20 December 2018 • HNTB, Carly Timmerman
Complete modernisation of the educational vision and curriculum
“What is the underlying theme of our degree programme? It has everything that a graduate dietician will soon need.” Senior Lecturers Linda Kruese and Florien Blinde talk about how their team approached the modernisation of the Nutrition & Dietetics curriculum. “What themes did we want to see in our degree programme? Which teaching formats would we use? How would that fit in our timetable?”
“When a new professional profile was created for dietitians, it led to a new national education profile. This was why we decided a few years ago to revise our curriculum”, said Florien. Linda: “Our previous educational vision was no longer appropriate for dietitians of the future. For this reason, we developed a new, THUAS vision. One that fits in with ‘Let’s change. You. Us. The World’. This was a considerable job, but also worthwhile.”
Work and project groups
“We had many team days”, said Linda. “We worked with a programme team and various project groups. We asked the entire team for their input and gave everyone feedback. I became involved with things such as the timetable and planning the new curriculum.” Florien: “We worked hard with 53 colleagues on our new degree programme. Students and the professional field also played an important role here.”
Florien: “Naturally, we continue to teach our students the specific professional competencies that every nutrition expert or dietitian needs. In addition, we want to train them to become enterprising professionals with an inquisitive attitude who want to expand and mobilise their network. As jobs do not grow on trees, an enterprising spirit comes in handy in this ever changing world. That is why we introduce them to the full breadth of the professional field during the degree programme so they can get off to a flying start.”
Linda added: “Working together is important, as are using new technologies and looking at clients from a multidisciplinary perspective. Our students also participate in challenge-based learning, with real-life situations. In addition, students actively search for possibilities to connect to others. They also link projects to global goals so they can play their part in making the world a better place. These include sustainability, digital health, and providing information for different target groups. Students determine part of their education themselves and choose challenges that are in line with their passion and ambition. We call this ‘customised learning’. We also coach students on individual development and making their own choices.”
“Our students participate in collaborative learning and practice-oriented learning both inside and outside THUAS, and face to face and online. Some of the themes offered in year 1 include ‘Healthy eating: hip, hype or hit?’, in which we spend ten weeks examining phenomena such as The Green Happiness and other topical developments. Another theme is ‘Measuring = knowing’, in which research skills play a central role. Internationalisation also occupies a central position in our curriculum. For instance, students work together on projects in an exchange with universities from across Europe”, said Linda.
Part of research
“Research skills are and continue to be an important part of our curriculum”, Florien added. “Students perform experiments involving measurement, carry out scientific and practice-oriented research, and learn to use instruments that a nutrition expert or dietitian needs. Students are part of the research that we conduct in our faculty. Actually, they really enjoy this.”
Timetable and testing vision
Linda: “A new vision on testing also goes along with a new educational vision. For instance, how do you deal with feedback and resits? How do you actually test themes? What will our new timetable look like? In this regard, we have taken some important decisions. Students have a fixed timetable and attend the faculty every day. Every three weeks we have tests on the themes and we go over the study materials again.
Maintaining the trend
“Last year we invested significantly in evaluating our new education”, said Linda and Florien. “The evaluation involved students, the professional field and the team. This was reflected in the National Student Survey (NSE), where we scored highly on the theme of quality assurance. Students in year 1 also painted a very positive picture in the NSE. Now it is just a case of maintaining that trend.”
How do you do it? Quick WINs
How do you do it? This is the major question that gets addressed in this series known as ‘best practices’. Each time, a lecturer or member of staff at THUAS provides a real-life example. How can you embed global citizenship in your teaching? Or how can you encourage long-term students to graduate? It’s a good way to learn from each other and make our education that little bit better.
In addition to the How Do You Do It series in H|News and the Quick WINs sessions organised by The Hague Center for Teaching and Learning (HCTL), a colleague shares tools, tips & tricks each month during a live session of How Do You Do It? – Quick WINs.
Linda Kruese and Florien Binde: ‘We want to train our students to become enterprising professionals with an inquisitive attitude.’