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Learning Community BA Media Studies

Contact Person

prof. dr. D.J. Wolffram. d.j.wolffram rug.nl

Summary

The Faculty of Arts is introducing a new English-taught international Bachelor’s degree programme in Media Studies in September 2015. The degree programme is expected to attract a lot of both Dutch and foreign students. The programme focuses on active learning and the international classroom, and the quality of the programme strongly depends on a productive, coherent learning climate. The Learning Community concept can stimulate collaboration among students and lecturers of a variety of nationalities and thus help students achieve the learning outcomes.

Four questions are important in relation to Learning Communities:

  • How can an activating, stimulating learning environment be created?
  • How can focus on and room for intercultural differences be guaranteed?
  • How can room for personal contact and close social ties between students and lecturers be created within the programme?
  • How can this contribute to improving study success rates and achieving learning outcomes

Best Practices

The BA Media Studies is a new international programme with a diverse student population (in 2016 students from 30 nationalities enrolled). The programme started in September 2015 and learning communities are an integrated part of the curriculum. Students are divided in year classes of 20 students each which take all courses together. Each group has a lecturer as tutor who monitors the social dynamics in the group and provides individual support to students.

The programme focusses on active learning: the idea that students learn most from applying theory, concepts and methods. A core concept in the teaching philosophy are so-called learning labs. In these labs students work on in-class assignments while the lecturer acts as a coach, giving short instructions and immediate feedback on student work. Students come to class prepared; they do readings and prepare (group) assignments. Formative assessment is a leading principle. Moreover, students learn to developing intercultural competences which is one of the learning outcomes of the programme.

In the past year this teaching philosophy has been very successful: 92,5 % of the students acquired their BSA, with 61,5 % of them obtaining 55 or 60 credits. Moreover, student evaluations were very positive. Students acknowledge the value of the learning community concept, although they not always label it as such.

In the first year of the program a student association was founded (Mesa) that organized all kinds of social activities for fellow students. As of 2016-2017 the extracurricular activities get more shape in the “Meet the Makers”-series, organized by the students with support of the staff. In this series of short “pub lectures”, media professionals present and discuss their work – offering a window on the job market in addition to the professional learning pathway of the programme.

Last modified:16 March 2017 12.53 p.m.
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