Report of the ITC Meeting - Vision2020

UPDATE 01/07/14: During the second meeting of ITC the subjects of ‘MOOC’S and distance education’ and STARS (Spurring a Transformation for Agriculture through Remote Sensing) were discussed. Click on the links to view the PowerPoint presentations.


First Meeting

ITC Auditorium
Number of visitors: approx 90-100 (both OBP and WP)

Webmap – Rolf de By

The ITC is currently developing an interactive map of the world to show where students went after graduating. This covers a total of 24,590 students. It also gives details of short courses (1-3 weeks), a concept that is still unknown elsewhere in the University of Twente.

International cooperative ventures ITC/UT - Dinand Alkema

International cooperation is the ITC’s ‘core business’. The faculty has been very successful in this area for many years. The ITC would be happy to share this expertise with the rest of the University of Twente, so that everyone can benefit. Its work always involves technology, applied to the human situation (often in developing countries). The basic idea is that cooperation at international level is always mediated by people, not by institutions.

The four themes from the Ploumen policy document are very much in keeping with the ITC’s own themes. Its studies/projects are mainly developed in response to requests from The Hague, while others are initiated internally.

Twente Water Center is a prime example of how forces can be combined at international level. This is a cooperative venture between ITC, CTW, EEMCS and MB.

Initial MSc – Victor Jetten

The integration of the ITC into the University of Twente is also reflected in the development of the new MSc. Greater use is made of knowledge by sharing it with others. This is a teaching method that closely resembles the Twente Education Model (TOM). It is essential that the central issue here be tackled using a multidisciplinary approach. One example might be cutting the risks of disasters (risk management, earth observation, communication, psychology, economics, etc.).


One option might be for the University of Twente to offer more summer schools, featuring distinguished, internationally renowned speakers. That could also yield financial benefits.

How do we attract the best people?

A: We must make the most of our talents, both those of the staff and students, and those of the institution as a whole. We can be entrepreneurial, by identifying opportunities and seizing them. Using a well-defined profile, we seek out niches in which we can excel, then we match these with the most suitable students. A prime example of this is the initial MSc that is currently under development at ITC. Being a relatively minor player, we may not be able to out-compete other institutions, so we will have to cooperate instead. Our existing partnerships not only convey a great deal about us as a university, they also give us a clear market profile. This is what attracts people to study at our institution.

In the past, this strategy was never really put into effect, so how are we going to handle things this time round?

A: The existing strategy does not need to be reformulated; it just needs to be defined more clearly. We found that implementing a completely new strategy was a much more complex process. While we have already dealt successfully with most of the issues involved, if we work together we can examine things in greater detail.

During the ‘Create’ event, mention was also made of involving regional partners, yet we also want to internationalize. How can these two aims be reconciled?

A: We continue to play a regional role, both because we must and because we have a genuine desire to do so. Many of the undergraduates are from this region, and we are one of its major employers. It’s not a question of one or the other, it’s both. Beyond this role, we can certainly be a major international player and partner as well.

What is ‘internationalization’ anyway? There seems to be quite a lot of confusion about this.

A: We will become a player in the international field. We will achieve this by means of international partnerships, and by providing education and research that is internationally relevant and that sparks people’s interest. We are already making very effective use of this approach in the research area. In the field of education, there is scope for increased efforts in this regard. There is more to an international institution than just ‘translating’, it must also offer an international experience. One way that we do this, for example, is to send students abroad while bringing in others from outside the Netherlands, all on a temporary basis. We can easily access these groups online, but the ‘experience’ factor continues to be a major focus for us.

Will the strategy include internationalization in the form of development cooperation?

A: At present, there are no plans to make development cooperation a focus of the University of Twente as a whole. We will, of course, take on board the experience gained, while allowing the ITC to function as a networking vehicle. There is a special focus on recruitment in less obvious countries (besides those countries that would be obvious choices). This is something that the ITC does very well, and the university as a whole can learn from its example.

To what extent do we examine the approaches taken by other universities?

A: We make visits and have contacts all over the world. Our conversations, naturally, touch on strategy formation and the lessons learned. We test what others have learned and take this on board, where that is feasible and desirable. On 21 May, during the Innovation Lecture event, an invited speaker from outside the Netherlands will present details of the lessons that they have learned in this regard.

How closely do we monitor the gap between applications and registrations at international level?

A: We can certainly benefit from the ITC’s expertise and experience in this area. Experience shows that, compared to domestic applicants, proportionally fewer applicants from outside the Netherlands actually turn up.

In terms of internationalization, what is the balance between online (MOOCs) and physical courses?

A: We are experimenting with MOOCs, but this is an expensive exercise. We are testing the effectiveness of this approach, while finding out how to get the best results. It is more than a matter of just making a video of a professor/lecture. We also want to retain our prime focus of providing a real experience. Nevertheless, we can use this approach to make our educational programmes easily accessible. We can then try to get the groups we have reached to actually come to the campus.