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Skilled students: this is how the Science Skills Team supports you as a teacher

Education is more than just knowledge transfer: students also develop numerous important skills. But which skills are addressed in which courses? And how can we help students train these skills? The Science Skills team is actively engaging with teachers to answer these questions for all courses. Want to get involved? Keep reading!

In 2023, Leiden University selected 13 ‘transferable skills’ that we deem important for students to develop during their studies. Within the Faculty of Science, the Science Skills Team from SEEDS took the lead in making these skills in education more visible and ensuring that students can further develop them. The team, consisting of Lisann Brincker, Wybrigje de Vries and Marjo de Graauw, is also the driver behind previous initiatives, such as the development of the Science Skills Platform.

‘In the summer of 2023, we surveyed teachers to inventory which skills play a role in their courses,’ says Brincker. ‘Based on the responses, we have already invited ninety teachers for conversations about skills in their courses over the past few months.’

All skills in your course identified in thirty minutes

During the conversation, the teacher, together with an educational expert from the Science Skills Team, identifies the skills addressed in their course. Brincker: ‘We examine the course’s study guide page, learning objectives, teaching methods, assignments, and assessment methods. Often, skills are already implicitly addressed, but our goal is to make them explicit. Starting next year, each course's study guide (prospectus) page will include a section on Transferable Skills. If one or more of the thirteen skills are addressed in your course, it will be visible here.’

Science Skills Platform as a support tool

However, visibility alone is not sufficient; therefore, the Science Skills Team also provides adequate support for teachers and students to further develop the necessary skills. They do this through the Science Skills Platform: a digital learning environment filled with modules for skill training. De Vries: ‘Together with the teacher, we choose which of the over 100 skill modules on the platform provide relevant support for each course. The platform contains theoretical background information, useful step-by-step guides, and templates. It is particularly suitable for consciously working on relevant skills in the course.’

What do teachers think?

‘The platform contains so much information that it can be quite overwhelming. During the meeting, the team gave me a digital tour and showed me a selection of modules that were very relevant to my course. A customised Brightspace page now directs my students to exactly these modules. They have access to support, and I have something in hand to help them with questions, a win-win!’

Tailored sustainable support

The team develops materials for each course that direct students to the selection of modules. Think of a dedicated skills page within the Brightspace environment of a course. Links to relevant modules can also be integrated into assignments or assessment criteria. Because all current and future students of the Faculty retain access to the Science Skills Platform throughout their entire studies, this is a sustainable investment for the course.

Conversations continue in 2024 and 2025. Are you joining?

De Graauw: ‘Over the next two years, we will reach out to all the other teachers who filled out the survey last summer. If you haven’t filled out the survey yet but would like to get started on skills support in your course after reading this news article, please fill out this survey now.

Fill out the survey

Do you have any questions?

Contact the Science Skills Platform at skills@science.leidenuniv.nl

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