Full course description
Students will form a ‘think tank’ and write and present an extensive and elaborate (policy) recommendation for an external client, i.e. a company or organization. The project coordinators will offer a topic in advance. A creative and critical analysis of the problem at hand will lead to the application of knowledge and skills acquired at UCM through previous course work, and new insights developed during the project.
The first week will focus on a problem analysis and an analysis of the knowledge and expertise of the members of the think tank. The second week will focus on doing research. The third week will deal with discussing and formulating solutions. During the final week students will present their report to an audience of experts.
Besides having meetings with their fellow students and a tutor, the group might meet with guest experts (either invited by the coordinators or by the students themselves) and undertake self-organized field trips and external visits in order to obtain the required information.
- Let students work together and set up a problem analysis based on the assignment given by an external client, i.e. to develop skills concerning critical analysis, including the analysis of a problem, conceptualizing a problem as a case study (the ability to see the particular problem within a wider context), and to generate new knowledge relevant to the case at hand (Boyer’s ‘discovery’ and ‘integration’)
- Let students work together and do research based on the assignment that was given to them, i.e. to develop skills concerning organization of work, and collaboration in a team (not specifically related to Boyer, yet instrumental towards all four aspects at the level of collaborative learning);
- Let students write a report based on an assignment that was given to them, i.e. skills related to formulating finding and recommendations in a comprehensive yet concise manner (‘application’ and ‘teaching’)
- Let students present their report to the representative and a group of experts (‘teaching’).
At least two modules from the following list: SKI2049 Argumentation I; SKI3002 Argumentation II; Skills and Project Ethnographic and Qualitative Interviewing; PRO2004 Academic Debate; SSC2061 Statistics I (SSC1026 Quantitative Methods); and COR1005 Modeling Nature. In addition, the project and the nature of the assignment require some experience in academia. Therefore, students can only take the project in their fourth semester or later. This also allows students to do well and gain more from the project.
The coordinators would like to emphasize that Think Tank is a time-consuming project with a high workload that requires highly motivated students. Students should have a broad interest in e.g. policy development and research and analysis. Due to the specific nature of the project and the fact that group work is an essential element, students should take into account that they need to be available during entire weekdays throughout the project.
Participating in Think Tank as part of the regular workload at UCM is doable but demanding. Therefore, having a higher workload due to e.g. additional or parallel projects is not allowed.
- There is no general literature or course books that students need to buy or possess. Students will choose, read and use literature that is specifically related to their topic.