I am absolutely terrible at quizzes. Friday quizzes at work – pre-Corona were an exercise in humilty, and yet I met up every Friday. Quiz is after all more about socializing without having to do small talk, isn’t it? Sometime in the spring I joined in a quiz arranged by Han Sylte – (a great place for small conferences or family events by the way) and it hit me – We could do this with our students – Corona be Damned!

We’re all feeling the strain of keeping our distance, not being able to plan, not knowing what «normal» will look like in the future. There seem to be more and more articles pointing out the students» level of anxiety and depression are rising. What originally started as an idea to explore different ways to create the informal social interaction that could be lost when traditional, physical exchanges were lost, was turning into an idea that might serve an additional purpose. One of my announcements for the quiz started with «Tired of seeing the same old faces on Zoom?» – and there is something in that, isn» there?

So the Police University Colleges of the Netherlands (Politieacademie) and the Finnish Police University College (POLAMK) and PHS here in Norway worked on making an international quiz competition for our students. We used teams and KAHOOT, and we hoped to have participants enough to actually make it a lively, fun event. The KIK team at Politieacademie made this little teaser for us as well. We thought we were ready to go!

WE were ready to go, but our students weren’t. We hope this is a little start up bump, but it took a lot of pleading, and nudging to get students to join our first quiz. The night after the quiz I attended a lecture connected to the EVOLVE project. This is an EU financed project designed to explore several aspects of virtual exchanges.

I think that anyone who has been on an exchange – whether long or short – remembers the time outside of the classroom the best – this was where the bonds were made, and this was where so much of the valuable learning and growth took place. I have been quite concerned that THIS would be lost in virtual exchanges – and yet if I understood Shannon Sauro’s presentation, this is not the case. It seems that as long as the basis for the virtual exchange is problem-based learning in mixed groups, the students experience create a community that helps them learn and grow in «nearly» the same ways a traditional, physical exchange would. Maybe our students have enought virtual interaction in the course of the day and don’t need anyone facilitating social activities as well. My gut still says this can’t be true, and I need to see if I can find any studies supporting or refuting this.

But back to the quiz. We finally had enough students join – the Finns kicking back with pizza and beer, the Dutch showing up on time, one even in a uniform, the Norwegians staying socially distanced with their camera turned off. And it went well. I understand that the students are sick of screen time – even if the event is supposed to be fun and relaxed. So great was my suprise when they hung out after the quiz and asked to be admitted to the team site so that they could stay in touch with each other. That was beyond my expectations. Perhaps seeing new faces really was a plus! Hopefully we will be able to develop this teamsite into an informal place for students to meet, exchange knowledge and ideas with each other – but most importantly – just hang out and enjoy their time together.

Do you know how many countries participate in the Schengen agreement, but the way? Did Norwegians really vote to have a king? Stay tuned!

Would you like to try the quiz?

The great quiz project