Methods of teaching

An important aspect of the study of Medical Information Sciences is its small-scale education. In the last few years, there have on average been forty first-year students. This facilitates mutual contacts among students and is also conducive to the personal contacts with teachers. Several methods of teaching are employed to achieve the course objectives.


Lectures are given to the entire year group of students reading Medical Information Sciences. They usually involve unidirectional teaching. However, thanks to the comparatively small size of the year class ("year cohort"), there is ample scope for interaction with the lecturer and, to a limited extent, for doing assignments.

Interactive Lectures

Interactive lectures differ from lectures in that the subject matter is dealt with in a problem-oriented manner; often the problems or assignments are already included in the module textbook, thus enabling the students to prepare themselves prior to the relevant interactive lectures. They also differ in terms of group size; the maximum number of persons attending interactive lectures should preferably not exceed 60.

Small Group Training

Small Group Training is effected in groups of 12 or 24 students. The students are required to be actively involved. The sessions bear the character of a training, or a discussion between the participants.


Practicals are a method of teaching, requiring the student to conduct practical work. Usually a distinction is made between practicals which primarily serve to acquire skills and practicals which serve to illustrate the subject matter. Medical Information Sciences include a large number of practicals, which serve to acquire programming skills. The design and implementation of programs play major parts during these practicals.

The approach adopted for workshops is the method of Problem-Based Learning. Briefly, this implies that tutor-supervised meetings attended by approx. 10 students will be held. There are workshop sessions each week. During the workshops, assignments will be dealt with. Each assignment contains a central problem (theme). During the preliminary review of an assignment, the level of problem-related knowledge shared by the workshop members is established. Next the gaps in the knowledge are defined in terms of objectives. Self-study and the attendance of lectures will help the individual students acquire the missing knowledge, it being understood that the established results are fed back during a final review. The tutor supervises the workshops. In addition to the workshops, there will also be practicals.

Computer-assisted instruction
With computer-assisted instruction, the transfer of the study material to the student is effected with the help of computers.

Duration of the course and examinations
The curriculum has a duration of four years, leading to the 'doctoraal' degree (M.Sc.).
The course has two formal exams: the 'Propedeuse' Examination (first year) and the Doctoraal Examination (examination after the fourth year, leading to a Master's degree (M.Sc.). Each of these examinations comprises several exams; those of the individual modules and the results of the practice periods. All these individual exams have to be passed in order to graduate for the formal exams.
If an exam is not passed at the first try, the exams can be retaken, up to twice a year.

Individual exams are mostly written, usually consisting of short-answer questions and essay questions. Some are "open-book" exams, which means that the student can bring any written material he wants to. The exam consists of essay questions, for which the student needs to have a thorough understanding of the underlying concepts of the fields studied. There is limited time to look up facts in the material brought. Any assignments conducted during any module may also be taken into account during the relevant module's final assessment of the student.

The assessment of the research traineeship, however, is based on a thesis and the student's address on the research conducted.