What happens when a FASoS tutor suddenly becomes a student again?  Reflections from the other side of the lectern

By Elsje Fourie This has been an upside-down year in all sorts of ways, and I’m no exception. After more than a decade on the other side of the classroom, I suddenly found myself cast in the role of a…

Three lessons learned on how to use online components in a (post-)pandemic teaching environment

By Clara Weinhardt As another academic year shaped by online teaching is coming to an end, everybody is longing to bringing education back to our campuses. While we may not like it, we currently do not know with certainty in…

Transnational reflections on online teaching and learning

By Patrick Bijsmans & Simon Lightfoot It’s been over 15 months since we’ve had to suddenly move our courses online. A time during which we have learned many new things about synchronous versus asynchronous learning, about the technicalities of Microsoft…

Analogue becomes digital: An educationalists’ perspective on teaching and learning in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Diede Diederiks In March 2020, I started working at FASoS as an educationalist. It seemed like a clear job, working at the educational policy department on a couple of ongoing projects. How little did I know about the changes…

How Englishisation is changing higher education

By René Gabriëls & Robert Wilkinson The Englishisation of education and research attracts worldwide interest – not just from scholars, but also among the general public. Englishisation can be defined as the process in which the English language is increasingly…

By Yf Reykers Kahoot, Mentimeter, Wooclap, Gosoapbox. Does this sound familiar? These digital platforms are nowadays part of our standard teaching toolbox, perhaps even more so after a year of online teaching. But no matter how interactive, much of students’…

“In God we trust, all others must bring data”: Introducing BA DS students to quantitative data analyses, R programming and Big Data

By Eliyahu Sapir & Thomas Frissen In January 2021, second-year BA Digital Society students followed an intensive introduction to big data analysis. Students were trained in quantitative data analyses and using R and RStudio in an earlier course. They employed…

S/He said what? Managing interaction and feedback along an MA thesis trajectory

By Lauren Wagner; graphics by Pinelopi Kaslama The students of this year’s MA Globalisation and Development Studies (GDS) have just rounded up Period 3 working on their MA thesis proposals. As they finished the thesis development course, I heard from…

Designing a new course in and beyond COVID-19 times

By Patrick Bijsmans PBL course design is a recurring topic in academic literature, but also in staff development. This concerns, for instance, applying general PBL principles to assignment design, but also the need for varying assignments. The design process is…

The future higher education supermarket

By Talisha Schilder “Flexible bachelor”, “tailor your own study programme” and “freedom to pursue your own interests” are examples of how universities promote curriculum flexibility on their websites. Student-customers scroll, or let’s say stroll, through the online syllabus aisles to…

Tutorials in times of pandemic: Active participation and interaction in online education

By Swantje Falcke and Marie Labussière Last Spring, the courses taught in period 5 had to be moved online within a matter of days. Although challenging under these circumstances, adapting to online teaching has led to a great range of…

Storytelling in the PBL classroom

By Maud Oostindie When we discuss the PBL classroom, we cannot but address group dynamics. Although group dynamics are important to many types of education- and learning practices, they are especially central to PBL, with its focus on constructive, collaborative,…

Who’s afraid of DIY video in education?

By Sjoerd Stoffels Using video in education has become part of teaching reality during recent months. Moving from on-campus to online teaching and learning, accelerated developments that were already literally ‘visual’ in educational organisations on a global scale for quite…

Fast forward and rewind: Using videos in teaching and learning

By Patrick Bijsmans Throughout the last couple of months I have joined several national and international webinars, observed colleagues’ online tutorials and lectures, and read several blogs and papers to inform myself about online teaching and learning. This includes excellent…

Expectations, availability and learning: Online teaching and learning in the Maastricht Science Programme

By Stefan Jongen After reading Mirko Reithler’s blog post, I was thinking about how to build a boat for my teaching in period 5 of the Maastricht Science Programme, a bachelor programme that is offered by the Faculty of Science…

Zooming into online teaching and learning: An interview with Marisa Mori and Mirko Reithler

By Patrick Bijsmans After weeks of online teaching and learning, you may be totally Zoompt and perhaps you have even developed a case of Zoomophobia. Inversely, you may have become a Zoomophile who looks back at the pre-Zoom age with…

Political Philosophy online in “Coronatijd”

By Darian Meacham The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk, Hegel wrote in Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820). He meant that philosophy, and thinking in general, arrives late on the scene…

Tales from my home office III: Sowing the seeds

By Patrick Bijsmans One of the few good things about the the need to stay at and work from home, is that we’ve managed to get a lot of work done in the garden. We’ve enlarged one of the borders,…

To print or not to print? That is the question

By Paul Stephenson So we have just started period 5 and I have a stack of assessments to do of individual papers, group papers and take-home exams from across the BA and MA programmes. Ordinarily I would print the papers, grade them…

Zoom...Much Ado About Nothing?

By Sjoerd Stoffels The launch of Zoom at Maastricht University took many of us by surprise. A launch that also lacked necessary information regarding the ins and outs of this application. The result of this information vacuum: turmoil among staff and…

Building the boat while sailing

By Mirko Reithler I am a complete novice to online teaching. Embarking on this journey with hasty preparations seems like a daunting task that reminded me of the saying “building the boat while sailing”. Googling the expression, I discovered a…

Tales from my home office II: The rise of the online teacher

By Patrick Bijsmans We are now in week 3 of online teaching and learning here in Maastricht. Last week I posted some first reflections on my own experience so far, and I want to come back to this again. But…

New editorial team FASoS Teaching & Learning Blog

By Patrick Bijsmans It must have been about 15 months ago when, after a meeting with a group of faculty colleagues interested in teaching and learning research, Afke Groen and I started to think about launching a teaching and learning…

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 I

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…