Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Project introduction and background information

Building on an existing course (Agroforestry, taught in roughly the same form about 10 years) we redesigned our advanced MSc-level course to do justice to the complexity and to meet the growing interest in this topic. Specifically, we aimed to expand the course (from 3 to 6 ECTS), broaden the scope to include multiple relevant disciplines, and to deepen the scope (from theory to application). Also we wanted to include more diverse teaching methods and be resilient to growing student numbers.

Objective and expected outcomes

For the redesign we built on an existing course and innovated by:

-       Expanding the original course from 3 to 6 credits

-       Broaden the scope and do justice to the interdisciplinarity and complexity of the topic

-       Deepen the scope (from theory to application) and make knowledge more readily applicable by integrating practice and more hands-on activities

-       Make the course 'future-proof' with increasing student numbers

Results and learnings

Teaching innovation is a creative process, it is a lot of fun, but also costs a lot of time. The design workshop we had at the start of the process proved to be pivotal for the teaching team (diverse backgrounds and career stages) to create a common vision. This workshop aimed to stimulate innovation by bringing together the main stakeholders (teachers, experts and students) in an intensive one-day workshop ('pressurecooker') and was skilfully facilitated by educational experts of Wageningen University,  see also LINK. I learned how important it is to create a common vision, we developed a rough course outline which could then be further developed in more detail. 

Our new course  does better justice to the complexity of the topic (agroforestry) and stimulates critical thinking about sustainability solutions. We employ a mix of diverse and innovative teaching methods, to which many teachers and experts have contributed.

Some examples:

- a nested group structure stimulated social cohesion when teaching moved online during the pandemic

- the peek-app was used for our newly developed excursion in the Wageningen surroundings. This interactive app makes excursions more fun, students can plan the excursion flexibly, and saves time for teachers, see also LINK

- we use blended learning methods, where our excursions were built on a mix of online interactive methods,  'real-world' experience and on campus activities

- we use student-facilitated debates

- design assignment with SWOT analysis, see LINK

We have a course that is well evaluated, can handle large groups (100 students) and has proved to be flexible in online and hybrid form as well (teaching during the pandemic). We keep improving our course based on experiences and feedback we get from students.


There is much support by educational experts at Universities, reach out to them when you are (re)designing a course

Co-creating a vision with the teaching team, students, study programme directors and educational experts is crucial for success, designing education is not something one can do alone

Practical outcomes

(Mostly) happy students :)