Course ObjectiveThe objectives of this course are to:
- Become familiar with inter- and transdisciplinary research and
Community Service Learning (CSL)
- Acquire insight in the complexity of wicked problems and corresponding
- Be able to identify and integrate perspectives of different societal
actors in practice
- Gain (basic) experience with qualitative community-based research
methods (interviews, group discussions)
Course ContentIn the 21st century, we increasingly face complex societal challenges,
such as climate change, pollution, social segregation, digitalization,
and inequality in health, literacy, and wealth. These so-called ‘wicked’
problems transcend disciplines and involve a wide variety of actors.
This complexity often causes them to remain ill-defined, while a
universal definition is essential to addressing them effectively. Due to
their complex and inter-related nature, defining these challenges and
corresponding research questions requires an inter- and
transdisciplinary approach: integrating knowledge from different
academic disciplines and actively involving relevant actors at and
This course provides theoretical knowledge about, as well as practical
experience with, analyzing multi-actor systems and defining complex
societal challenges. It examines a large societal topic through
literature, (online) lectures, and interviews with societal actors.
The course builds up to a public event hosted by the students, at which
the actors are brought together. This allows for integration of their
different perspectives to jointly arrive at a widely embraced definition
of the issue which takes different stakes, perspectives and needs of the
actors into account. The definition of the issue and corresponding
research questions constitute the end product of the course, which will
be addressed in subsequent projects in the course ‘Interdisciplinary
Community Service Learning; Addressing Challenges through
Teaching Methods‘Interdisciplinary Community Service Learning; Defining Challenges in a
Multi-Stakeholder Context’ is a part-time course of eight weeks (3
ECTS). The total study time is approximately 80 hours. Tuition methods
include lectures (online/offline), workgroups, group project work, a
public event, and self-study.
The different elements have the following study time:
- Online lectures: 8 hours
- face-to-face meetings (lectures, workgroups and training, public
event): 22 hours
- project work (preparation of event, performing interview, assignments)
& reading (self-study): 50 hours
Please note that attendance to the workgroup sessions is compulsory. If
you miss one workgroup, with a good reason, you will receive an
additional assignment. If you miss more than one workgroup session it is
no longer possible to pass the project part of the course. Attending the
public event is mandatory, it will not be possible to pass the course
without having attended the Public Event.
Method of AssessmentThe course grade is based on two group grades for the end products: a
written report and the facilitation of the group discussion at the
Public Event. In addition, personal process performance is graded
individually. Each component of the grade needs to be 5.5 or higher to
pass the course.
LiteratureLiterature will be made available on Canvas at the start of the course.
Target AudienceThe course ‘Interdisciplinary Community Service Learning; Defining
Challenges in a Multi-Stakeholder Context’ is an elective within the
master program ‘Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in
Health and Life Sciences’, but it can be followed as an optional course
for master students from across the VU University.
Please contact the course coordinator prior to enrollment.
Additional InformationRegistration through VUnet
The entire course is in English
Explanation CanvasAll lectures, reading materials, videos, assignments and further
information will be provided on Canvas
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||Faculty of Science|
|Course Coordinator||dr. T.P. Groen|
|Examiner||prof. dr. M.B.M. Zweekhorst|
You need to register for this course yourself
Last-minute registration is available for this course.
|Teaching Methods||Lecture, Study Group|
This course is also available as: