Dealing with diversity

Enhancing the academic level of Communication and Persuasion

SHORT DESCRIPTION

The course Communication and Persuasion has been focussing on the basic principles of persuasion. The learning outcomes focussed on lower levels of complexity and specificity (i.e. mainly comprehension). The current course does not fit the needs of the two student groups: the BCL (B2) students already master the basic principles of persuasion from previous courses, and the BBC (B3) students are already experienced in acquiring knowledge through studying scientific papers. For both students groups, the course needs to be more challenging and adequately fit their study program, experience and interest. More specifically, BCL students need to be challenged in acquiring knowledge through scientific papers, and BBC students need to be challenged using empirical cases. We propose to seek this challenge in enhancing the overall academic level of the course, by addressing learning outcomes on higher levels of complexity and specificity (i.e. evaluation and analysis). Two types of project activities can be distinguished: ICT-related activities that facilitate the learning process, and content-related activities that form the core of the learning process.

The project proposed two types of activities: ICT related and Content.

1. ICT:

  • select a devise that works well for students and connects their way of interacting

2. Content:

  • Selecting scientific papers
  • Designing lectures
  • Groupwork with commissioners
  • Exam with mixed (closed and open ended) set-up

 The project was implemented along the lines of these activities. We were able to:

  • Work with PeerWise as an online tool that allowed students to test their knowledge by answering and developing questions.
  • The new set-up of the course resulted in a thematic structure, through which different scientific disciplines involved in persuasive communication could be included.
  • We worked with 11 commissioners who provided 17 assignments.
  • We developed an exam with a mixed set-up.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this innovation is to enhance the academic level of Communication and Persuasion, by adequately -and in a for students challenging way- fulfilling the newly formulated learning outcomes for both (BCL and BBC) student groups without differentiation.

STRONG POINTS

  • A course that is timely and up to date, showing a wide range of relevant perspectives on persuasion for both BBC and BCL students.
  • No complains about annoying overlap by the students.
  • Students felt the course was relevant and challenging.

Most important indicators: The satisfaction rate was (overall) 3.8, for BBC 3.6 and for BCL 4.0. In the past this was lower. And the level was seen as just right (77%) or even higher (20%). While in the past the level was seen as low. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Do develop and implement innovation in a small team, especially with large courses (3 people)
  • Discuss set-up, possible changed learning outcomes, with colleagues, program director, program committee representatives.
  • Create a clear structure of the course that is easy to understand for students.
  • If you revise a course make sure you revise all aspects or at least that the aspects of the course that are not revised are adjusted to the new set-up. (e.g. new lectures might require a different type of exam/exam questions). Which is thus not only about the content but also about the how.
  • If you use ICT based education, make sure it has added value to the students.

For more information or recommendations, please contact Jasper de Vries.

PRODUCTS

We share our experiences in many meetings. That is key in knowledge sharing. Based on follow-up questions or conversations materials from our course can be used by others, please contact Jasper de Vries.