Being an Online Student at the TU Delft - Maarten Baan

Maarten Baan
The Netherlands

"The thing I like most about studying online is that you can decide for yourself when to take lectures and when to work.”

For many working professionals, furthering their education can be a challenging task. However, TU Delft now offers professionals the opportunity to build new professional knowledge and skills through a portfolio of short certified online courses.

The faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of TU Delft is the first faculty to offer a full online degree, next to providing several MOOCs and individual online MSc level courses. The MSc program in Water Management is offered online and gives a significant level of flexibility to students who would like to pursue a degree as well as to professionals who are looking for new ways to enhance their skills base or for a knowledge refresh. How can online learning be compared with traditional classroom learning? And how does the lecturer manage to run an online classroom successfully?

Online MSc degree

Maarten Baan is one of the online MSc students of TU Delft. After completing his bachelor of science in his home province of Enschede in the Netherlands, Maarten wanted to further his education in water treatment. However, because he was working at the time, he needed to find something either closer to home or a course online. His quest led him to Delft University of Technology’s massive open online courses (MOOC) on Water Treatment, after which he continued and completed an full online Master of Science degree at TU Delft.

Combine with work

According to Maarten, the online course gave him the flexibility he needed: “I decided to take an online Masters because I could combine this with work. The thing I like most about studying online is that you can decide for yourself when to take lectures and when to work”. Maarten was able to collaborate and communicate with other learners, especially during the MOOCs. According to Baan, digital communication with the lecturers was at times more efficient: “The lecturers supported me most of the time by email – and they are usually quite fast, so it’s not like you have to wait the next day to have an answer. When you study online, they help you with the things you need."

Comfortable learning environment

Many TU Delft’s lecturers, who are leaders in their fields, are innovating and developing online courses with the aim of creating a comfortable learning environment for people from different background and cultures. “At TU Delft we value student-instructor contact time,” says Calvin Rans, lecturer in the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. “So in online courses, we make sure that there is access to qualified teachers, to help you with your course. At its core, learning in a university is not getting a piece of paper to help you get a degree, it’s about teaching students to think in a very specific way.”

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