Masters of Didactics

Master of Didactics

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About the project

Standing in front of groups going from 20 to even 1000 students in the context of traditional lectures is no exception in a university context (Wood & Tanner, 2012). Indeed, lecturing is still the primary instructional strategy for knowledge transfer in higher education; a professor is a “sage on the stage” in front of a class and shows slides while students listen and take notes. But, lectures seem to have some shortcomings, such as a lack of (1) student engagement, (2) critical thinking among students, and (3) high attendance rates (Schmidt et al., 2015; Grant & Gedeon, 2019).

This rather traditional education approach is not surprising! For decades, performing research has been considered as the main task of university staff in contrast to investing in up-to-date educational practices. But, nowadays, “universities have been criticised for this intense focus on research which has sometimes been said to have been at the cost to their mandate to educate” (Remenyi, Grant, & Singh, 2019). That is why there is an increasing call for more attention to lecturers’ instructional competences, partly determined by the prevailing constructivist idea that students learn by doing as well as by many innovations (e.g., blended learning) and challenges (e.g., teaching diverse student populations) that require continuous change in education (Kezar & Eckel, 2004).

As a result, in the context of the Masters of Didactics (MOD) project (2018 – 2021), the Department of Educational Studies develops, implements, and researches a professionalisation programme for (Polish) university teachers that zooms in on innovative (whether or not technology-supported) teaching, assessment, and feedback practices. We want to convince them of the fact that university teachers must think like a student-centred TUTOR when they have (1) one-to-one, (2) small group, and (3) large classroom meetings with students. A student-centred TUTOR must have (1) (meta-)cognitive competences (e.g., stimulating knowledge development by asking questions and offering help), (2) social-communicative competences (e.g., building a safe and pleasant learning environment), and (3) organisational competences (e.g., managing of time or interactions during lectures/collaboration processes of students) (Van Keer, n.d.).


A three-part professionalisation programme

Component A

This component entails a 5-day study visit at Ghent University (± 40 hours). During such a visit, a group of max. 25 teachers – who are affiliated to different academic disciplines and several Polish higher education institutions – are offered a well-thought-out week schedule covering a range of educational topics, going from ‘how to activate your students during lectures?’ on Tuesday morning to the use of educational technology during the Thursday sessions. In total, we will welcome 18 groups in the period March 2019 – June 2021.


Component B

The subsequent part encompasses an online booster entailing about 20 working hours. In this online component, the university teachers are asked to write a report on the educational innovation project they plan to set up based on all the content they have learned during the 5-day study visit. Personal feedback on their project is provided both by the programme trainers as well as by two of their cohort peers (peer feedback).


Component C

The last component consists of the ‘Good practice days’ that are organised in Poland. Between six months and a year after their study visits at Ghent University, three or four cohorts come together during a 2x2-day meeting. First, a two-day meeting for all the university teachers from the alpha sciences (i.e. arts and philosophy, law, economics and business administration, psychology and educational sciences, political and social sciences) takes place. Second, a two-day meeting for the teachers from the beta (i.e. sciences, applied sciences, bioscience engineering) and gamma sciences (i.e. medicine and health sciences, veterinary medicine, pharmaceutical sciences) of the three or four cohorts is organised. During these ‘good practice days’, the university teachers exchange real-life practices and experiences regarding their innovation project. Additionally, demand-oriented workshops are offered.



After successful completion of the MoD-programme, the participants should be able to:

  • Act as a student-centred and tutor-oriented university teacher when designing and implementing teaching, learning, assessment, and feedback activities.
  • Build up educational activities according to the constructive alignment principle.
  • Create a positive, activating learning environment.
  • Define active-oriented learning objectives for their course unit(s).
  • Activate students during lectures and small-group activities, whether or not supported by technology.
  • Act as a tutor when organising collaborative learning activities.
  • Design and implement tutor-oriented assessment and feedback practices according to the ‘assessment FOR learning’ paradigm.
  • Use educational technologies in the context of their course unit(s).
  • Design a blended and/or flipped learning environment.
  • Activate students’ prior knowledge.
  • Differentiate with regard to learning materials, group division, learning objectives, instructional and assessment strategies in order to meet the needs of a heterogenous student group.
  • Act as a quality guard who continuously reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of his/her own educational practice.
  • Disseminate educational practices and experiences to colleagues.


European collaboration

The MoD project is a collaboration between Ghent University and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.



European Funds – Knowledge Education Development, The Republic of Poland, European Social Fund

 Financiers MOD


Prof. dr. Martin Valcke – head of the department Educational Studies

Dr. Britt Adams – trainer and postdoctoral researcher in the MoD-project

Dr. Laura Thomas – trainer and postdoctoral researcher in the MoD-project