UC | Dreamed revision


Last academic year, I dove into the world of our education. Immediately, you’re bombarded with terms as challenge-based learning, micro-credentials and life-long learners. They almost seem like the other buzzwords as blockchain or AI. And when you talk to people with visions on how your education will look like in ten years time, you naturally remain sceptical. Who wouldn’t?

But as you become more engaged during brainstorm sessions and feedback moments, the vague terms take more shape, and the world of education innovation opens up. You get to see these processes from vision to implementation and evaluation, and see the positive impact effects they can have.

Last month, the Bachelor College’s revision plan was presented to the University Council (UC). It was an answer to the evaluation that took place in 2020, which asked for renewal. Suddenly, students and staff members were confronted with these cryptic buzzwords and vague ideas about the future; because in September 2023 the new curriculum would already start.

The University Council and other co-determination bodies called the designs in the plan into question. 'What problem are we actually solving?', 'Why would this be the solution?', and 'Is this even realistic?'. These questions are absolutely legitimate, and a majority remains to be answered in the coming months, but there is something in the back of my head that keeps bothering me. People resist change by nature, but what percentage of this resistance is justified and what percentage can be labeled as ‘instinct’? The evaluation of the Bachelor College was loud and clear: things need to be improved!

After a year of being involved in the world of education, I dare to dream some more now. I’d like to put myself in the shoes of a prospective student, for example Sophie, who starts her bachelor Computer Science and Engineering in 2025. She chose for our university because the study programs are technical, and the university has strong connections with the industry.

She starts her year with the courses Engineering Basics and Programming. During the third week of Engineering basics, they suddenly start to talk about ethics. “This was a technical study program, right?”, Sophie jokes to her friends. But in the Programming course, she gets an assignment to program a simple ‘Facebook timeline’. A week later, in the other course, she discusses the societal impacts of the choices that she made in her programming assignment. Suddenly, it seems much more relevant!

In the third quartile, it’s time for an interdisciplinary project. Sophie is put into a group with students from different programs. From a local company, they get an assignment to design and build a sustainable delivery robot. “And I’ll probably have to program the whole thing!”, she tells her parents in frustration. But her group meets with a professional coach on a weekly basis, who helps them to set personal learning goals and to find a good team balance. Furthermore, the course provides online resources to help them stay on track. At the end of the project, she’s proud that she implemented the path-finding algorithm for the robot but otherwise was more involved in making it sustainable.

The latter aspect piqued her interests. “How can I contribute to a more sustainable world with Computer Science?”, asks Sophie to her teacher-mentor that was assigned to her in her second year. He refers her to the DTU in Denmark, which offer a relevant package of courses. Without any hassle she enrols, and in the third year she goes abroad for a quartile. Years later, she often recalls the amazing experience. Just having started at a company in Brainport region, she concludes that her choice of study program was perfect.

By now, it has become clear to me that every dream can be realized with enough money, enough manpower, and the support of all the stakeholders. That’s never the case, however. And because of that, Ines Lopez Arteaga, dean of the Bachelor College, compared the revision with a multi-dimensional optimization problem. To go along in the analogy, I eagerly turn up the weight of the ‘student dimension’ as a student member of the UC. That way I hope to realize the dreamed experience of Sophie and prove the usefulness of education innovation.

P.S. If you want to know more about our worries for the revision of the Bachelor College, you can read them here.

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