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Oscar van den Wijngaard and Wilfred van Dellen, University College Maastricht

'Colleagues and Peers at University College Maastricht: collaboration and reciprocity as educational strategy'

The Think Tank project at University College Maastricht aims at establishing and utilizing several levels of collaboration and reciprocity in learning at once: between students, between students and staff, and between university and the local and regional community. During Think Tank, students work together in analyzing, researching and writing a policy recommendation for external clients, ranging from small private businesses to the city government of Maastricht.

Compared to other modules at UCM, Think Tank is different for several reasons. One of those reasons is the use of space. Instead of meeting once or twice a week in a set timeslot and room, the students in Think Thank have their own office for 5 days a week and set up their own schedule. In addition, they regularly leave the UCM building to meet with the external client and experts in the field. As a result, part of the learning experience and the assessment takes place in a new and real-life setting.

In this workshop we will describe the project and the basic pedagogical ideas behind it, and then move on to an exercise-based hands-on part that allows for an exchange of ideas between participants, and an exploration of the possibilities of engaging students and staff in collaborative learning at their own institutions.


Photo of Oscar van den Wijngaard Oscar van den Wijngaard is coordinator of the PEERS Undergraduate Research Project of UCM, as well as coordinator of Academic Advising and a teacher. His academic background is in history and philosophy, but his current research focuses on social engagement and the University: is there a role for universities in fostering social engagement, and if so, on what grounds, and how can or should this be done? In his contributions to course and curriculum development at UCM, his focus is on developing opportunities for collaboration and reciprocity in learning.
Photo of Wilfred van Dellen Wilfred van Dellen graduated from Maastricht University in the field of Educational Psychology. Currently, he is a teacher, researcher and coordinator of the programme evaluations at University College Maastricht.
His specific interest is the development of expertise in students. With his research he focuses on the determinants of adaptive versus routine expertise, and specifically the development of innovative and/or efficient approaches that students take while studying. The aim of the research is to be able to detect and foster these different kinds of expertise in undergraduate students.