2.1 Didactic approach and learning environment

The teaching-learning environment of the programme is based upon the university-wide Twente Educational Model (Twents Onderwijsmodel, TOM in Dutch). Since its implementation in 2013, the TOM model has become a hallmark of the education provided at the UT incorporating key elements such as student-driven learning, project-based education, and interdisciplinarity, and is positively appreciated by students.

Recent developments of the TOM model introduced more flexibility in the module organisation. Modules can be organized according to the principle of integration where components are integrated in the project. In the MS&T programme, that structure is kept, for instance, in modules 1, 2, 5 and 6. Alternatively, modules can be organized according to the principle of coherence, around the central theme of a module, where some components may not be directly integrated in the project. Modules 3 and 4 are organized according to the principle of coherence, where the Statistics component (Data analysis I and Data analysis II) is taught separately. The students are satisfied with the new arrangements which have improved the feasibility of the student programme. 

Project-based work in thematic modules supports student-driven learning through the possibility to tailor the topics of the projects to the students interest. The project-based education results in diverse outcomes such as developing an analysis and visualization of a complex societal challenge (M2), elaborating a policy advice (M3), or designing a behavioural intervention (M8). Project-based education lends itself well to the integration of the theoretical components towards developing the solution to the research problem, to the use of design-perspectives in instruction, and to the development of collaboration and team-work skills which are crucial 21st century skills. Group-work and individual work are separately assessed, as is further explained in Standard 3.

Interdisciplinarity is cultivated throughout the MS&T programme. The module projects originally started from integrating the founding disciplines of political science, sociology, economics and law, and developed into the interdisciplinary cores of public administration: public policy, public governance, and public management. Our programme addresses specifically the role of technology and digital transformation in societal steering, where technology is studied 1) as a driver that leads to the emergence of challenges, and 2) as well as an instrument for the development of policy solutions – from a PA perspective - to these challenges.