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Webinar Series: Challenge-based Education at University of Twente

Thursday 18 March 2021 / 10.00 - 11.30

4TU.CEE started a new webinar series on challenge-based-education at the 4TUs. We are looking forward to hearing from 4TU staff about their challenge-based initiatives and sharing our experiences! We wish to engage in an open debate about the best ways to implement challenge-based learning at the 4TUs. This time University of Twente is up.

Challenge-based education at the University of Twente ‚Ästinterdisciplinarity¬†at work¬†

Bachelor Module: Science to Society: From Idea to Prototype‚Äď Interdisciplinary Industry-linked Project /¬† K. Nizamis & Coralie Johnson.

  1. Bachelor Module: Science to Society: From Idea to Prototype‚Äď Interdisciplinary Industry-linked Project /¬† K. Nizamis & Coralie Johnson.
    This Bachelor Minor Module of 15 ECs (part of the 30 EC minor package from Science 2 Society), funnels students from all 5 bachelor programmes of  the UT, into a selection of authentic challenges presented by a variety of industrial and academic partners. Students from different disciplines, work together in groups of six to tackle the challenges, sustained by topical lectures that expose students to useful knowledge and skills. The presentation will delineate the challenges and value perceptions related to ID education of the teachers and students, as well as possible solutions to some of the issues highlighted in the study.
  2. MSc Programme Spatial Engineering ‚Äď using challenges in education¬†/ Thomas Groen¬†
    This Master programme is completely built around challenges. Spatial engineering is an interdisciplinary field. Most students in the programme have a BSc in one of the involved disciplines. Students also differ in nationality and culture (25% Dutch, 25% other western countries, 50% non-western countries). The presentation will focus on the design of the CBL-based programme, the challenges offered and the successes and difficulties of interdisciplinary (and strongly international) student groups. 

CBL - Discussion 

Both projects have a strong focus on interdisciplinarity within CBL, the added value of interdisciplinary student teams and the challenges and limitations that still exist. In the discussion we will explore the possibilities of stretching the limits of interdisciplinarity by sharing experiences and exploring new ideas. 


10:00 – 10:05:

Welcome and start 

10:05 – 10:30:

Coralie Johnson ‚Äď Module Consumer products; presentation and Q & A

Kostas Nizamis - Assistant Professor in Multidisciplinary Design

10:30 – 10:55:

Thomas Groen ‚Äď Master Spatial Engineering; presentation and Q & A

10:55 – 11:15:

Break-out groups

11:15 – 11:30:

Plenary discussion and Wrap-up


Coralie Johnson MSc 

Coralie Johnson is an¬†experienced¬†international¬†teacher¬†who is now employed as an¬†educational consultant,¬†at the Centre¬†of¬†Expertise in Learning and Teaching¬†at the University of Twente. She is¬†currently¬†contributing to a¬†Comenius¬†Project¬†at the UT;¬†STRIPES 2021 ‚Äď where¬†a study is under way to¬†support teacher teams in redesigning their¬†interdisciplinary¬†modules in a structured and evidence informed way.¬†The module described for this webinar is¬†a¬†part of that study.¬†¬†¬† K. Nizamis 

Kostas Nizamis is an Assistant Professor in Multidisciplinary Design at the Design, Production, & Management (DPM) department at the University of Twente. As a graduate of both Electrical/Computer Engineering (M.Eng) and Biomedical Engineering (MSc.), he has first-hand experience in multidisciplinary collaboration. His current research interests involve the application of multidisciplinary design approaches and methods in the development and validation of novel technologies that address high-impact societal problems. He is strongly committed to educational innovation through the implementation of challenge-based learning in order to bridge education with research and industry. As the coordinator of the HTHT Minor Science 2 Society, he applies Challenge-Based Learning principles to facilitate interdisciplinary learning. 

Dr. Thomas Groen 

Dr. Thomas Groen is an ecologist that graduated from Wageningen on tropical nature conservation in 2001 and subsequently obtained a PhD degree in the same direction in 2007. Since then he has been working at the Natural resources department of the faculty ITC where he is involved in education and research related to nature conservation and natural resources management. He obtained his senior university teaching qualification on the acceptance of student centred learning by international students in 2017. He was involved from the onset in 2017 in the development and teaching in the Masters programme Spatial Engineering. Since 2020 het is the programme director of this Master.

About the webinar series

This new webinar series will explore the many forms and variants of challenge-based education at the 4 Technical Universities in the Netherlands. Challenge-based education is propagated as ‚ÄúThe framework for Education‚ÄĚ preparing students for addressing complex challenges forwarded in the sustainable development goals. These represent the most significant challenges in society, such as climate change, covid 19 and many others in need of technological or other creative and innovative solutions. A challenge typically proposes a real-world and authentic challenge, creating deep, meaningful and purposeful learning, while bridging the gap between academia and society. Yet many questions on how to best realise this type of education remain. Therefore 4TU proposes a series of best practices of Challenge-based learning within each institution and an open debate on specific aspects of the challenge-based learning, and it‚Äôs many remaining questions in dire need of substantial educational research.

We are looking forward to hearing from 4TU staff about their challenge based initiatives and experiences and sharing our experiences! We wish to engage in an open debate about the best ways to implement Challenge-based learning at 4TU. We’ll meet you on the following dates: 

  • TU Delft ‚Äď 16 February 9.30 ‚Äď 11.30 | What type of challenges work best for education; design brief & stakeholder involvement
  • University of Twente ‚Äď 18 March 10.00 ‚Äď 11.30 | Interdisciplinarity at work
  • Eindhoven University of Technology - 14 April 9.00 -11.00 | TU/e innovation Space
  • Wageningen University - 19 May 9.00 - 11.00 | Personal/Professional development; a support course for challenge-based education and exploring the preparation and learning outcomes of WUR challenges
  • International Contribution ‚Äď June¬†

Practical details


18 March 2021


10.00 -11.30h




Free of charge for anyone working at 4TU.
Please note that the webinar is initially meant for 4TU staff. If sufficient place is available staff from other universities can also participate. This will be known one week before the webinar takes place.