We wanted to know more on how things are going for students and professors in times like these. Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Coen at Utrecht University shines his light on the Goin’ platform at his university.

How is online teaching going for you?

Online teaching is not the same anymore, it is less fun for us and the students but at the same time we’ve been learning a couple of new things. Generally, we can definitely say that people would be happier if we went back to physical classes.

How is the situation for students?

Actually students are doing better than ever, they are focusing more on assignments. But there are also students who feel very lonely and we see more cases of people being unmotivated. In the first year, the level of motivation can be really really low. We have noticed that students were hit by this whole situation. Some of them managed to accept it, but some of them are feeling lonely. We have also noticed that we had the opportunity for students to engage even online through Zoom meetings after class, but the turnout rates were quite low. Moreover, we asked students why they don’t show up at Q&A sessions and they admitted that asking questions in this way is not the same.

However, one surprising fact is that in master programmes students’ progress is even better than before, but of course this is a general observation and it always depends on the motivation of people and what exactly keeps them motivated. On the contrary, first year students are less motivated than others and they haven’t had the chance to meet many of their fellow students in class.

We would really like to know from someone who knows more about Goin’ from an academic perspective. What is your opinion on Goin’ and how do students in your university use it?

In the master that I am teaching, more than 50% is international students and we all see that there are a lot of practical problems that these people face – housing, adaptation, social connections etc. 

More specifically, students struggle with 3 things:

  1. Culture shock – being away from their safe place
  2. Masters are more demanding – people struggle with the workload and the change can be a shock.
  3. New international students have no accommodation

All those 3 things together can be quite tough for new students. And this is exactly where Goin’ can help. The app helps people connect earlier and it takes away a bit of the socialising-during-first-days stress, where people don’t know anyone yet and talk to people in the same situation. I also noticed that the students like using it and make use of it mainly for this element. From a program perspective, I believe it really helps and it also contributes a lot to the mental well-being of students as if you struggle with accommodation or making friends, it reflects a lot on your study.

So, in essence what would be your view over Goin’?

It helps with community building in the first couple of weeks and it is a solution that helps – I always recommend it to students and others in my faculty tell students to get the app to make friends and build their network. It also helps a lot even in our master, especially in the times of covid. Usually we could all socialize after class, but now it’s just that we close our webcams and people can’t socialise, so they can do so through Goin’.

We would like to thank Coen once again for his contribution to this article and for his time. Stay tuned to find out more about Goin’s impact on universities, students and even professors!