Pillar one: Modular education

The University of Twente wants to prompt students to take control of their own learning and want to maximize their involvement within the campus community. An education is something our students do their utmost for. Our bachelor's programmes consist of twelve modules of ten weeks each (15 ECTS) that have to be completed in full. The first two years (eight modules) represent the core of the programme. In module 9 and 10 the students choose elective modules for broadening or deepening their knowledge. The last semester of the programme is the graduating semester worth 30 ECTS. This can consist of two separate modules of 15 ECTS that are given in sequence, two modules of 15 ECTS that are given simultaneously, or one large module worth 30 ECTS.

Modules allow flexibility in offering various teaching methods, such as inspiring lectures, practicals, tutorials, discussion platforms and review sessions or, for example, working full-time on one subject for several days and then switch to a different subject to work on full-time.

Mandatory contact hours

Students can be challenged to work on their study full-time by providing well thought-out and stimulating assignments. However, studying full-time is not the same as filling up the entire schedule with forty hours of mandatory presence on campus. We prefer having room for personal planning available, which is why weeks should not be scheduled full-time with contact hours. Starting in the 2015-2016 academic year, bachelor students in their first year need to be offered at least 20 contact hours with a teacher, tutor or student assistant per academic week. This is one of the performance agreements made with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (see www.utwente.nl/bestuur/publicaties)

Variation in teaching methods

Variation in teaching methods keeps students alert and increase the chance that students with different learning styles can still succeed. The different educational activities are all designed around one carefully defined theme, which ensures an internal coherence. The module becomes more meaningful because of it: students understand the bigger picture. Because all module units are required to achieve the learning objectives of the project, the module is an integrated whole and can be viewed as one large course in project setting.


In a Student-driven  module students can determine for themselves whether they need the offered sources and learning activities in order to achieve the learning objectives - where proper tutoring is of the essence. Some people think that such open modules are better suited further along in the degree programme instead of during the first year. However, it is important that there's an upward trend in the programme, increasing the control the student is expected to take of his learning.

Others think that the first module can already be this open. However, a proper safety net is important. The intensity of the tutoring decreases as the student progresses in the programme. In both cases coordination on this aspect between the various module teams within the programme is necessary.

Coherence and integration

One of the guiding principles of TEM is that we no longer have courses. An important TOM pillar is a strong coherence between the module-units mutually and with the project. The module is one unit. Knowledge and skills that are offered in the module units are integrated with each other and essential for completing the project.

Courses of learning

All bachelor programmes offer 15 ECTS of reflective education (academic development course of learning). The programme management chooses and determines in which module or modules this subject is included.

The technical degree programmes participate in a joint mathematics course of learning. The content and design of this can be found on Blackboard (EWI-TOMLEERLIJN-MATHABCD). Every year, the programme director of mathematics and the programme directors of the participating programmes ensure that the mathematics course of learning is attuned to the content of the programmes as much as possible. The same goes for the joint Methods and Technologies course of learning for the social sciences.

Shared Modules

Some programmes share module units or entire modules with each other. This can be because of efficiency reasons but it can also be interesting regarding the content. For example, Technische Bedrijfskunde (Industrial Engineering Management), Business & IT en Technische Informatica (Technical Computer Sciences) share the first introductory module (module 1) to give the students an impression of the scope of this cluster. Also in module 4 students from Technische Natuurkunde (Technical Physics) work together with students of Technische Wiskunde (Technical Mathematics) on reproducing historical experiments. They need each others expertise to complete the project.

The Module Map shows which modules are shared.