Info for students

Bachelor and Master Thesis
You can always approach me with ideas for potential BSc and MSc theses. Potential topics can be found here.

In 2016/2017, I am teaching the following courses at Wageningen university:

Environmental Economics for Environmental Sciences ENR-21306 (periode 2 & 5)
Economics and Management of Natural Resources ENR-31306 (periode 4)
Central Themes in Development Economics DEC-30306 (periode 5)
Climate Governance ENP-30306  (periode 5)

The courses ENR21306 and ENR31306 can be a bit overwhelming for those of you who have had little exposure to Economics and Maths. I strongly recommend to follow the R.A.N approach.

Read up! Most of my students face the following dilemma. The teachers provide a long reading list and expect the students to keep up with it. Reading all this carefully will take a lot of time, which is always scarce, especially because study time notoriously competes with time for work, sports, social activities, etc.  So what most students end up doing is not reading anything. While understandable, this is really hindering what you can get out of a lecture. In a way, going to a lecture is similar with going to the theater to watch a classical play, say Shakespeare. If you have no idea what the whole play is about, it will be very hard to follow and understand what is going on. Obviously, it would be best to read the play beforehand, but – again – it is hard to find the time. A good alternative is to read before a summary of the play and skim through the different acts. The same applies for lectures at the university. Even if you do not find the time to be up to date with all the literature, you could try to skim through all material that has been covered so far. This will probably not be enough to pass the exam, but it will be enough to help you getting more out of the lectures, and hopefully make it easier to read everything more carefully when studying for the exam.

Ask questions! There are several great things about asking questions. First, asking a question will obviously make others think of you as a smart, self-secure, and reflexive person. Second, your fellow students will love you for asking those questions, because some of them will be wondering about the same stuff. Those who have not been wondering about the same stuff will probably start wondering once you have asked your question. And finally, the answer obviously helps clarifying the material, which is great, too.

Take Notes! The great thing about powerpoint slides is that they can be put online, so you do not have to stress about copying everything from the black (or white) board. So you can be much more selective in taking notes. However, this  has also a dark side, since many students stop taking notes entirely (everything will be online anyway, so why bother?). Often overlooked is the fact that taking notes has a function going beyond conserving information on paper. The process of taking notes builds an important bridge between your visual exposure (seeing a slide) and your brain (that is supposed to remember it). Studies have shown that students taking notes remember much more of a lecture than students who have simply listened to the presentation. Also, taking notes on a laptop will be much less effective in building that bridge than taking notes on good old paper.