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Academic student café

Brief description

The academic student café is an option for the students of a particular subject or in a particular degree programme to turn up at a particular time (for instance three hours once a week) to get help for their academic work. During the time slot, teachers, student teachers or older students must be present in the café to help the students. The student café may be relevant for all subjects and all degree programmes but may be of particularly great help for students of very complex academic subjects or disciplines.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

Activities in the student café offer the students help for academic tasks and thus contribute to developing their academic understanding. At the same time, the student café may be a space in which the students may speak freely with fellow students or teachers about topic that are relevant to their studies without feeling judged. The dialogue across academic subjects and year groups may also contribute to better social integration in the learning environment and have a positive effect on the students’ well-being in their line of study, as the student café may provide both academic and social support. The activity may also benefit older students, who are practicing their academic communication skills and may also include the student café in their CV’s.

Performing the exercise

  • You as a teacher must make sure that a framework is set up for the student café, and that the café is actually being used. 

  • Part 1: Framework for the student café
    • Decide whether the student café should be started for students of your own subject only, for students from all subjects in the year group, or possibly for students in the entire degree programme. You may speak with your colleagues or head of section about the need for and format of the student café.
    • Set up a specific framework for the student café:
      • Time and time interval (for instance three hours every week throughout the semester, or specifically during the exam period, depending on the students’ needs).
      • It may be necessary to book the room for the student café for the scheduled time period and hours.
      • Decide who should be available during the scheduled hours: Should teachers, student teachers or older students be attached to the student café, and when should the different parties have their “shifts”?
  • Part 2: Timetable for the student café
    • Include the timetable of the student cafe in the course handbook and in the students’ timetable in Blackboard so that they know when they can use the student café.
    • Make sure that the students turn up in the student café. Tell them about it in your teaching sessions or ask them to go there to work during a session so as to make sure they become properly familiar with it and thus accept the offer at an early stage.
    • You may suggest that the students do their group work in the student café’s opening hours, when they can get help quickly.
    • Ask other teachers to advertise the student café.

Variation options:

  • You may include the student café in the students’ timetable once a week or plot in specific days during certain periods of the semester when you know the students are working on a major assignment, an exam or a topic in the course which often requires extra attention.


    Examples of practice

      Worth considering:

      • Should the student café support a specific academic subject, or should it be open for general academic issues across the semesters?
      • How much should you get involved in the student café, and how much responsibility should you delegate to others?
      • How will you guarantee the academic level in the student café? Through the inclusion of selected students, student teachers or permanent teachers?