• 15 maart
  • Talentgericht
  • Highlighted

New TER is more compact, simpler en more inclusive

Economiestudenten op campus Stappegoor in Tilburg - foto: Bas Gijselhart.
‘In fact, no student ever looked at the Teaching and Examination Regulations (TER)’. Rock Academy student Ciska de Smit hits the nail on its head. Partly because students needed an accessible OER, this document is now revised. Moreover, because of the switch to talent-oriented education, there was a need for more unity and a document that would be more in line with this type of education.

Ciska, together with Dimphy Hooijmaijers (education innovation consultant), Michel Middendorp (legal expert/consultant) and Willeke Tijmensen (chairperson of the examination board and representation of the transition educational programmes) of the multidisciplinary TER team, explain more about the new format.

It is on the agenda every year: revising TER texts. What will change for TER writers of Fontys departments?
Dimphy: ‘The texts are less legal and there is a new chapter layout.’
Michel: ‘It's less work for the TER writers because many fields and texts are already filled in automatically and many texts are the same in all TERs. There is some programme-specific information for them to fill in. We also cut the amount of information. We have looked at what is really required and necessary.’

Why is it important to have more unity in the texts?
Michel: 'There is an increased need for harmonisation within Fontys so that students at different departments can compose their education programmes. In addition, it offers advantages to design processes together.'

One of your goals was to write a more accessible and inclusive document, how do you approach such a thing?
Dimphy: 'What helped us was to keep in mind who we were doing it for: the student. If you explain that well to others, everyone is convinced that it can be more accessible.'
Michel: ‘Although it was not only students who struggled with the language. Teachers were also not inclined to consult a TER. So it was pretty clear why we were doing this.’

Dimphy: ‘We got help from a text writer. He was like a monkey on our shoulders all the time. While writing, we were constantly aware that it could and should be more inclusive and accessible. Now the student is addrressed as 'you', instead of 'he' or 'she'.’
Ciska: ‘In addition to the fixed information, departments can add their own information to the TER.'

How do you ensure that even that information is written in the right language?
Willeke: 'That's a good question. First of all, departments can generally only edit short pieces of text, or they can choose from a list of options. As a team, we read along and pay attention to the use of language in programme-specific texts. In addition, the Central Participation Council (CPC) and the Programme Committee (PC) have to agree to this document, in that way we ensure that students also read along.'

Is this change the start of a movement?
Michel: ‘I expect so, yes. There are many other documents that could have a more accessible writing style. When rewriting, it is important to remember that by writing it down more simply, you may no longer have it completely sealed legally. You have to accept that.’

How do you look back on the process?
Willeke: ‘It was quite a challenge, a lot is involved. We built in plenty of feedback rounds and made adjustments. Thanks to the multidisciplinary team, we had different perspectives within our project group. Ciska's view from a student's perspective was very valuable during the feedback rounds, I have the examination committee perspective, Dimphy has a lot of knowledge about inclusivity and Michel and his legal colleague look at it from their perspective. This ensures that we have a well-balanced TER. We have been working on this since autumn 2022. So I am proud that we succeeded! I am now working on the next phase: harmonising texts within the transition educational programmes. One of the goals is that not all the teacher training courses will have their own texts, but that we provide a joint text.'

Dimphy: ‘I think this process has provided us with a TER that we can move forward with for years. A document where the threshold to look something up or read it back is much lower. And that is exactly what we had in mind.’

Author: Romy Chatrou - TextVast