Organisation - March 26, 2020

Open days go online

Marieke Enter

Last Saturday, WUR held an online version of its usual Bachelor’s Open Day because of the coronavirus measures. The open day attracted 2700 visitors, more than expected. Now the Master’s Open Day will be going online too.

The Bachelor’s Open Day was just over a week away when the government imposed a ban on all events for more than 1000 people. Paul Heijmering, Information & Recruitment manager: ‘We immediately started thinking about an alternative. We were inspired by the great atmosphere at the International Open Day, when WUR had online contact with about 2000 students from all over the world and in different time zones; that gave us the idea for an online version. It would undoubtedly be technically feasible but what about the content and organization? At that point there was nothing at all in terms of online content or interaction possibilities.’

Serious attendees

Don’t ask how, but they did it. Despite the minimal preparation time, a fully fledged Online Open Day took place on Saturday with an appealing presentation for each degree programme, and students, study advisors and programme directors answering questions via WhatsApp and Instagram Stories. ‘It actually went very well,’ says Heijmering. The Open Day attracted 2700 visitors, more than he had expected. The interaction exceeded expectations too. What people discussed confirmed the impression that the virtual attendees were serious about this and the Online Open Day was meeting a need.

Sampling atmosphere

Now it has been decided to hold the Master’s Open Day, on 30 April, online too. People are thinking hard about what form it should take exactly. Fortunately they have a bit more time to prepare: six weeks instead of six days. Heijmering hopes in due course to be able to organize an event in which students can sample the atmosphere ‘live’ on campus. ‘Of course that is one important aspect of the Open Days. Whether it is possible depends on how the coronavirus situation develops.’

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