Explore your options, from study to career

Course Explore your options, from study to career
Program name Course for the master students from the Faculty of Science
Student count So far 144 per academic year
One-sentence summary of course content This course focuses on the exploration of your personal study and career options.
Challenge Because the course doesn’t have credit points, the no-show is rather high, 40%.
Intervention We would like to offer this course as part of a bigger academic and professional skills course which is under development.
Evaluation The students are very positive about the course. The course had an overall grade of 8.6.
Related Topics

Interview with Marly van den Boom

Could you tell something about this new course? (e.g. context and learning goals)
Master students are about to graduate and will soon step into a new phase of their life. Many career questions arise in this period: What do I want out of a career? What am I capable of? What possibilities are out there and how do I to deal with all the insecurities along the way? This course is developed to give them tools to start this search and find answer to these questions. After this course students are able to take responsibility of their choice process and have an increased self-knowledge. They have explored career opportunities both in and outside the academic professional field.

In what way was this course blended? Why did you choose this approach?
We approach the course very interactive. Students work individually, in duo’s and with the whole group. There is a lot of interaction, moments to self-reflect and we offer several out-of-the-box work forms.  Sometimes they look a bit puzzled but in the end they realize that it really helped them to get further in their career development process. They get inspired in a different way than they are used to. A few examples:

  • In the first session we ask the students to pitch themselves in one minute (you are at your first job interview, the first question they ask: “tell us something about yourself.” What would you tell?).
  • Another example is that we tell the following story: Imagine that you are on a different planet, there are no limits concerning time, money, knowledge. You can be anybody or anything you like, how would that planet look like, who or what would you be?

Are you satisfied with the result? (e.g. design, learning activities, student participation)
This course has a very interactive set-up which allows the students to reflect on themselves, share thoughts and ideas with their peers, learn ways to discover their values and interests and investigate their career possibilities. The trainers offer a safe environment in which students feel free to be open about their thoughts and insecurities and create an atmosphere in which students can grow.

How was the students’ experience? Did they like it and/or did they perform better?
Students are very positive and enthusiastic about the course. They don’t have a lot of experience with this interactive way of learning. In the beginning they can be a bit hesitant but with some encouragement they are very eager to put their energy and time in the interactive work methods. One of the students said in the evaluation:

What did you think of the process? Did you like creating a course in this way?
The course is developed by Laura Koenders (lecturer Psychobiology, trainer TLC), Meike Heeremans (student career counselor, SCC) and Marly van den Boom (study adviser and career counselor Faculty of Science). The combination of us made the development of this course a very inspiring and motivating process. Everyone brought in their knowledge and experience which lead to a very well balanced course.

Is there anything you learned that you would like to share with other teachers?
Developing a course with people from different backgrounds is very helpful. Everyone shed their light from a different point of view which makes the training very well thought through.
Students are very eager to learn and are willing to open up and think and act out of the box as long as you offer a safe environment to learn and grow.

Do you recommend this approach to other lecturers? Why?
Yes, because it is inspiring to work closely together with colleagues and also you get a lot in return from the students.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you would like to know more about the course or work methods, please feel free to contact me.