Modules of the design track

Manhattan project

The Manhattan project was the first great project that was carried out in the US. Its goal was to make an atomic bomb that could be used in the war. This weapon was used in fact, as you know on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Manhattan Project had a special historical setting: there was war and people feared that the Germans would be able to finish an atomic bomb before their defeat. It is about a fearsome weapon – there are deep ethical questions associated with it. How did the engineers and scientists deal with these questions? What did the public think of it? How was the public informed about the weapon? The project was led by the American military – how did this fact influence the evolution of the project? The essential finding that leads to the atomic bomb was the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938. Seven years later the first bombs exploded: the very first test was successful. Is this the standard course of affairs?

General information

This course will take place in the third quartile of your first year.


Picture of Miko ElwenspoekMiko Elwenspoek studied physics at the Freie Universität Berlin and completed his studies there with a research on the physics of fluids in 1978. After two years’ work on biophysics, he promoted on the dynamics of fluid metals and alloys at the same university in 1983. He then moved to the Netherlands to do research on the growth of organic cristals from a solution at the (then) Catholic University of Nijmegen.In 1987, he became a lecturer at the University of Twente and in 1996, a full professor of Transduction Technics as the department of Electrical Engineering. At the moment, he holds the chair of Transducers Science and Technology and is connected to both the MESA+ and IMPACT institute. His research towards microsystems recieved the Simon Steving Meesterschap award in 1997. He is (co)auteur of more than 200 articles in international scientific journals and two books. In 2002, he received the award for best teacher in Electrical Engineering, and later was, among others, responsible for the establishment of the study of Advanced Technology at the UT. Besides, he was one of the founders of the Honours programme and will act as the head of the Excellence programme of the UT for the coming years.

flood safety in the Netherlands

The delta works are a huge project, started in response to the flood of 1953. It was declared finished several times, but opened again due to the increasing sea level. Now a new committee works on this problem.
This module examines the technological and scientific challenges that existed (and will exist). Many questions will be addressed: How was the project organized? How was the project funded? What is important in a flood plan? What are the problems that are expected by rising sea level? Which scenarios play a role in political decision?

General information

This course will take place in the fourth quartile of your first year.


Maarten Krol is researcher and lecturer at the research group of Water Engineering & Management at the University of Twente. His interests are water availability and the vulnerability of water ecosystems in North-East Brazil (WAVES), and the global changes in the hydrological cycle of the Elbe delta. Besides, he also studies the impact of climate change on the use of knowledge during decision-making. In 1985, he obtained his degree to teach mathematics to higher second degree pupils at the University of Utrecht, and in the same year obtained his masters in Applied Mathematics at the same university. In 1990, also in Utrecht, he finished his research in Applied Mathematics with the title of ‘The Method of Practical Averaging in Partial Differential Equations.’

Arjen Hoekstra (1967) is professor Multidisciplinary Water Management and scientific director of the Water Footprint Network. He started his career at the Technical University of Delft, where he obtained his MSc, cum laude, in Civil Engineering, and a PhD in Policy Analysis. During the course of his career, he visited over fifty countries and has worked in different academic environments, giving him a large and diverse network across the globe. Now, he partakes in a variety of interdisciplinary research projects, which focus on economy, anthropology, political sciences, civil engineering, and the environment.
He thought up the Water Footprint Concept in 2002, and established an interdisciplinary field of Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade Analysis, which studies the field between water management, consumption, and trade. In this role, he was also the joint founder of the Water Footprint Network in 2008.
He teaches courses on a variety of topics, among which are water resources management, river basin and coastal zone management, hydrology and water quality, sustainable development, natural resources valuation, environmental systems analysis, and policy analysis. He devised a different number of educational tools, such as the River Basin Game and the Globalization of Water Role Play. His scientific publications cover a large field of topics related to water management and contain a large amount of peer-reviewed articles and chapters. He has also published a number of books, among which are Perspectives on Water (International Books, 1998), Globalization of Water (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) and The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (Earthscan, 2011).

Instructional design

Twente Academy organizes master classes for high school students (VWO). The master classes are based on research done at our university. They involve lectures from UT members, schoolwork, homework, and often doing experiments in the UT learner lab.
In this course, you will design, in teams, learning activities for (parts of) a master class. You will be asked to systematically identify the learning wishes and needs of the users (students and teachers) and design a coherent set of learning materials. As part of the assignment, a faculty member, a schoolteacher, a learner lab assistant, or you will try out your design.
The following questions are central in this module: What vision on learning and teaching is underpinning your design? What are the learning goals of your lesson series? What learning and instructional strategies are put central? What is the role of technology? How do you want to assess whether the learners have reached the learning goals? What support do the teachers need for an optimal implementation of your design?
By designing your learning activities and by reflecting on that process and its outcomes, you will gain more insight in your own experiences as designer, learner, and (possibly) teacher.

General information

This course will take place in the first quartile of your second year.


Jan van der Meij (1970) is assistant professor at the research group of Instruction Technology. After becoming a qualified teacher in electronics and obtaining his master’s degree in Applied Educational Sciences, he worked at the educational software design department of the National Centre for Innovation of Education and Training in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Afterwards, he started his PhD project at the University of Twente in 2001 and became a full-time employee in 2006. He defended his thesis entitled “Support for learning with multiple representations: Designing simulation-based learning environments” in 2007.
His research interests are with learning with different dynamic representations in simulation based education environments based on learning by questioning. He has special interest in the ways in which to support students in the process of relating different representations and the translation between them. Moreover, he gives cognitive and motivational help in pedagogics.

Irene Visscher-Voerman has been head of the bachelor Onderwijskunde and the master Educational Science & Technology since 2007. As head, she is responsible for the quality of both courses, their content and the coherence of the programme. She does so together with the teachers, the chair holders, the education committee, and the exam committee. Moreover, she is responsible for both the recruitment and public relations towards the (future) students. In addition, she acts as a guest teacher on differing topics and guides students with research or design assignments.
She started her studies in Applied Educational Science in 1988, and completed them in 1993 with a doctoral degree. From 1993 till 2009 she worked at the department of Curriculum Design and Education Innovation as both researcher and teacher. She promoted in 1999 on the topic of Design Approaches in Training and Education: A Reconstructive Approach. During her career, she was the recipient of a number of awards, among which are the award of the magazine Educational Technology, Research and Development for the best article in 2004, the EDMM education award ‘Leiden en begeleiden' in 2003 and the UT education award 'Onderwijs en kwaliteit' in 1999.


Globally the powers are shifting, the population is ageing, resources are becoming scarce, more and more people are living in (mega) cities, new media are emerging, new forms of mobility become available. What do we need to influence and/or adapt to all these changes?
We believe it is YOU that we need!
The solutions to such questions come from multidisciplinary approaches to design. In this project you will thus engage yourself in such an approach. This includes: thinking outside the box, exploring the limits of your own expertise, finding the expertise of others, designing solutions, et cetera.

General information

For this module (lasting two quartiles), you work alone or in small groups (max. 4), choose a topic from within or outside of your regular study that catches your interest, and design a product related to it. These designs can thus range from more technical to more social, but should ALWAYS take into account both aspects. You will be inspired in this process by lectures from designers, entrepreneurs, innovators. You will be guided in this process by the teachers of this module and a range of experts (including you!), that you can consult with on matters such as user-analysis, economic calculations, technical aspects, market analysis, etc.
The end result will be an application to a design award (we will use the format of the “iF public value student award” and a short justification report in which you explain and justify why the design is as it is.
The meetings during these two quartiles are used to exchange ideas and to present your most recent ideas, findings, designs, and overall progress. Another important aspect of these meetings is that you help each other by being the expert on your own area.
This course will take place in the second and third quartile of your second year (thus taking two quartiles).


Gertjan Koster is an associate professor (Adjunct Hoogleraar) in Physics of Complex Inorganic nano-materials. His research focuses on the structure-property relation of atomically engineered complex (nano)materials, especially thin film ceramic oxides. Current research includes the growth and study of artificial materials, the physics of reduced scale (nanoscale) materials, metal-insulator transitions and in situ photoelectron spectroscopy. This research includes (multi)ferroic, piezoelectric, magnetic and correlated electron complex oxide materials. Koster graduated in Applied Physics (MsC and PhD) and has worked at Stanford University and the University of British Colombia and currently teaches materials science courses for AT, TN, ST, ChE, TG.

Hedwig te Molder is full professor Science Communication at the University of Twente where she is based at the Philosophy Department. She also has a personal chair at the Strategic Communication group (Section Communication, Philosophy and Technology) at Wageningen University. Her work focuses on how people communicate issues of science and technology in their everyday lives, using discursive psychology and conversation analysis. She published more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters. In 2007 she received the Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association for Conversation and Cognition (Cambridge University Press, 2005, with Jonathan Potter). In the same year she received an award from Wageningen University for excellent teaching. She was Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2009) and Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna (2015).

Jasper Homminga studied Biomechanical Engineering, and got his PhD on the mechanics of osteoporotic bone. He currently works at the Biomechanical Engineering group at the University of Twente, where he specializes in the mechanics of the spine. Current research topics include the ageing spine (disc degeneration, osteoporosis), and the younger spine (scoliosis).
He teaches several mechanics courses in Biomedical Engineering, Technical Medicine, and ATLAS. Apart from these direct teaching activities, he was and is heavily involved in the design of both the Biomedical Engineering curriculum and the ATLAS curriculum.

Wytske Versteeg is a PhD-student with Hedwig te Molder. Her research focuses on negotiations about knowledge rights as seen in controversies such as those surrounding vaccination, food and ADHD. She is particularly interested in the everyday moralities that are often implicitly present in such discussions, or in other words: how debates about what is right influence discussions about what is (not) true. Versteeg conducted research for several Dutch knowledge institutions such as WRR, PBL and RIVM, graduated cum laude in political science and is also a successful novelist.

Design synthesis

Many of us have or will find ourselves working in organizations and teams that require the conceptualization and realization of innovative solutions to future challenges. Our future society will be confronted with important challenges such as Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Urbanization, Connecting People, Sustainable Growth and Acces to food and clean water. Technological and Scientific progress offers a rapid succession of novel materials and scientific results. As designers of future technologies, we need to help people deal with change.
The aim of this course is to empower people in a fast changing world.
In this course, we explore issues, challenges, and opportunities facing people and society today and in the near future. We consider when and why it makes sense to create innovative solutions to support people in a fast changing world, and the impact of advances in nano-, robo-, neuro, bio and info- technology (NRNBIT) on the design of a next generation of systems and objects.
We will gain hands-on experience with technologies to conceptualize and prototype approachable objects that address a core challenge and are inspired by recent advances in NRNBIT. By the end of this course, students should better understand the process of truly understanding people, and design thinking, be able to think strategically about issues such as creativity, design and the impact of design on people and society, and gain insights for successfully creating technology to address major societal challenges.

General information

This course will take place in the fourth quartile of your second year.


Peter-Paul Verbeek (1970) is professor of philosophy of technology and chair of the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. He is also chairman of the ‘Young Academy’, which is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Dutch Council for the Humanities and of the board of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. Verbeek is an editor of Tijdschrift voor Filosofie and De Academische Boekengids, and a member of the editorial board of SATS. Journal for Northern Philosophy and of the scientific advisory board of Philosophy & Technology. From 2010 until 2012 he held the Socrates chair at Delft University of Technology. Fall 2006 he was guest professor at Aarhus University, Denmark.
Verbeeks research focuses on the social and cultural roles of technology and the ethical and anthropological aspects of human-technology relations. He recently published the book Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things (University of Chicago Press, 2011), in which he analyzes the moral significance of technologies, and its implications for ethical theory and for design practices. He is also the author of What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (Penn State University Press, 2005), which investigates how technologies mediate human actions and experiences, with applications to industrial design. He is co-editor of the volume User Behavior and Technology Design – Shaping Sustainable Relations between Consumers and Technologies (Springer, 2006) about the interaction between technology and behavior, and its relevance to technology design and environmental policy.
Having finished the project Technology and the Matter of Morality, about the moral significance of technologies, and its implications for ethical theory and the ethics of technology design (NWO VENI grant 2003), he is now working on the project ‘Technology and the limits of humanity: the ethics and anthropology of posthumanism’, about human enhancement technology and its ethical and anthropological implications (NWO VIDI grant 2007). Beside this, he is working on the following projects:

  • Telecare at Home: MVI (Socially Responsible Innovation) project on telecare technologies and their mediating role in practices of illness and care (co-applicant)
  • The Performative and Relational Abilities of Things: NWO project (pilot project, PhD in Fine Arts), conducted by Ms. Yvonne Dröge Wendel (supervisor / promotor)
  • Thinking Space: an interdisciplinary approach to the spatial dimension of Ambient Intelligence (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Vanessa Evers is a full professor of Computer Science at the University of Twente’s Human Media Interaction group. She received a M.SC. in Information Systems from the University of Amsterdam, and a Ph. D. from the Open University, UK. During her Master studies she spent two years at the Institute of Management Information Studies of the University of New South Wales, Sydney. After her Ph.D. she has worked for the Boston Consulting Group, London and later became an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute of Informatics. She was a visiting researcher at Stanford University (2005-2007). Her research interests focus on on interaction with intelligent and autonomous systems such as robots or machine learning systems as well as cultural aspects of Human Computer Interaction. She has published over 80 peer reviewed publications, many of which in high quality journals and conferences in human computer interaction and human robot interaction. She serves on Program Committees of HRI, HSI, CSCW and ACM Multimedia. Vanessa won the best thesis prize awarded by the Dutch National Society of Registered Information Specialists, was co-author of the James Chen best paper award of the journal on User Modeling and User Adapted Interaction together with her Ph.D. student Henriette Cramer. She is a member of the ACM International Human Robot Interaction Steering Committee and Associate of the Human Robot Interaction Journal.