COMmunity at the Goat Farm!

Recently, Master’s students of the Culture, Organization and Management (COM) program spotted a rather odd location on their timetables: the Goat Farm in the Amsterdamse Bos. Instead of sitting at their laptops in their rooms, students were taught out in the open air.

09/28/2020 | 1:17 PM

See, hear, smell, taste, and touch
There was an important reason for choosing this location for lectures. The Sensemaking in Organizations course tutored there because lecturers wanted students to discover that knowledge of and about organizations entails more than being book smart. For students to experience this, they were literally dragged away from the comfort of their own homes. “Coming to class outdoors is a completely different experience that ignites all senses”, said teacher Frans Kamsteeg. He explained that students are taught a reality that they will only fully understand once they are ‘out in the wild’. “The reality of working life can only be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt once you start fieldwork in an organization. This makes the Goat Farm an especially suitable organization as you can experience that reality using all five senses there.” In this natural organizational setting, all of your senses will be stimulated, and you will be prompted to think out of the box. “We call it ‘wild pedagogy’ too, not only because it’s out in the wild but also wild as in unheard of.”

Although goats were bleating in the background, the students had nothing to complain about and reacted positively to the lectures. One student agreed that ‘it was a nice change of scenery from all of the standard Zoom meetings’. Students are also happy to spend some time together again in person again this way. Even international students who are not able to physically be in the Netherlands due to COVID-19 are included through videos. In times of remote education, this degree program has succeeded in creating a special sense of togetherness for and with their students - and a real COMmunity.