What we do for teachers of WUR

Society Based Education is part of the Education Support Centre of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The Education Support Centre offers educational support within the university and aims to inspire, facilitate and support the teaching staff. Education Support Centre contributes to the optimization of the educational environment and the implementation of educational innovations.

Society Based Education stimulates and facilitates meaningful learning in 'real-life', authentic situations in which students learn to apply scientific and practical knowledge to address complex and interdisciplinary and societal problems. In addition to testing their scientific knowledge in practice, students learn to look beyond the boundaries of their field, come into contact with their future professional field and develop social and personal skills.

For many years now, we have been recruiting authentic assignments for various WU courses. In the matchmaking process we take into account the learning objectives of the course, the wishes of the teacher, the level and the disciplinary background of the students. Society Based Education employees have different disciplinary backgrounds so that we can recruit Wageningen University broadly for student assignments.

What Society Based Education does:

  • Recruiting actual issues from society;
  • Translate issues into clear assignments for students;
  • Informing social partner(s) about practical matters, such as responsibilities, costs, time investment, intellectual ownership and copyrights;
  • Talk to social partner(s) about what they can expect from the learning process and the outcome of the collaboration with students.

Why a collaboration with Society Based Education?

Thank to our many years of experiences in recruiting and describing authentic student projects and monitoring the learning process, we have built up knowledge how to optimally design the learning process in which students work together with social partner(s). We are happy to share this knowledge with teachers of the WUR so that the learning process is of added value for all stakeholders involved.

Examples of WU courses for which we recruit authentic assignments:

Settings for Health Promotion (HSO-30806)

Many factors related to health and well-being, such as social position, level of literacy, culture and policy, lie outside the health sector. Health Promotion is an integrated approach, in which, in addition to disease, health and the social and cultural context in which people live, work and play are central. These 'settings' offer opportunities to (cost) effectively promote health and well-being. In this course, Master students are assigned the tasks of researching and mapping opportunities and possibilities of a 'real-life case'.

Examples of 'real-life cases' are:

  • The design of a business park to promote the well-being of employees;

  • The positive influence of a care farm on the well-being of clients;

  • New housing concepts for the elderly so that they can continue to live independently for as long as possible.

Environmental Project Studies (ETE-25812)

Bachelor students work in this course on an actual, multidisciplinary environmental issue. Based on an assignment from a commissioner, the students write a project proposal and carry it out. An assignment must contain at least one of the following 3 domains:

  1. Environmental System Analysis

  2. Environmental Technology

  3. Environmental Policy

The assignments are of an extensive nature. After all, it is a learning objective of the course that the students learn to enter into dialogue with the commissioner and to come up with suitable research questions together.

Design of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies (WSG-60812)

In multidisciplinary teams of 4 to 7 Master students, students from the MSc programs Climate Studies and Earth & Environment work on an authentic consultancy assignment for a commissioner. Possible commissioners are local, regional or national government institutions, regional water authorities, research institutions, international NGOs or private institutions.

Case Studies Product Quality (FQD-24306)

Based on literature and discussions, the students advise their commissioner about the next (feasible) step to take to implement or improve a product, process or technology. The bachelor student teams are asked to link their proposed product or process improvement to existing practical business operations.

Communication and Persuasion (CPT-23306)

This bachelor course deals with the basic principles of persuasion and social influence. Underlying processes of persuasion and (exerting) influence will be studied from a social psychological perspective. Questions such as: 'What are attitudes, and how can they be changed?', 'How are people affected by their social environment?' and 'Can people be influenced without being aware of it?' are addressed. The course aims to help students better understand people's behaviour, both at an individual and group level, by applying recent theories of persuasiveness to real-life situations. This course is taught in the 2nd year of the bachelors Communication and Life Sciences and Business & Consumer Studies. The assignments we recruit for this course should offer students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge acquired in the course about processes of social influence and persuasion.

Academic Consultancy Training (YRM-60809)

The aim of this Master course is to offer students the opportunity to carry out an academic consultancy project in collaboration with an external commissioner. Students work in multidisciplinary (and often multicultural) teams in a trans-disciplinary way. This means that, based on the collection and analysis of academic data, the student team combines academic and practical knowledge to respond to the commissioner's question or challenge. The project is concluded with an academic consultancy advice for future actions for the commissioner.