20 January 2020

Information Sciences lecturer Frans Wiering nominated as UU Lecturer of the Year

Frans Wiering

The jury for the UU lecturer prizes has nominated Frans Wiering as one of the four candidates for Lecturer of the Year 2020. The decisive criteria were Frans’ vision of education and the way he creates interaction with students and contributes to their learning experiences.

As a lecturer and study programme director for Information Sciences, Frans is the driving force behind curriculum developments such as the technical track recently introduced to the study programme. He has also recently made major contributions to innovating one of the most crucial courses in the programme, one that many students find to be extremely difficult.

Intimately involved

Student association Sticky had suggested Wiering for the UU Lecturer Prize. Victor Severijns, Sticky education commissioner, explains why: “Frans is exactly what we as students need in our education. He has a fresh perspective on how to approach teaching, and he tries out new work formats. It’s clear that Frans thinks every opinion is important in order to improve education. He regularly visits our association room, so he’s also aware of the situations individual students face.”

Meeting the students’ needs

The course Computational Thinking was recently set up to approach programming from a computer science perspective. Together with fellow lecturer Marijn Schraagen, Frans ensured that the new course addresses the students’ needs. With its innovative explanation, students can master the concepts of programming before they start writing the program code.
Frans has also made great strides at the curriculum level, such as creating a work group to brainstorm about a study track within our programme. In the group, students suggest ways for the study programme to better meet the students’ needs.

Ambassador for Information Sciences

Each year, Frans strives to partner with new parties for his first-year course Designing Interactive Systems. That allows external parties to see what Information Sciences students are trained to do. Together with the client, Frans draws up the assignment to ensure that students have enough understanding and have to use their own creativity. Victor adds that Frans is not easily satisfied with his students’ performance. “Good cooperation isn’t enough, so Frans has asked a specialist in the field of working as a team to sit in on the seminars and give students valuable tips that they can use in their studies and their eventual careers.”

Bringing out the best in people

Frans doesn’t necessarily want to be the best lecturer; he mainly wants to bring out the best in his students. How does he do that? “First, I offer a safe learning environment and I assume trust. Secondly, I communicate with students like adults. Third, I provide an interesting and challenging education. Activating teaching is always one of my high priorities, and small-scale teaching formats help with that. Fourth, I share my knowledge. A quote from Karl Marx says it all: ‘Ignorance never yet helped anybody’. My personal vision is that you can never have too much knowledge.”