MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Summer School was attended by more than two hundred participants last year. “A record in our recent history,” says Annemarijn Weber. While everything had to be online because of the Covid-19 pandemic and they could only offer a small selection of their courses. There will be a repeat this autumn; not under the name Autumn School, but Maastricht Online Campus.
More than fifty courses were planned for the summer of 2020. But then we had Covid-19 and everything had to be put online. “This meant that part of what we had to offer had to be cancelled. Take the MRI course or the Dutch Journalistiek en Effectief Schrijven by Observant, which demand that people are physically present,” says Annemarijn Weber. There were a few lecturers who told us that they didn’t have enough time to revamp the course into an attractive online package. Other lecturers were to give several courses. “To those we said: take one, because that will use up plenty of energy and time.”
The Maastricht Summer School, founded in 2012, presents a varied selection of courses at different university locations every summer. From courses in the field of Social Sciences and Data Sciences to Media, Economics and Politics. Students and others who are interested can enrol and travel to Maastricht for a period of a few days or as much as three weeks. The Summer School is just as much getting to know the Maastricht culture and environment, says Weber.
Travelling was no longer required this year. This meant that there were no additional costs of airline tickets and hotel rooms. Weber knows that this was something that gave some participants an extra nudge. Certainly if they were from far. “We counted 46 nationalities.”
The number of UM students (43) who registered, was also much higher than other years. “Some students had to end their work placements prematurely and thus missed a number of ECTS. Summer School was a great solution.” And according to Weber, a course such as Data Analytics in R (a programming language) perfectly fills the ‘gap’ that students from various study programmes experience after their bachelor’s. “They increase their knowledge of data analysis and programming before they start on a master’s.”
The Summer School organisation will continue under the name of Maastricht Online Campus in the months of October, November and December. It will still be online. “We realise all too well that people will be much busier then. Students and others will have picked up their ‘normal’ lives again and can’t just take three weeks off. Therefore we have adapted the format slightly. Intensive (full-time) courses of two weeks, for example, will now be spread over a number of successive weekends, weeks or even months.” This time, they also thought of PhD candidates, with courses such as Research Proposal Writing and Scientific Data Visualization and Technical Writing.