Active Teaching: What is the ACTIVO Project?
You might already be a great supporter of active teaching and active learning, or you might even implement active teaching and assessment methods in your own teaching practice. With the ACTIVO project Ghent University aims for a university-wide implementation of active teaching. This Education Tip describes how Ghent University gives shape to and implements the ACTIVO project.
What is Active Teaching?
In line with Ghent University's education policy active teaching at our university is given the following definition:
Active teaching at Ghent University stands for a teaching practice in which students put their proactive disposition into practice by helping to shape the learning activities in a constructive way. The students' own experiences, opinions and preferences are seen as an enrichment of the learning environment. By means of evidence-based active teaching and assessment methods Ghent University aims to encourage students' engagement in order to realize optimal learning opportunities, competency development and success rate. The students' engagement finds expression on several levels: (1) the behavioural level: students display active commitment and perseverance, (2) the emotional level: students are enthusiastic and socially involved in their learning process, and (3) the cognitive level: starting from a thorough knowledge of their field of study, students feel capable to use the appropriate learning strategies and to familiarize themselves with the university's "Dare to Think" credo.
Implementing active teaching does not mean that all lecturers need to redesign their entire teaching practice. Ghent University supports and coaches study programmes and lecturers in that process. The goal is to come to an ideal mix of didactic and assessment methods for an optimal attainment of the learning outcomes/final competencies. Of course, Ghent University takes into account the study programmes', lecturers', and students' capacity, both in terms of staff and of funding.
The ACTIVO project uses the constructive alignment principle (cf. figure 1). That principle aims to attain and to assess the learning outcomes/final competencies as efficiently and effectively as possible by aligning the didactic and assessment methods. Constructive alignment is then put into practice by means of active teaching.
Figure 1: constructive alignment
Why Call Upon Us?
We present our support services by means of a menu. It gives an schematic overview of all the support services our team has to offer.
We identify five priorities with an emphasis on Active Teaching. Our support services are tailored to specific target groups: study programmes, teams of lecturers as well as individual lecturers can use the interactive image to find the appropriate support services. On the menu you will find workshops, learning pathways, methods, ... to professionalize and develop your teaching practice further.
Throughout its running time the ACTIVO project brought us new education-related challenges. This means that we will also address your questions on blended education or education innovation. Click on your faculty icon to get in touch with your faculty’s education developer.
A Little History
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Since August 2018 the Education Department has an ACTIVO team consisting of four staff members or "ACTIVOS". Together, they have:
- shaped the methodology and corresponding tools;
- fine-tuned the methodology and implemented it in co-operation with four pilot study programmes (BSc in Biomedical Sciences, BSc in Engineering Technology, BSc in Bioindustrial Sciences and BSc in Criminology);
- started working with four additional pilot study programmes (BSc in Mathematics, Master's Programme in Teaching, BA in Linguistics and Literature and BSc in Business Engineering) in order to involve a broader spectrum of academic disciplines.
In 2019 seven ACTIVO liaison officers were hired to support and help implement the project university-wide. The liaison officers are the faculties' first point of contact with regard to active teaching. The role of the four ACTIVOS at central level is more focused on development and co-ordination. Together, the ACTIVOS and the liaison officers facilitate the implementation of active teaching at study programme level. They aim for a tailor-made approach that suits the different faculties' culture and identity. The study programmes then set to work with the faculty framework and flesh it out with their own smaller-scaled initiatives (e.g. the use of active teaching methods such as post-its or voting systems) or with more large-scale innovations (e.g. case studies, learning pathways). The Education Department (in Dutch: DOWA) inspires via good practices and supports the process with an offer of professional development initiatives.
Want to Know More?
- find out more about the content and the timing of our ambitious, future-oriented ACTIVO project in the Action Plan Active Teaching (in Dutch);
- get in touch with the ACTIVO team via email@example.com
- get in touch with the faculty liaison officers: see Liaison Officers for Faculty Education Support