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Open Programma

Honoursmodule: Wicked challenges in health

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Lecturer(s)

Dr. Dasja Pajkrt and Dr. Vincent Geukers

Entry requirements 

  • Second and Third year bachelor students participating in an honours programme.
  • We offer an open course for students of honours programs from all academic disciplines (e.g. health and biology, technical sciences, humanities and art studies), who are interested in helping to enlarge their understanding of wicked problems in health; and perhaps help to solve them.

Recommended prior knowledge

None.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the student can:

  • At the end of the course students will appreciate that wicked problems in health are complex and multifactorial challenges, that demand interdisciplinary collaboration at the inter-faculty space.
  • At the end of the course students will have a basic overview of each other’s knowledge domains, skills and vocational expertise, and also of the inherent limitations (level I)  Dublin descriptors: https://www.nvao.net/system/files/pdf/Dublin%20Descriptors.pdf
  • Students have learned to recognize and use 21st century team dynamics and show the ability to cooperate within the student’s team in such manner that all different angles of incidence can fully contribute to the interprofessional analysis of the problem and its potential solution (level II).
  • At the end of the course student teams are able to defend a well-considered viewpoint covering the relevant disciplines. The proof of this viewpoint is a product (i.e. presentation, e-learning module, film, model, et cetera), that is both a representative condensation of the stage of the process they just have finished, as well as a rounded off building block on which a following group can build upon (level II/III).

Content

Rational         

Wicked challenges in health are emerging worldwide. Examples at a population level are: (increased incidence of) obesity and dementia in an aging population, or hiv and zoonotic infections with great impact on health, social and economic systems. In general, wicked problems are complicated multifaceted societal problems, that call for different perspectives, knowledge domains and methodological approaches for a possible solution. At an organizational and professional level, the common denominator of wicked problems is that they are present at the interspace of (or overlap) various legislative bodies, institutions, and professions.

Usually many different experts are involved in possible problem solving. Historically, these problem solving bodies have mono-disciplinary backgrounds like: medicine, social sciences, technical sciences, managerial and economic sciences. Also experts with artistic and 

philosophical angles of incidence can be helpful in finding a solution. Traditionally, curricula that prepare young professionals for this complex reality are mono-disciplinary organized. Initiatives for interprofessional education are mostly limited to the domain of healthcare proper (e.g. medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, etc.), as opposed to the abovementioned health problems in a broader societal sense.

We offer an open course for honors students from all academic disciplines (e.g. health and biology, technical sciences, humanities and art studies), who are interested in helping to enlarge their understanding of wicked problems in health; and perhaps help to solve them.

Main goal of the course

The main goal of the course is to familiarize students from different health, technical and societal backgrounds with the problem analyses and potentially solving of wicked problems in health. The course design targets on active development a shared knowledge basis, interdisciplinary 21st century team skills, and open collaborative attitude, as these are needed for a holistic approach, to tackle these sort of problems in their professional careers.

End terms & products

At the end of the course students will appreciate that wicked problems in health are complex and multifactorial challenges, that demand interdisciplinary collaboration at the inter-faculty space. At the end of the course students will have a basic overview of each other’s knowledge domains, skills and vocational expertise, and also of the inherent limitations (level I) . Students have learned to recognize and use 21st century team dynamics, and show the ability to cooperate within the student’s team in such manner that all different angles of incidence can fully contribute to the interprofessional analysis of the problem and its potential solution (level II).

At the end of the course each student team will deliver a product (i.e. an e-learning module, film, conceptual model, or standard presentation –less desirable-), that is both a representative condensation of the stage of the process they just have finished, as well as a rounded off building block on which a following group can build upon (level II/III). This will not only enhance active transfer of the product to the succeeding group, (that will continue to work on the same wicked problem), but will also formulate a suggested (non-imperative) future direction of exploration to this succeeding group. The assessment of the product will be summative.

Learning and assessment formats

The didactic concept is based on active learning, guided discovery and is founded on social constructivist principles. The educational emphasis of the course is : blended learning, active and co-operative learning and development of academic skills. Educational formats consist of workshops for (training of) the development of 21st century team skills, periodical mentorship including feedback and feed forward, and learning conversations with selected experts in the field.

During the mentorship sessions, not only progress and challenges of the project are discussed, but also emphasis is put on reflection on team-dynamics and cooperation skills.

About halfway during the course, all teams will publicly discuss their progress during short pitches in front of all teams, that will be formatively assessed by the course coordinators. The final summative assessment by the course coordinators will be based upon the delivery of the final end- product (free format). We encourage student teams to invite experts in the field to be present at their final presentation. The final assessments will be based on transparent and predefined criteria.

Themes

There are 4 suggested themes in the course, from which student teams can but not necessarily have to choose. The themes describe a wider domain or problem area, in which can formulate their specific topic of interest. If 2 groups choose the same theme, different sub-problems or topics are defined per group.

Suggested themes are:

  • Increased incidence of pandemics (e.g. Covid-19, HIV, other zoonosis, increased resistance to antibiotics)
  • Increased prevalence of non-lethal chronic conditions in childhood (e.g. auto-immune disorders, long-term technology-dependent conditions, longevity)
  • The obesity epidemic in children (e.g. food, social and cultural patterns, present and future health & economic impact, industrial design, physical and mental wellbeing on a societal level, prevention)
  • The aging society and dementia epidemic (e.g. physical and mental wellbeing, social structures, economy and city development, prevention)

The program

The program is based on a wiki approach: Each year, student teams can choose to continue to work on a theme at the point that the predeceasing group has finished. This means that each group can either expand the topic even further, update and deepen the content, or add other types of products to it.

During the first two weeks, two introduction sessions are organized. In the second introduction session, groups consisting of 4-6 members will be formed to evaluate the chosen Wicked Challenge. It is therefore mandatory to be present at the second introduction session.

During the course, the groups will contact experts from different backgrounds and expertise that will elaborate on their Wicked challenge. During the probation-launch groups present their work-in –progress and receive feedback from the other groups and coordinators.  During the launch session, the final product is presented.

Dissemination

The presentation of a team product at the end of the course is part of individual grades. In addition, all groups will be encouraged to condensate their experiences with both the chosen theme and with interdisciplinary collaboration into a scientific paper (not obligatory). Potential benefits of such publications are multiple: science-based reports of progress within the chosen theme, academic profiling of the students, dissemination of this innovative education initiative, publicity basis of potential future grants.

Course in short:

Wicked problems in health are emerging worldwide. Examples at a population level are: increased incidence of obesity and dementia in an aging population, or hiv and zoonotic pandemic infections with great impact on healthcare, social and economic systems. In general, wicked problems are complicated, multifaceted societal problems that call for integration of different perspectives, knowledge domains and methodologies in the quest for possible solutions. At an organizational and professional level, the common denominator of wicked problems is that they are present at the interspace or overlap of various professions, institutions and/or societal domains.

At the start of the course, student-teams define a wicked problem in health that they will work on during the course. The main goal of the course is to familiarize students from different health, technical and societal backgrounds with interprofessional problem-solving strategies in relation to their wicked problem in health. The course design targets on the active development by students of a shared knowledge basis, interdisciplinary 21st century team skills, and an open collaborative attitude, as these skills, strategies and attitudes are needed for a holistic approach towards tackling wicked problems in their future professional careers. We offer an open course for honors students from all academic disciplines (e.g. health and biology, technical sciences, humanities and art studies), who are interested in helping to enlarge their understanding of wicked problems in health; and perhaps help to solve them.

Teaching method

  • (Computer)practicum
  •  Fieldwork / excursion
  •  Presentation / symposium
  •  Self-study
  •  Work independently on project/ thesis
  •  Guidance / feedback moment

Assessment:

  • Observed in-class behavior as team player (using standardized rubric): 10%
  • Probation-launch by team (oral and written feedback): 10%
  • Final launch of paper/essay/ product by team (oral and written assessment): 35%
  • Individual reflection essay on team process and personal team role (using standardized rubric): 45%

Note: wicked challenges are team challenges. Therefore, the basis of this course is (interprofessional) team performance. During the course we will emphasize this in every step of the team process, and we will try to maximally facilitate this. However, individual student grades are predominantly based on individual performance (behavior as a team player as observed by the teachers, and the quality and depth of the individual reflection paper). The assessment rubrics the we will use, will be discussed at the start of the course.

Study material:

Suggested readings:

  • Tromp, C. Wicked Philosophy. Philosophy of science and vision development for complex problems. Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
  • Fraser, H. Tackling wicked healthcare problems; DOI: https://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/404.aspx
  • Hunter D.J. Leading for Health and Wellbeing: the need for a new paradigm. J.Publ Health 2009;31(2):202-4.  https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdp036
  • Online source:

    https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

  • Practical material: Pdf’s of Powerpoint presentations will be made available during the course
  • Other (visits and excursions): Self-organized visits to relevant stakeholders in the field (companies, organizations, legislation bodies, NGO’s, etcetera)

Min/max participants

max.25

Schedule

The schedule will be available on Datanose .

Remarks

Dependent on the nationalities of participants in this course communication will be Dutch and English.

Registration

Registration is possible for 2nd year (or higher) students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on June 4, 10 am -  June 8, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS.

Placement will be at random and within two weeks students will hear whether they are placed for a course. 

There is no guarantee for placement if you register after June 8, so make sure you apply on time! 

For questions: please contact Honours-iis@uva.nl 

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in the educational offer and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDG's website.

Facts & Figures
Mode Honours programme
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in September