I’ll have to excuse myself if my question sounds rant-like. I am desperate.
Back in 2013, I started my 4 year (240 ECTS) bachelor course. The course I went to was ranked the best in the country (of 20) at that time. There was a schedule of what classes we would get in what year, what choice we had, etc. I had to agree, it was a good university.
Fast-forward two years. I was studying in a different department to get my free-choice credits. I heard from friends from my main department that the course was being changed and that it was horrible. Apparently, the head of department wanted to implement some way of learning that is popular in France and Finland, where students pick what skills they want to learn now and learn that at their own pace. It sounds amazing in theory, but it went a little wrong in practice.
As students, we need to demonstrate that we have learned a certain competence to get ECTS now. For example, for ‘Software Development 2’, we need to show that we can and know when to implement certain programming concepts, like hash maps. Each student can fill a role in a project with a real client, for example the role of software architect. We would work together, as students of different years, in different roles. The department decides which role slots are available per project.
It does sound pretty awesome in practice and I was very enthusiastic when I started in 2016, even though some of my friends from different years were complaining. It turns out, they were right. It was horrible. It still is horrible. Yes, I had 1 year left to go in 2016, I am still trying to finish that year.
Clients were companies that usually could not afford an IT department and used us instead. There have been no lectures since the start of the new system in 2015. Communications about requirements are horrible. For example whole requirements are being left out of syllabi. Client and academic expectations do not align. For ‘Software Development 2’ I need to integrate a functional programming language and a object oriented one. The client wants an API written in PHP for a very specific task that leaves no room for a functional programming language.
I miss one small part of a ‘class’ from 2016, but the project has already finished. This means I cannot finish the class. I have asked for an alternative, but communications about that amount to “that’s your problem”. Actually, I have only been able to get 10 ECTS (1/6th of a year) over the past 2 years, while I have always been able to get my credits at in the same semester as I attended the class.
Coursemates are not much better off. The department scrapped the 30 ECTS requirement for first-years, because less than 10% had more than 30 ECTS. 60 ECTS in one year is normal. The course was best in the country up to the rankings of 2012, scoring 84 out of 100. Now it is scoring 30 out of 100, being the worst course in the country.
Some coursemates are considering sueing, but we do not want to ruin the value of our degrees even more. I want to drop out, as I am getting more and more depressed, but it makes me upset to drop out so close to getting my degree. I wanted to continue to get a masters degree. I was conditionally accepted into a really nice one.
We tried talking to just about everyone in the university. The department is trying to improve the course, so the university itself is letting this mess continue.
Basically: University (department) changed the course and made it go from best of the country to worst. University doesn’t want to change anything. What can we do? Is there someone, some organisation outside of our university we can complain to?
Note: this is a hogeschool