Name and position of the participant lecturer and other supporting staff if relevant

Ákos Bocskor, Assistant lecturer – Orsolya Polyacskó, PhD student

Department of Sociology

Name of the course and discipline, level and year of study and any useful background info.


Equal opportunities studies II.

BA level, 3rd year

Name of community partners and/or any other supporting partners (public or private sector)

From Streets to Home Association and Working Group for Decent Housing for People with Disabilities

CERL project title(s)


Diverse assignments were designed to allow students to choose those that best matched their interests and skills:

1) Interviews with parents of adults with multiple and profound disabilities to gain insight into the challenges they face

2) Secondary analysis of survey data among families with children with profound and multiple disabilities related to housing

3) Collecting good practices and preparing case studies on community-based housing for people with disabilities in other countries

4) Collecting good practices and preparing case studies on merchandise to support NGOs working in the area homelessness

5) Survey for market research to support the design of fundraising merchandise for the community partner working to ensure access to housing for people affected by homelessness.

Can you provide any tangible info – e.g. module descriptor, learning outcomes, assignments, assessment criteria – please copy paste below if yes – NB Get module code


Purpose of the course: Building on the work started in the previous semester on inequalities in access to education, this time students learn about inequalities in the area of housing. In the spring semester, we collaborate with two NGOs working to ensure access to housing for different social groups. In addition, students gain insights into different dimensions of housing inequalities through presentations by a variety of NGO partners, thus gaining insight into the operation of civil society organisations as well.

How was it taught:

1.      number of students

2.      student groupwork or individual,

3.      how they worked with the partner,

4.      how the project proceeded,

5.      any reflection done with students,

6.      evaluation or formal assessment of their learning,

7.      Could or should we follow up with students?

8.      tech used

9.      Anything else interesting?

10.   For how long have you been teaching this course, and since when there is a community partner involved?

1.      31

2.      Group work

3.      Students were introduced to the colleagues of the community partners at the first two classes of the course and they were also connected via e-mail, the latter to facilitate the first contact. Later it was students’ responsibility and task to organise consultations. Some groups arranged online consultation with the community partner’s representative; in the case of one group, the responsible colleague at one of the community partners took a very proactive approach and organised frequent consultations for students. 

4.      i.) Students were first introduced to the topic and the activities of the community partners, as well as the assignments

ii.) In parallel with the introductions, students formed their teams and chose the assignment that they then worked on throughout the semester.

iii.) Each team was required to prepare a research plan and, if relevant, interview guide/questionnaire, for the selected project and then received feedback on them from the instructors.

iv.) During the research phase, the lecturers held consultations for the teams and, where it was necessary, tried to facilitate communication among team members, and between students and the community partners.

v.) At the end of the research phase, the teams prepared a research report, detailing their findings and experiences, and held 15-minute presentations summing up their research for the community partners and the entire class.

5.      There was no formal reflection, due to time constraints (not only were students writing and submitting their thesis in the given semester but many classes had to be cancelled because they fell on national holidays/public holidays), but the lecturers made efforts to keep contact with the students throughout the entire semester and offered many consultation opportunities for the groups to address challenges. We also asked students to include a reflection section in their research reports and their presentations and describe their experiences throughout the project and the course.

6.      The research proposals, the research reports and the presentations were graded. Community partners received the research reports and attended students’ presentations, they gave their feedback on the spot. The course instructors gave detailed feedback on all the submitted material.

7.      Students who took part in the course already graduated.

8.      We used MS Teams only for the hybrid classes and for consultations.


10.   One of the lecturers (Ákos) has been teaching this class for several years and has always invited relevant NGOs to the classes to speak about their work. However, this was the first year when it was re-imagined as a CERL course: in the first semester the topic was education, the second semester focused on housing, and both semesters included work with community partners.

What did you CHANGE about your programme/course in relation to CERL during CIRCLET?


The biggest change to the course was re-imaging it as a CERL course and cooperating with community partners in both semesters. Before that the involvement of NGOs was limited to some relevant organisations giving talks and speaking about their work in relation to the theme of the course.

CHALLENGES and how you overcame them?


Time: The biggest challenge was time-related. Since this semester was stressful for students due to writing their thesis, we tried to take this into consideration to the greatest possible extent. We tried to focus the workload to the first half of the course and reduce it in the weeks leading up to submission time of their thesis. We, as lecturers, tried to facilitate the work more than under normal circumstances, and showed greater flexibility, too. An additional challenge was that the semester was shorter because many national holidays and school holidays also fell on the days of the class, therefore we had fewer classes.

 Group dynamics: In the case of one group, there was a problem with the group dynamics: it turned out that some students felt they were doing the bulk of the work, while others were doing far less. We tried to handle the issue by letting students break into pairs/work individually, as they saw fit, for the remaining stages of the project.

 Commensurability of assignments: While we sought to offer the possibility to students to choose an assignment that best fit their interests, preferences and skills, it required very careful consideration on our part of the commensurability of the assignments and the workload implied.

What did your STUDENTS LEARN or how will they benefit?


Sensitizing students, raising their awareness: Students came to learn about the challenges a particular segment of the population faces (families raising children with severe and profound disabilities), which is largely invisible and grossly underserved, as well as the institutional and social policy context. Many students, working on this topic, reflected on this in their reports and in the presentations as well. This was in line with one of the intended learning outcomes: “The student will be open and sensitive to social problems and have an attitude of solidarity towards disadvantaged groups. He/she is committed to reducing social inequalities and to democratic values and the rule of law.”

 Applying methodology in a real-life context: Working with the community partners, students were carrying out a research project that had real weight, and thus had the opportunity to experience the essence of research work. As one of the groups highlighted: “…the task, the research became very exciting and important for us: at last, we did something that we felt had weight, meaning and maybe benefit others.”

What do you think the BENEFIT was TO THE PARTNER?


Empowering: experience shows that for these NGOs it was empowering to work with a university and thus build alliances and establish new contacts.

 New information: besides some of the findings that may be useful for community partners, community partners had the chance to meet young people and get an idea about their approach to the issues the CP is working on.

 Raising awareness: As one community partner pointed out, students will one day shape policies, design programmes, or work in the non-profit sector etc., and hopefully they will be more sensitive to the issues covered throughout the course.

HOW could/will you IMPROVE YOUR CERL teaching practice next time?


By simplifying, especially if there are such time constraints that we had in the previous semester.

3 TANGIBLE PIECES OF ADVICE you would give to someone starting a CERL project with students?


1. Be prepared to adjust and re-adjust your plans! Always have a plan B, as with many different actors from different contexts involved, things are bound to turn out at least slightly different than what you expect.

2. Simplify!

3. Explicate everything clearly, don’t fall for your presumptions about what others might know, as more often than not it turns out that presumptions and interpretations differ for people working in different contexts.