The A Broader Mind course is for all Bachelor’s students at VU Amsterdam, and centres on personal development, social interaction and reflection on these processes. As a student, you will be encouraged to get to grips with major societal issues, such as sustainability, digitization and poverty. These are issues that cannot be solved from the perspective of a single discipline. That’s why the course brings you into contact with a wide range of perspectives held by both experts and fellow students. It will take you on a journey as you discover what these interdisciplinary themes mean to you and how you can draw on your own background and personal convictions in order to make your own contribution.
For students, by students
The course has been designed jointly by students, lecturers, researchers and other enthusiastic members of staff at VU Amsterdam: that’s what makes it so special. It gives you a genuine and active role in designing and improving your own education. For example, the themes you will tackle on the course were co-written by VU students.
Online and offline activities
The A Broader Mind course consists of a blend of online and offline activities. In the MOOC, you will watch videos and read articles in which experts present their ideas and insights. You will take part in quizzes and enter into forum discussions with other VU students. In addition, the MOOC will encourage you to undertake activities independently with a view to exploring your own personal response to the issues in question. This might include collecting your own plastic waste to make an artwork with other students, as part of the Sustainability theme.
Help build A Broader Mind
Do you want to make an active contribution to education? We are always looking for great ideas and new insights! Please contact:
Rolinka Schippers, Project Manager for the A Broader Mind Course
+31 (0)20 598 27 13
The A Broader Mind course is led by Govert Buijs, Professor of Political Philosophy and holder of the Goldschmeding Chair in Economics and Civil Society at the Faculty of Humanities.
+31 (0)20 598 66 83
Working with themes
Eight themes are discussed on the A Broader Mind course. As the course and the programme as a whole are still under development, these themes may therefore be subject to change. You will collaborate with students from other degree programmes and learn to approach the themes from a range of disciplines. The starting point for tackling each theme will be your own personal question and a challenge facing society.
1. Health & Happiness
Societal challenge: Follow your own path to happiness.
Personal question: Which factors influence my happiness?
Societal challenge: How can we reduce the negative effects of poverty in someone’s living environment?
Personal question: What is my own experience of financial poverty?
Societal challenge: How can organizations achieve success by learning from their failures?
Personal question: How can I achieve success by learning from my failures?
4. The Digital World
Societal challenge: How can society gain a thorough understanding of requirements and applications relating to digital innovations in health care?
Personal question: How do I weigh up the ethical benefits and the risks of digital innovation?
Societal challenge: To what extent does society need a rebellion in relation to the societal challenges discussed on the course?
Personal question: Wat kind of rebel am I?
Societal challenge: How do people from so many different backgrounds manage to live together in the super-diverse city of Amsterdam?
Personal question: What makes me 'me' and how do I want to be seen by others?
Societal challenge: Join the quest and help solve the plastic waste problem!
Personal question: How big a part do I play in causing, identifying and solving the plastic problem?
8. The Human Body
Societal challenge: What are the limits to biotechnical applications for human health? Personal question: Who owns my body?