The potential introduction of courses worth 10 ECTS has some people at the Faculty of Arts concerned. Staff is worried it will increase work stress and students wonder if this won’t lead to a greater workload and less flexibility.
It’s one of the actions the faculty board want to take to save money: make some courses worth 10 ECTS instead of the current 5. According to vice dean Joost Keizer, it would actually slow down the study rhythm in the long run, as it would open up the schedule and require lecturers to teach fewer classes each year.
While staff isn’t necessarily against the plan, during a faculty council meeting, they said they are worried about its implementation. They questioned whether there was any didactic reasoning behind the choice.
Keizer says there is. Students perform better when they have fewer resits, he says. ‘I don’t think we should do away with resits, but decreasing the number of tests they have to take might be a good idea.’
Besides, many students take so many courses that they end up overlapping, according to Keizer. ‘If you merge smaller courses into larger, 10-ECTS courses, there will be less overlap and students will have more time for all their courses.’
Larger courses would also result in more cohorts. Students who spend more time together in class tend to feel more like they’re part of a specific programme. That supposedly also leads to a better performance.
Increased work stress
But students and staff are worried about work stress. According to the faculty council’s personnel faction, the proposed changes could severely impact work stress over at least the next three years.
‘We have to design the courses, take care of the roll-out, and then there’s years of double TER entries before the programme is fully changed. Not to mention all the things you have to take care of for people who take longer to graduate’, says Femke Kramer.
Students are worried about the change, too, especially in combination with the bsa. What if they fail a 10-ECTS course? But Keizer says that research has shown that students actually fail fewer classes in this new system.
But students are also concerned about a lack of flexibility. It would make it more difficult for them to do a board year, because missing a course would add another six months to their studies. It would also make things more difficult for people who want to do an internship.
Keizer agrees that these concerns are important, but nothing irreconcilable. According to him, the first 10-ECTS courses will be rolled out in the 2025-2026 academic year.