A report on new practices at the Johan Cruyff University in Amsterdam
The Johan Cruyff University is founded at Johan Cruyff's instigation to offer top-class players an opportunity to combine a career in sport with an education in commercial economics. Once these players finish their career, they are able to accept leading jobs either in marketing departments of companies involved in sponsoring, or in sport organizations involved in organizing large sport-events.
The students live all over Holland and participate in training and sport events all over the world. In order to support the study of those students, new media are introduced to overcome the problems of time and space. But not only the opportunities of the world wide web are explored to create new learning and testing arrangements, the role of the teachers is adapted to the new reality as well.
The first characteristic of the curriculum is the formulation of learning outcomes in terms of competencies. These are understood as a combination of knowledge, skills and behavior. A set of competencies is defined by the staff, but the students must formulate their desired learning outcomes every block.
At the end of every term of 10 weeks, students demonstrate their competencies in different ways. They participate in assessments and they develop their own web site to present their assignments and their reports. This web site contains a portfolio, accessible for teachers and (partly) for their fellow students.
The second characteristic is the splitting up of the function of the teacher in different roles performed by different persons. Well stated roles are the navigator, the trainer, the instructor, the consultant and the assessor. They focus respectively on coaching, skill training, knowledge transfer, consulting and judging the students development.
The navigator and the assessor have a permanent relation to the student, in order to support a continuing growth in competencies. Every ten weeks the assessor discusses the development of the students competencies referring to the students list of personal learning outcomes.
The third characteristic is the use of internet to contact fellow students and consultants. To activate the students while they are busy with their sports, special projects are started, like playing a management game, such as Trade Company. Students operate as a team and take decisions, whilst they overcome the problems of time and space using the communication facilities of Internet.
Problems they cannot solve themselves, they can present to a consultant with e-mail. The consultant reacts not only to the students but builds up a list of frequently asked questions in order to help other students who run in the same problem. This way e-mail and internet are complementary to each other.
At the conference all these characteristics and more will be presented. Behind the new practices are ideas about the innovation in pedagogy, explained by the presentation of an innovation matrix, relating learning outcomes and media used in education.
Fons Vernooij and Thomas Thijssen (2001).