New courses for non-Dutch speaking students will become available, with a mixture of online and live classroom teaching. These courses will be for basic Dutch, providing students with everyday survival phrases.
The Executive Board is sponsoring the courses, so in principle they are free of charge. However, the Language Centre is thinking about asking participants for a small contribution. Manager Ellen Krijnen: “This is to discourage a lackadaisical attitude. The amount has not yet been set but presumably it will be no more than 25 euros.” At the moment, the fee for a basic Dutch course is one hundred euros, and this is also subsidised by the UM. The follow-up courses cost more, 215 euros for fourteen weeks.
The need for Dutch language courses is great. Both last year and this year, there were complaints in the university council about long waiting lists, but according to Krijnen these have largely been eliminated by now. Krijnen: “The thing is that we need at least twelve participants to form a group. As soon as a teacher is available (hired on a freelance basis), we e-mail the applicants a timetable, but then we often find that a number of students cannot make it.” Nevertheless, eleven groups of Germans (for whom learning Dutch is easier) have been running since September, as well as eleven groups of students from elsewhere. New groups are scheduled for November.
The new approach should increase accessibility. The online course can be taken by anybody, at any place, and at any time. The Language Centre expects that about 1,400 students will do these courses, and that half of that number will take the seven-week follow-up course. The latter course is based on blended learning, a mixture of classroom and online teaching. A pilot project of this blended learning course will start in November, after which the first groups will kick off. It is expected that about 600 students will have taken this course by the end of 2011.