How Delft University of Technology uses open exercises in their blended learning environment in math education.

School type University

Students 23.000+

Employees 5200

Course Campus wide Math for BSc students

Students 15000

Delft University of Technology (TUD) is the largest technical university in the Netherlands, providing engineering education to over 24.000 students. It is ranked 52 on the QS Top Universities World Rankings.

Annoesjka Cabo is the director of studies interfaculty education of the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS). She has been trained as a mathematician - doing research in Stochastic Geometry - and also as a professional violinist. Her main responsibility now is to coordinate their interfaculty education. Their math department provides math education to around 15.000 students. Basically every student will take their courses in Analysis, Probability and Statistics, Linear Algebra Differential Equations and Numerical Mathematics. Their challenge: how to provide activating, high quality math education at large scale?

Active Learning

Cabo: the question we were seeking to answer was: how to activate students? How to stimulate them to practice more? We all know that you only learn mathematics by doing mathematics. Especially in maths this means it is important to practise. The next lecture builds on the previous ones, so if you don’t master the previous lectures, it will be hard to catch up. To address this, we started PRIME : Programme Innovation Mathematics Education. Through this programme, we coordinated our 20+ teachers and a team of teaching assistants to transform the courses to a blended and more activating format.

The instructional model we developed in PRIME is prepare, participate and practise:

PRIME - Schematic

Immediate Feedback

Our aim is to provide students with more immediate feedback, so they are more motivated to practice and to learn from practicing. We knew online practice tools could help with that, so we started our journey to look for potential tools.

Open Education

Apart from activating students, at the TU Delft we have the strategic vision to use and reuse open educational resources. Opening resources to educate the world has been a longstanding movement at TUD. We were the first Dutch university to open our course videos through Open CourseWare, following the initiative by MIT. We have also created over 50 MOOCs, shared on EdX, such as this one on Pre-University Calculus, or this one on solar panels, through which for example Andersson Contreras Olmos from Colombia learned about solar panel engineering and is now using that knowledge to power an indigenous community with solar energy instead of a diesel generator [link].

In our new Strategic Framework, the TU Delft has reaffirmed its mission to make ‘impact for a better society’. In the framework we defined one of our core values to be Openness, which means that we “wholeheartedly support Open Education and want to make Open Educational Resources part of our educational policy”.

In summary, we started looking for a platform that is user-friendly, helps us activate students and fits our strategic vision on open education.

We compared mutliple practice platforms and a committee of teachers, students and managers finally selected Grasple.

“To me, Grasple means open to all, reliable and outstanding support.”

– Annoesjka Cabo - Director of studies, interfaculty education at Delft University of Technology

Annoesjka: we have now rolled out Grasple to multiple courses. A week after Grasple was selected, we started with over 9 new courses, which all happened without any problems. We are also still creating new exercises and providing them with meaningful feedback. We’re happy we can share them online, under open licenses and we really hope teachers at other universities will be able to use them.

“The way in which Grasple has been thinking along with us - and sometimes even ahead of us - helped us a lot in achieving our goals.”

– Annoesjka Cabo

Want to learn more about TU Delfts approach to student activation? Read more about PRIME and TU Delft’s mathematics courses here:

Curious how Grasple could assist you in your course?