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Humanities model for active learning and activating teaching

The humanities model is a platform for developing and structuring activating teaching and active learning at the Faculty of Humanities. The model thus puts into practice the educational principles of the University of Southern Denmark: activating teaching and active learning. The model is based on the fact that active learning can be realised by taking part in many different types of teaching and learning activities. At the same time, it shows how teaching can have an activating effect in various ways.


The humanities model is based on the view that different types of teaching and learning activities take place in different spaces, which are defined by the respective roles and responsibilities of teachers and students.  The model makes it clear that students have different tasks and roles during the course of their studies, including participation in various activities and contributing a variety of products.


Students' teaching and learning activities are organised in and framed by four learning Spaces:



The teacher plans and performs activating teaching, which includes: 

  • involving all four learning spaces with due regard to the learning outcomes for the individual subject,
  • clarifying students' responsibilities in relation to participation in the various learning spaces,
  • supporting students' acquisition of study skills to work in the various learning spaces.

The teacher must therefore reflect on which activities to place in each of the four learning spaces and how these activities are connected with the learning outcomes and assessment of the programme. The programme management must ensure that students all-in-all are activated in all four learning spaces each semester and that teachers' specific qualifications and areas of expertise are utilised in the best possible way when implementing the model.


The model brings to light the fact that students have different responsibilities, tasks and roles in connection with participating in the various learning activities. They are expected to supply various types of products and outputs in the various learning spaces in order to become aware of and familiar with different types of learning activities and types of assignment.

Learning space in which the teacher is responsible for planning and is present

This learning space will typically contain lectures and class teaching with the inclusion of activating elements, excursions and workshops, and students will participate by asking questions, for instance, reflecting, taking notes and contributing to discussions in groups and in class as a whole.

  • Examples of activating elements in this connection could be brainstorming, questions arising from reflection, quizzes, drawing up concept diagrams, etc., that the teacher can make use of.

Learning space in which the teacher is responsible for planning, but is not present

This learning space will typically contain group work, exercises, problem solving and similar activities that have been framed by the teacher and in which students play an active role.

  • Examples of activities could be working on questions about working methods relating to the syllabus, log books, contributions to blogs or wikis, collecting material for personal or group portfolios, fieldwork, etc.

Learning space in which the teacher is present, but students are responsible for planning the specific activities

This learning space will typically contain group presentations, supervision, question hours and similar activities. Students play an active role in the by doing presentations, for example, by responding to their fellow students' presentations, possibly with alternating opponent roles, taking the initiative for and preparing supervision. There can be individual as well as group-based work in all cases.

  • This learning space will typically contain group presentations, project supervision, flipped classroom, peer-feedback, case- and problem-based learning and questions hours.

Learning space in which students are responsible for planning and the teacher is not present

  • This learning space will contain students' independent studies, active participation in self-organised study groups, joint preparation for examinations, writing assignments and other study products

The humanities model is a general model that applies to all programmes that belong to the Faculty of Humanities. It is both a description of existing practice in humanities programmes, in which activating forms of education already play a major role, and an indicator in relation to the further development of teaching and learning at the faculty. The Academic Study Boards for the individual programmes determine in detail how the model will come to expression in the programme in question.

Last Updated 16.08.2016