Portretfoto Paul Ketelaar
Portretfoto Paul Ketelaar

Working with scrum (agile) in academic education.

TLC voucher project
Project member(s)
Dr P.E. Ketelaar (Paul)
Project type


Nowadays lecturers put the emphasis on the educational principle of autonomous learning more often. However, teachers lack an instrument to enable students to work well in teams with that principle. Students need a method to learn how to plan their work independently, work on that with their goal in mind and monitor the progress. Could the scrum method be a suitable tool in education to help students work and learn together more effectively?

Multiple organisations outside of the university use a method called ‘scrum’ to help teams work together better. Scrum is known as a framework in which teams are more productive and learn from each other. Within this methodology, the implementers are free to apply or omit elements if this improves the efficiency of the project.

There is already a lot of knowledge about the application of scrum in organisations where teams work on common goals. On the contrary, there is little known about the application of scrum in the context of a university. With this voucher project, Paul Ketelaar wants to gain more knowledge and experience about this.

Desired solutions

His expectation is that this way of collaborating will allow optimal communication between teams themselves and with their coaches. This way they can maximise the potential of their team. The scrum method also stimulates a working attitude in which there is a lot of room for giving and receiving feedback, so that students grow to a higher level together.

With the knowledge Paul gains about the methodology, a toolkit can be designed in the future for teachers to properly apply the method. In doing so, he takes account at which moments during a course the scrum method can be a useful addition.

Action plan

The scrum methodology is applied in the course Research in Practice (Master of Communication, 10 EC). In this course, students work in teams from assignment to assignment. It concerns six assignments in which students work at their own pace. They translate an organisation's communication issue into a researchable question, conduct research and report findings and recommendations back to the organisation in the form of consultancy.

The aim is for students to choose what to work on, who does what and in what way, based on the scrum methodology. Extra attention is paid to the process of collaboration. The intention is that all team members will feel responsible for partial assignments and the end result.


This project is funded by a TLC voucher from the Radboud Teaching and Learning Centre. This voucher programme aims to set up projects in the field of educational innovation, lecturer development and educational research.

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Contact information

Would you like to know more? Do not hesitate to contact the voucher stakeholder.