VU – UTNews & agendaNewsLecturers on their first three years of Mechanical Engineering in Amsterdam

Lecturers on their first three years of Mechanical Engineering in Amsterdam

What were the most remarkable moments for the lecturers during the first three years of Mechanical Engineering in Amsterdam? 'The students made an excellent transition from theory to practical application in their projects'.

Pleasantly surprised by the helpfulness and creativity of the students

‘I teach the subject of thermodynamics in the first year and the confrontation with corona was intense. Thermodynamics is not an easy subject and requires a lot of interaction. It was therefore a big challenge to go from face to face to online teaching. And yet, in the end, it worked out and went quite smoothly. I was really pleasantly surprised by the helpfulness and creativity of the students. They had just left secondary school but were already behaving very responsibly and maturely. Partly because of that, they made an excellent transition from theory to practical application in their projects. I am proud of that and also experienced a sense of solidarity.’

Yashar Hadjimolana


Great to see what steps they had made in a year

‘I did an assignment with the students where they had to build a tower of marshmallows together. I really enjoyed that. First of all because I used to do that with toddlers when I worked at a primary school. The similarities between the two groups turned out to be huge! It really made me laugh. But the assignment, which is mainly about working together, was interesting for another reason. I did it twice with the students, at the beginning and at the end of the year. The first time, they were still very careful with each other. No one wanted to criticise or attack someone else's idea. As a result, many bad ideas were able to persist. The second time, things were completely different. Now they were very outspoken and clear to  each other. In a direct but also respectful and creative way. There was no more room for bad ideas. It was great to see which steps they had made in one year.’

Isabel Braadbaart


A lot of freedom to pioneer and to get to grips with things

‘A special moment for me was when I went with the students to the Power Plant in Hengelo for the first time. That's how you bring theory and practice together for them. They experience how the knowledge they acquire is applied in practice and they also get a taste of the projects they will be doing themselves. Mechanical Engineering is really a study where theory and practice come together. The relationship and collaboration between lecturers and students is good and intensive and many lecturers have good contacts with the industry.  I also found it great to be a lecturer in a new study programme. You get the chance to learn a lot in a short time. Among other things, on what good education is. In addition, you have a lot of freedom and space to pioneer, develop new things and get the hang of things. And I enjoyed the close contact with the students.’

Strahinja Jokic


A fun and exciting return to my roots

‘I taught the subject of classical mechanics and for me it was like returning to my roots. It was a very pleasant return. For students of Mechanical Engineering it is really in the middle of their field of interest while for students of other study programmes the subject is often a marginal subject or a must. It was also an exciting return for me because the content of  this programme was largely new. The theory may fit on half an A4 sheet, but you want to use that to calculate everything. In Mechanical Engineering, you break the system down into all kinds of separate pieces that then must keep each other in balance. A beautiful and challenging task. In order to be well prepared, I spent the first year as an assistant with an experienced colleague from Twente. In the second year, I was ready to give the course myself. It was great fun to do.’

Klaas Giesbertz