By Amber Roos
Photo: Emma Kappeyne
— On Friday, April 3, all students were informed that “AUC has decided to extend the period that we teach only online until June 29,” after the Dutch government announced that the partial lockdown of the Netherlands will continue until at least April 28. This means that the 4-week period scheduled in June will also be taught online.
In addition to the move to online teaching, there are a number of courses that are cancelled due to the online transition: Cell Biology and Physiology Lab, Field course in Environmental Earth Sciences, Culture Lab, Molecular Techniques and Immunology Lab, and Information Lab.
Some students are worried about their future academic prospects. According to AUC’s 2018 Annual Review, more than 1 in 5 students go on to work in research. For Science students, lab courses are crucial for getting as much hands-on experience as possible.
Rebecca Vischjager, a second-year Science major, was planning on taking the cancelled Molecular Techniques and Immunology Lab. “I might not graduate because of this. I need to take my intensive next year off because my master starts in June and I needed the lab course to graduate,” she says.
Another student concerned about graduate opportunities is Melanie Rietveld, a third-year Science major, who is worried about her masters application at the UvA after the cancelation of Molecular Techniques and Immunology Lab. “I would have liked to have more experience going into biomedical research than just one lab course. Plus, the course I wanted to take is a prerequisite for my masters.” Rietveld is hopeful UvA will be lenient, because the prerequisite lab course offered at UvA is also cancelled.
Lela Roos, a third-year Science major, was supposed to take Information Lab. Roos needs this course in order to graduate this semester, however, no additional information has been given to graduating students yet. “I am not too pressed about it yet, I feel like it is up to AUC to give me an alternative,” Roos says, “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Apart from the concern related to graduation and masters opportunities, some students are not looking forward to the move online for the June intensive. “Well, my course is cancelled. But in general, the switch to online has been horrible,” says Vischjager.
Quinlan Rijks, a third-year Social Science major, also has his doubts about his course moving online. He is going to take Diplomacy Lab, and hopes to become active in this field in the future. “The idea of the course moving to an online platform is nothing short of devastating,” he says. “I have no doubts that the teacher will teach me a lot about diplomacy and negotiations, but the lack of praxis in the classroom takes away both the possibility for gaining experience as well as what I expected to be the most fun in the course.”
Some students are frustrated and unsure of how AUC plans to move forward. “I am only now starting to feel hopeless. We’ve gotten way too many empty announcements about COVID-19.” says Vischjager. Students are waiting for AUC to provide further information. For now, the only indication AUC has given is: “More information will follow as soon as possible.”
Other students are understanding that AUC management might be struggling at the moment. “I am glad we already got the announcement and I am assuming they will get back to us soon,” Roos says. “I mean, what are they going to do? Work over the weekend?”.