are going to end up in the future

Everett is excited about starting her work placement at Stichting Ala Kondre Multicutureel Centrum, which is where BTO is located. She said that they provide her with the opportunity to not only give back to the community of Amsterdam Southeast that has been part of her life the last two years, but it also allows her to make a potential difference in these children's lives. Everett strongly believes that where you come from does not define where you are going to end up in the future. "You have your own future in your own hands. It all depends on hard work and what you put in to overcome the limitations and obstacles you come across along the road towards achieving your goals." To her, BTO is a perfect example of an organisation that shows these children that, with hard work, they can achieve great things.

Lily Seijffert, also a third-year EBA student at Wittenborg Amsterdam who participated in the data collection agrees: “I would like to give the children in this community a better future and hopefully let the programme continue or grow. I learned from the interviews that parents are incredibly grateful. This was very fulfilling to hear.”

As a business university with a highly diverse international student body that focuses on social entrepreneurship, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is uniquely positioned to become a bridge in the transfer of academic research and knowledge to regional educational institutions. The outcome of this research will be presented next year at Spellman College as part of a series of guest lectures. Amy Abdou, Senior Lecturer at Wittenborg, has been invited to deliver a lecture during a political science research seminar. Students who took part in this research project are also invited to participate in a session.

WUP 5/7/2020
By Hanna Abdelwahab, Amy Abdou and Soliendley Everett
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content
Older topics...