U bent hier
Students become ever more social in their study behaviour. Mass study sessions have known a strong growth over the past years and the advantages are acknowledged by student counselors. Since this year you can also work on your bachelor or master dissertation in groups. We paid a visit to a Thesis Cafe.
“Hitting a cafe for your thesis”. It probably would raise a few eyebrows with concerned or suspicious parents. A few years ago it would most likely have made it to the ‘top 10 list of worst excuses to go to a bar’. In 2016 however, the era of collective studying, it is no joke anymore.
A Thesis Cafe is a counseling initiative organised by the university itself as a weekly recurring event in the Study Guidance Centre. Professor Lieselot Vanhaverbeke was even honoured for this initiative as being an educational innovation project.
Here’s what happens: every Wednesday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00pm students intensively work on their bachelor of master dissertations at the Study Guidance Centre in three batches of 45 minutes. During the 15 minute breaks students can exchange ideas with each other or ask questions to a counselor or assistant over coffee or a piece of fruit.
Efficient for professors and students
“The purpose is to immediately assist students with general questions concerning research methodology, quoting references or academic language. This way, thesis supervisors can concentrate more on the academic merits of the works.”, explains Penelope Schoutteet, project lead of the Thesis Cafe. “By separating the general and more subject specific counseling questions, the number of similar and superfluous emails for professors decreases in turn allowing them to answer students more swiftly. Students can therefore keep up their pace and have a lower risk of getting stuck.” You could say the Thesis Cafe is good for students and professors.
Step by step towards success
An important aspect of Thesis Cafes is the regularity. The weekly contact guards a continuous progress. “From our experiences of student counselors or assistants we often tend to have a better assessment whether or not a writing assignment is on schedule”, according to Penelope. “Starting an extensive undertaking as a dissertation for the first time, students don’t always see the full picture. At the Thesis Cafes we monitor students’ progress week by week.”
The first Thesis Cafe took place on October 19th and they will continue until December 7th. The initiative originates from the Economic and Social Sciences Faculty, but all students are welcome. Currently about 10 to 20 students attend every week and there is room for more. Regular customers of the ‘Cafe’ keep coming back, proving its utility. The number of contact moments will increase in the second semester. In any case, the goal is to expand the Thesis Cafe into a university wide initiative after this trial period.