Calvin Rans, assistant professor in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering and Best Lecturer of TU Delft 2018, has now been voted the best teacher in the Netherlands. The jury praised Rans for his ability to inspire his students and for his continual efforts to improve his lectures. The competition among teachers/lecturers at research universities and universities of applied sciences is an initiative of the Inter-city Student Consultation (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, ISO).
This is the second time that a lecturer at TU Delft has won the award: the winner in 2015 was Alexandru Iosup.
Calvin Rans has the ability to engage people in very complex ideas and concepts. “Students won’t learn from what you say in the classroom. Just like kids, they have to make the mistakes themselves. This means you have to find a way to help them navigate through their own learning process.” Rans is well-known as a very approachable and engaged lecturer. His students are enthusiastic about the courses he teaches, such as the first-year course Mechanics of Materials in which he uses blended learning to make a connection to students’ questions. He makes the ‘tougher’ second-year course Structural Analysis & Design more interesting by using examples that bring the theory to life.
Mechanics of Materials, a first-year course, is one of the faculty’s first courses to be offered in blended form. Here students watch videos at home in which the subject matter is explained, giving Rans more time during lectures to make the connection between the theory and its application in aerospace engineering. Students really appreciate this approach, especially because he uses numerous examples to place the theory in the right context. For example, once he took hockey sticks along to demonstrate bending deflection by analysing a hockey player doing a slap shot. “These little things make it fun and encourage students to interact,” he says.
This year, Rans also took on the second-year course in Structural Analysis & Design, in which he aims not only to teach his students the theory, but also how to develop design intuition. In his lectures, he emphasises the fact that there is no right answer in design and that students must learn to be critical and make the right judgements and decisions during the design process. Although the structure of the course has remained unchanged, his calm approach and use of engaging examples enables him to deftly guide students through what is often quite heavy subject matter. The success of his approach is demonstrated by the increase in the pass rate.
For more information, please contact Karen Collet, TU Delft media relations officer, email: [email protected]