Professors are streaming lectures from home, students have gone to their parents, when possible, and employees are looking for possibilities to collaborate online. It is quiet at the campuses of Nyenrode Business University.
Everyone is finding their way at home between preparing sandwiches for children, conference calls, writing course outlines and reading manuals about digital teaching. On campus, in Breukelen as well as in Amsterdam, occasionally you come across a student, an employee or a professor looking for coffee, while they focus on a project that they cannot complete from home. Apart from the birds, all they hear is silence. They feel the sun's rays and the breeze while they walk from the library to the Albert Heijn building, or sitting down for a phone call in the garden of the ‘Vijf Keizers’. It is the reality of Nyenrode in times of the Coronavirus.
Times of crisis require acceleration and creativity, at the same time making conscious choices is essential. It creates room for reflection and prioritization. Nyenrode is currently one university with two extremes. Working shoulder to shoulder since last week, the unity and teamwork demonstrated these past days, show that Nyenrode’s origins are still very much alive.
Students and participants look for opportunities to give their company renewed inspiration, if it turns out that their peer groups are canceled. Now is the time to put into practice what they have learned so far. Right now they can make a difference.
Moving to distance learning in less than a week, allows lecturers to see opportunities for impact research and collaboration, while they remain flexible. Students and participants imagine teachers providing lectures from home, sitting in front of their bookcase in their study.
Classrooms are empty while students are required to participate in online courses. It is quite on campus, or does it only seem like that? While online, nearly a hundred students listen with raised eyebrows to Prof. Dr. Bo van der Rhee explaining the tough material during his Business Statistics lecture. They ask questions online and they will be answered immediately. Homework is submitted digitally in advance.
Questions about personal development and program choices have been asked and answered digitally for years. It is not a new phenomenon that chatbots are taking over work in all forms. But the personal touch remains essential for the Nyenrode community. Therefore keeping this in balance is a priority. And for this reason, we find it paramount that open days for prospective students take place at physical locations. We now know that the Coronavirus requires improvisation and innovation whilst also bringing out the best in people. Therefore, the first open days to take place online have been planned and Instagram Live will provide the personal touch for our young prospective students.
The founding fathers of Nyenrode established the university in 1946 to fortify the Dutch economy. In the same spirit, we want to try to help business and civil society organizations in dealing with this crisis in a resilient way. We know it is not going to be easy. We challenge everyone, but especially ourselves, to make our own contribution with energy and creativity. The Nyenrode community - alumni, students, participants, teachers, staff and program teams – are an excellent example of what agility looks like in practice.