MAASTRICHT. The two large tents at the back of the Turn hall on the Grote Gracht that have served as extra classrooms since the beginning of this academic year, are no longer used for this purpose on a regular basis, says Cerien Streefland, director of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. The walls of the tents are too thin to be used for hybrid education. One of the two now serves as a place to study with 25 study spaces.
The largest tent (25 by 15 metres) can accommodate 55 students in COVID-19-proof fashion, the second (15 by 15 metres) has room for 40 students. The floors have been insulated, there is heating, a ventilation system, two fibre-optic cables connecting them with the Turn hall so that a PowerPoint presentation can also be watched in the tent.
The tents were to alleviate the shortage of well-ventilated classrooms and would mainly be used for groups of master’s students who in principle have their tutorial group meetings on the campus. The bachelor’s student groups, on the other hand, have their PBL groups online.
It now appears that in practice it is almost impossible to get an entire tutorial group together on campus, says Streefland. “There are always some who are online. And if it is too windy or it is raining, they often can’t hear each other properly. It is too noisy. We have now moved to Tapijn.”
The faculty is holding on to one of the tents in case of an “emergency”, 25 study spaces have been set up in the other tent. So, Streefland does not want to speak of a financial loss. At the same time, it is not busy yet in the tent with the study spaces, but that is because there are not many students on campus, says the director.