MAASTRICHT. The psychology faculty will reduce the size of its tutorial groups from fourteen students to twelve. Last year, the high number of new students meant the first-year groups were larger than usual. As a result the Problem-Based Learning system worked less well, according to tutors and lecturers surveyed before the summer.
Doable but not desirable – this was the conclusion of the survey on the issue of tutorial groups of fourteen people. Tutors and lecturers noticed that there was less discussion and that the naturally quieter students no longer spoke up. They also heard that students preferred it when several of their fellow students were absent.
The Faculty Board wasted no time in making its decision. “We barely spent five minutes talking about it”, says Carolien Martijn, portfolio holder for education. “Smaller groups are more expensive, but we think it’s important.” The money is being used to hire six part-time tutors and additional student tutors and to pay for more classrooms. Classrooms were initially sought externally as the Universiteitssingel 40 and 50 did not appear to be able to accommodate the extra groups, but enough rooms have since been found. “We made good arrangements with the FHML and a tight schedule”, says director Miranda Dekkers.