Studying curriculum design in European Studies

 By Johan Adriaensen & Caterina Pozzi Curriculum design is the backbone of programmes in Higher Education and the framework within which all teaching and learning take place. Surprisingly, there is relatively little comparative research on curriculum designs within the Scholarship of…

Reflections on one week of working at home with 1 husband, 2 kids and 1 cat

By Esther Versluis   Expectations beforehand As horrible as the situation is, particularly for those who are really influenced by the pandemic either health- or workwise, for us – academics with kids – it might actually be a nice opportunity…

Tales from my home office

By Patrick Bijsmans It’s been just over a week since Maastricht University decided to move all teaching online. I’ve been lucky because my teaching from last week onwards was going to be centred around individual meetings anyway, so it’s been…

COVID19 and online education in the MA European Studies

By Andreea Nastase, Petar Petrov, Maarten Vink and Hylke Dijkstra Following the university’s decision to suspend in-class education, we decided to move our MA European Studies courses online per Monday 16 March. We want to share our experiences, as novices…

Ten tips for FASoS BA students as we move to online education

Prepared by BA Programme Directors, Coordinator for Continuing Professional Development, and FASoS Student Representatives, 18 March 2020   FASoS students already know a lot about independent learning and self-directed study. You can do this! Here are some tips to help…

Using videos in teaching: Love (teaching) in the time of Corona

By Emilie Sitzia As teaching staff we have been discussing the use of video in teaching for many years already. Actually, the first investigations into the use of videos in the classroom go back to the 1970s… I have been…

“Dear course coordinator, I can do this better than you”

By Yf Reykers We have all been there, working under the coordination of someone we think is not acting efficiently. It is easy to believe that we can do something better than someone else. Until you face the challenge yourself….

Performing PBL: the importance of creating atmosphere

By Maud Oostindie & Robin Schormans The PBL-classroom is not only a site of learning, but also a site of performance; a metaphorical stage, in which individuals perform certain roles. The student, scribe, chair and tutor play their respective parts…

Designing for atmospheres of learning

By Anna Harris, Shanti Sumartojo and Sally Wyatt On 22 October 2019, about 30 people gathered together in the FASoS attic for a sensory and design ethnography workshop in order to explore the places in which we learn and teach,…

On a mission: helping students to make better use of the pre-discussion

By Jasmijn van der Most When I was a student in the Bachelor in European Studies (BA ES), I thought that a PBL pre-discussion worked as follows: you read the assignment text, scan it for difficult words, and you put…

The Case for Log Books: An Assignment Designed to Promote Student Reflection on Academic Writing

By Elizabeth Olsson For the last two years, I have worked as a writing coach in one of the largest introductory courses offered by the School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The course is Introduction to…

Course evaluation, what is it good for?

By Matthijs Krooi A few months ago, this blog featured an excellent post about bias in teaching evaluations, especially with regard to age and gender. It is a sobering story about a practice of performance measurement that is very common…

Why and how FASoS should stay on top of attendance in PBL

By Patrick Bijsmans (Maastricht University) and Arjan Schakel (University of Bergen) The abolishment of minimum attendance requirements at FASoS just over two years ago has been a recurring topic of discussion. Literature on students’ persistence and results often highlights attendance…

Problem-based learning for teaching political ecology?

By Nick Kirsop-Taylor and Dan Appiah In this blogpost we report on a recent paper we gave at the Joint International teaching and learning Conference (2019) in Brighton (UK) about using Problem-based learning (PBL) as an approach to teaching and…

PBL - People Based Learning?

By Kirstin Herbst and Sarah Goosens As second-year students in the Bachelor European Studies, we can look back on two years of experience with Problem Based Learning (PBL). PBL has both fostered our knowledge and taught us many skills. We…

Using word association to assess learning in the BA ES

By Paul Stephenson My experience of teaching Area Studies in the BA European Studies is that, once you move beyond the initial tour de table that maps what we know based on basic assumptions and personal experiences, the group has little idea…

Grading known students: An (unacknowledged) challenge for PBL assessment

By Nora Vaage Before I came to Maastricht in 2016 I worked in the Norwegian university system. There, exams at the BA and MA level (preceding the MA thesis) were graded blindly by two examiners. Coming to Maastricht University, where…

Peeking into the classroom – PBL Movie Night at FASoS

By Vincent Bijman In Dutch secondary education, one effective tool to facilitate reflection on pedagogical and didactical strategies is the use of classroom video footage to support discussions between teaching staff. Video footage is also a useful tool for PBL…

Young and female? A recipe for poorer teaching evaluations

By Constance Sommerey & Afke Groen Teaching evaluations. After a course has ended, we await these sensitive comments in at times anxious, at times happy anticipation. We are interested to find out whether the changes we made to a course…

By Patrick Bijsmans & Afke Groen It has been a year since we started our Teaching & Learning Blog! And what better way to celebrate than with a blog of our own about the importance of sharing teaching experiences and…

The Expert Lecture in Problem-Based Learning

By Michael Shackleton In Problem-Based Learning environments such as the one in Maastricht, lectures by “experts” or “practitioners” are often considered to be of great added value. But what can the practitioner actually offer to students in a university environment?…

Stressed from teaching so many stressed students?

By Pia Harbers Media have been reporting about increased levels of stress and psychological problems among students in Higher Education. While some question to what extent this really is a serious problem, others describe this as the “biggest generational challenge” that we are…

Four underestimated ways to become a better academic writer

By Patrick Bijsmans “Learning how to do research is one of the most important tasks at the university. It is also one of the most challenging.” (Murtonen & Lehtinen, ‘Learning to be a researcher’, in Academic research and researchers) Academic…

What place for lectures in the Problem-Based Learning process?

By Afke Groen My first lecture at university was a nightmare. I thought I had prepared well. I had extensively read the assigned material, and had completely based the lecture on that. If I would just stand behind the microphone…

Using writing in PBL: Less talking - more ideas

By John Harbord The typical PBL session: some students talk, some are silent – are the silent ones not contributing because they didn’t do the reading, because they are shy, or why? It’s often hard to tell. Some show off…

The erosion of PBL at FASoS?

By Patrick Bijsmans & Mirko Reithler Problem-based learning (PBL) is at the heart of teaching at Maastricht University and at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS). It is a student-centred approach to learning: students encounter problems that contextualise a…

For the times they are complex–Why PBL is more relevant than ever

By Martin Wirtz & Lasse Gerrits While Problem-Based Learning (PBL) still has an innovative air around it compared to traditional university teaching, it can hardly be claimed that it is “new”. Yet, we contend that PBL is more relevant than…

To use or not to use the whiteboard? Is that the question?

By Sven Schaepkens & Patrick Bijsmans FASoS teaching staff sometimes informally meet to share experience. One such event took place on 7 November 2017. A group of new and experienced staff watched the UM DVD Problem based learning: Tips from…

Study choice: BA ES alumni Philipp Hermann & Christopher Dürr

By Afke Groen & Patrick Bijsmans Study choice is a topical issue; for students, who want to choose a programme that suits them well, and for universities, whose financing partly depends on students’ enrolment in and successful completion of their…

The thesis supervisor as coach

By Esther Versluis After some 13 years of supervising theses in the Bachelor in European Studies (BA ES), I think I would best describe this part of my job as being some sort of motivational coach. I feel the most…

Engaging students in PBL tutorials

By Philip Post Engaging students is important in any educational context, but is crucial to a proper working of Problem-Based Learning. In our system, students are in control of the learning process and the participation of the students therefore largely…