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.  

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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 practive 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 proces, 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 with which the learning outcomes/final competencies can be optimally attained. Of course, Ghent University takes into account the study programmes', lecturers, and students' capacity, both staffwise and financially. 

The ACTIVO project works according to the principle of constructive alignment-principe (cf. figure 1). That principle aims to attain and to assess the learning oucomes/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

ACTIVOs and Antennae

Since August 2018 the Department of Educational Policy has a ACTIVO team consisting of four staff members or "ACTIVOS" The ACTIVOS are Astrid VermeerschBieke De VriezeEvi Van Mol & Sarah Slock. Together, they have:

  • shaped the methodology and corresponding tools; 
  • finetuned the methodology and implemented it in cooperation 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. 

Since 2019 seven ACTIVO Antennae were hired to support and help implement the project university-wide. The Antennae 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 coordination. Together, the ACTIVOS and the Antennae 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 go to work with the faculty framework and flesh it out with their own smaller-scaled initiatives (e.g. the use of active didactic methods such as post-its or voting systems) or with more large-scale innovations (e.g. case teaching, learning pathways). The Departiment of Educational Policy (in Dutch: DOWA) inspires via good practices and supports the process with an offer of professional development initiatives. 


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Last modified May 11, 2022, 10:46 a.m.