Competency profile CMD
Communication & Multimedia Design

Using the CMD competency profile


Studying at the Department of Communication & Multimedia Design (CMD) may be somewhat different from what you’re used to. Key concepts are: communities, competencies, on-demand learning, project-based and practice-directed learning. It is you and your own individual study path that stand at the centre of all this.

What am I getting into?

Year 1 (propedeutic year): In the introduction week you’ll get to choose your own mentor and project group. Such a group usually consists of 5 to 6 students. With this mentor group you’ll find yourself in a community. In the post-propedeutic phase it’s the minors that constitute the communities. Each community has its own location within the school building and its own teacher who organizes community meetings and keeps the community informed of departmental affairs.

What you need to know about competencies

As we said earlier the ways of CMD are different from those of other courses. Studying here does not mean filling up your head with dry information; instead you go looking for relevant knowledge that is immediately applicable in your current project. During the course you won’t be sitting knowledge tests, you won’t do any mandatory reading. Here at CMD we work with competencies. Briefly, being competent means not only having knowledge about something, but also being able to work with it and adopting the right attitude to get the best out of it. A competency therefore, is a combination of knowledge, skills and attitude. CMD students work at 10 competencies which together form the CMD competency profile. Each competency in its turn knows three levels (basic, advanced, expert)

What is meant by on-demand learning?

At CMD you decide yourself what you want to learn: we call that on-demand learning. What you need to know and need to do is not the teachers’ decision. On the contrary, the idea is for you to discover for yourself what you need to know and how you need to do things. An example: you have accepted an commission to make a commercial, but you have no idea what requirements a commercial must satisfy in order to appear on television. With that question in mind you can go looking for answers. You may for instance contact a specialist from the field, or search for information on the internet or in a library. Or you may seek help from one of the subject teachers of the course in the form of a consultation.
A consultation implies ‘booking’ a teacher for approximately thirty minutes. During that time you and your project group may bombard your teacher with questions, show your results and receive feedback.

Behaviours, Results and Mindset

Each competency consists of behaviours, results and a mindset.
By behaviour is meant the performance that is typical for that competency, e.g. in the competency Production: learns how to deal with tools necessary for producing a solution.
In each project you select certain behaviours.
Results stand for the actual achievements after the completion of the project: tangible end-products, but also knowledge gained.
The results mentioned in the competencies are meant as examples; they are not prescribed.
The mindset is your mentality, your mental attitude. A mindset might be: pro-active, questioning, environment-conscious.
The mindset will not be assessed. Rather, it is used for feed-back and reflection.

What are assessments?

Competencies are measured in assessments. In an assessment you and the other group members find yourselves in a room together with a number of teachers. During the assessment the projectgroup has approximately forty minutes to show the results for this period and to demonstrate their competence. It’s the paths you have taken to arrive at the results rather than just the results themselves that count. At the end of the assessment the teachers decide whether you meet the requirements of the competencies; if so, you will receive the agreed number of EC, and feedback on what went well and what needs to be improved. This feedback you have to incorporate into your PDP, so that you can rectify your deficiencies in the next period.

What does project-based working mean?

At CMD you hardly ever work on your own. The idea is for you to come into contact with other people in a project and with the clients bringing in the assignments. That’s why you always work in a project group where, just as in a real-world work situation, you have to deal with all sorts of problems that come with project-based working. Your deadlines are non-negotiable, end-products will be used by genuine clients and have to meet the client’s demands. During the project you will gain the competencies needed for the project: practice makes perfect. It is important that you show commitment to the group and display a positive attitude.

The importance of practice-directed learning

There is a lively two-way traffic going on between the professional practice of multimedia industries and the department of Communication and Multimedia Design. Questions and findings from the field end up at CMD where they will lead to new or modified insights; on the other hand innovative ideas developed by CMD students find their way to the multimedia industries where they will be put into use.

What is the purpose of a PDP?

In a PDP, Personal Development Plan, you enter your short, medium and long-term plans that you hope to achieve ( e.g. this period, this academic year, during the complete course, in your professional life).
After having noted down the activities you plan to undertake in order
to achieve these goals and having described the evidence, you need to have your PDP checked by a teacher; he will help you decide whether you ‘re being too easy or too hard on yourself and if you have credited your activities with enough EC (european credits).
The PDP is a dynamic document showing your progress and growth and is subject to continuous change. PDPs need to be stored in your portfolio; they are proof of your development both for you and for the teachers.

What use is a portfolio?

The portfolio is an important means to convince your employers-to-be of your skills. Right from the beginning of your studies you start building this (usually digital) personal file in which you store your PDPs, plus an inventory of competencies gained supported by evidence and last but not least, an overview of your own work.

Who are your supervisors?

The mentor is your study coach with whom you discuss your study progress in a one-on-one interview every three weeks. With him/her you discuss how your PDP fits in your medium and long-term planning, how to keep an eye on the ‘studiability’, what the pitfalls and opportunities for further development are. It’s you who has to take the initiative for such a mentor meeting through digital enrollment or an e-mail.
The tutor monitors the project-group. With the tutor you have weekly meetings during which the project’s progress, rules, planning, and the division of tasks are discussed. The tutor will be present at the assessments.
The consultant is a teacher with whom, during a consultation, you discuss the activities you are about to enter in your PDP. He/she will help you determine level and number of EC.

What do we mean by major and minors?

The Bachelor Course Communication and Multimedia Design consists of a major of 120 EC in obligatory credits (out of 240 in total); this includes industrial placement and graduation project. For the remaining 120 EC it’s up to you which competencies you wish to work at. The minor is a chunk of 30 EC (a semester) during which you work at gaining both obligatory and elective competencies.

From competency profile to PDP

A few introductory remarks about the structure of the course:
In the propedeutic year all competencies are obligatory on the basic level.
In the post-propedeutic phase all competencies are obligatory on the advanced level; in addition you have to gain 6 EC on the expert level in competencies of your choice as preparation for your graduation project.
During the placement you’ll work for 12 EC in obligatory competencies (advanced level) that you’ll complement with elective competencies up to a total of 30 EC.
During the graduation project you’ll work for 12 EC in obligatory competencies on the expert level and for a minimum of 12 EC in electives on the expert level. This you will complement to a total of 30 EC with electives either on the advanced or the expert level.

Your PDP step-by-step

1. Discuss with your project group what it is you want to learn, what activities you’re going to undertake and what your role will be in the project.

2. With your project group apply for a consultation with the teacher(s) in order to be able to discuss step 7 and 8

3. Scan the competency profile for behaviours that match your activities. You may even add new behaviours.

4. Write down your activities and desired results alongside the behaviours or competency. To aid you in this process you may make use of examples provided by the teachers. These you will of course have to adapt to your own plans.

5. Determine the level at which you will be working on the competencies using the following guidelines:

Basic level:
You carry out activities according to fixed rules in predictable situations with limited on-demand learning, within the confines of which you act independently, responsibly and creatively. Knowledge on a need-to-know basis suffices. For more complex circumstances you will not hesitate to ask for help and supervision.
Example: Producing a multimedia application for a pre-described situation; client’s wishes and demands are met within the framework of existing standards.

Advanced level:
Broader background knowledge is required; you carry out activities in many and varied unpredictable situations according to your own vision with a great amount of responsibility and independence. You are able to coach and instruct others in these activities.
Example: searching for (and building) a multimedia solution for a situation with many variables, in which you instruct and support others in their learning process whenever necessary.

Expert level:
You develop your own strategic vision for carrying out activities in a broad range of varying, and mostly unpredictable, complex situations applying any number of complex techniques and fundamental principles
Example: advising a company to adopt a multimedia solution for a company- or department-wide communication problem. The complete process from analysis and design to implementation and after care will be
run through.

6. Determine the number of EC you wish to gain. The minimum number of EC to be gained in a first-year project is 15. More is possible, even advisable, but don’t go overboard: 1 EC represents a study load of 28,5 hours. Producing one tiny little drawing, however beautiful, is not going to earn you 3 EC. In the post-propedeutic phase the norm is 30 EC per minor (a semester). Achieving 60 EC per academic year means you’re on schedule.

7. Confer with your project group and a teacher to check whether all tasks in the project are covered.

8. Have your filled-in PDP signed by the relevant teachers.

9. Every period there are assessments. Bring your PDP along and indicate how you are going to prove you’re competent in the behaviours you entered in your PDP. The assessors will have a good look at it at the start of the assessment to gain a clear overview of which behaviours you wish to have assessed. One of the assessors will input the results into Educator a student result registration system.

10. With your mentor you discuss how your PDP fits in with your personal medium- and long-term planning, how studiable your study path is, what the pitfalls are, and where lie the challenges and opportunities for progress.

And finally: PDPs are the most important documents during your studies. They provide a clear insight into your development during your studies. So be sure to store them safely in your portfolio.

Competency profile

Below you find the 10 competencies that together make up the CMD competency profile.
Each competency is described as follows:
1. Name of the competency
2. Short description of the competency
3. Behaviour with which you will demonstrate your competence at the assessment
4. Results, examples of concrete end-products and results of behaviour and mindset; they are part of the evidence called for during the assessment.
5. Mindset, your mental attitude that supports you in becoming and remaining competent


1. Research & innovation
2. Concepting
3. Design
4. Multimedia production
5. Quality monitoring & implementation
6. Multidisciplinary teamwork
7. Communication
8. Projectmanagement
9. Sharing
10. Growth & reflection

As a student of Communication & Multimedia Design you will in most cases gain the competencies in projects acquired by the Knowledge Centre Multimedia.
The department of CMD stimulates entrepreneurship in students. Thus, it is also possible to work on the competencies in the role of starting entrepreneur in, for instance, the minor Entrepreneurship.
Gaining competencies as an entrepreneur means looking at competencies in a slightly different light: in this case the objective is establishing one’s own multimedia enterprise instead of working one’s way through the phases of a multimedia project. To support you as an enterprising student in your learning goals a separate competency profile booklet will be issued discussing behaviour, results and mindset relevant to the entrepreneur.

1. Research & innovation
The multimedia specialist explores possible multimedia solutions to communication issues in diverse settings

• Identifies a communication issue
• Interprets a communication issue
• Spots opportunities for improvement in user-processes
• Translates a situation into an unambiguous research question
• Selects, and substantiates his choice of, appropriate analyzing and research methods
• Gathers relevant information from various sources
• Evaluates the reliability of the information found
• Links his own knowledge to the given situation and setting
• Takes factors resulting from situation and setting into consideration
• Anticipates, in research recommendations, upcoming trends.

• Core products: Research report which may include recommendations and advice (this is a part of the project plan)
• Sub-products: market research report, assignment analysis and interpretation, purpose of the product, target group analysis, competition analysis, interview reports, questionnaires, task analysis, problem analysis

Information-seeking, Independent, Curious, Open to intuition, Thinking laterally, Diplomatic, Environment-conscious, Aware of one’s surroundings, Going to the heart of the matter, Cosmopolitan, Trend-conscious

Working methodically and a discriminating attidude are at the core of this competency. Rather than only researching existing data this competency is frequently about identifying new issues of which the target group is not yet aware.

2. Concepting
The multimedia specialist develops multimedia concepts

• Develops a concept on the basis of research carried out
• Employs creative techniques to come up with a concept
• Creates authentic and original content in the shape of stories, experiences, filmscripts, audio
• Takes into account the user’s needs, enjoyment, objectives, in developing the concept
• Takes into account the user’s means (financial, technical, organizational and knowledge-wise) in developing the concept.
• Supports his choice of media mix with arguments
• Evaluates the merits of both his own concepts and those of others

• Core product: multimedia concept (this is a part of the project plan)
• The concept may consist of the authentic and original content, visualizations, moodboards, underpinning arguments, concept presentation (focus on concept, presentation skills are assessed elsewhere), script, synopsis, game design document (focus on storyline and perception), concept-art, audio
• The composition of the media relating to the product: text, image, audio, moving image, interaction

An open mind, focused on innovation, thinking creatively, thinking laterally, thinking around the problem, spotting opportunities, pro-active

At the start of each multimedia product/service we find the concept. The concept answers the question: what are we going to make and why? This competency is all about generating ideas for use, appearance, packaging and marketing of the product on the basis of its function.

3. Design
The multimedia specialist designs multimedia products and services on the basis of the concept

• Using artistic vision and skills, and with the client’s problem as a starting point, translates a multimedia concept to mock-ups, sketches, audio design, moodboards and prototypes
• Incorporates mock-ups, sketches, moodboards and prototypes, graphic, technical, functional and audio design in a design document
• Uses design document as a means of communication with the client

• Core product: design document (this is a part of the project plan)

Aware of the balance between man, technology and emotion/perception, Aware of use, commercial value and user friendliness, Consistent, Confident of one’s own artistic style, Integral thinking: making integral design choices in graphics, technology and function, Quality conscious

This competency focuses on the development of concept into design, and on answering the question: how are we going to make it and by what means? The multimedia specialist is expected to bring together technology, ergonomics, graphic/audio design, usability, and functionality into one effective design.

4. Multimedia production
The multimedia specialist carries out multimedia designs

• Selects tools necessary for producing the solution and learns how to handle them
• Chooses production methods in the best price/quality ratio
• Uses design document as starting point for product realization process
• Through a combination of media produces an effective end-product
• In the production process monitors consistency of end-product in relation to concept and design
• For fine-tuning confers with product makers, users and client
• Core-product: completely finished and fully operational end-product in accordance with prearranged criteria agreed upon by the client
• Sub-products: prototypes, audio-effects, audiotracks, programming code, video material, animations, texts, databases, packaging, manuals, dvds

Goal-oriented, Result-oriented, Eager to learn, Consistent, Accurate, Quality conscious

Design is converted into product. This competency is about selecting the multimedia tools eminently suited for realising the design and about gaining insight into the production process.

5. Quality monitoring & Implementation
The multimedia specialist guarantees the quality of multimedia applications for the purpose of implementation

• Evaluates quality of applications through tests in various stages of production
• Processes test results and, if necessary, organizes a course of remedial actions
• Develops and monitors quality policy
• Implements multimedia application in setting

• Core products: test protocols, tests, other documents relating to quality monitoring
• Implemented end-product
• Other evidence: implementation training

Quality-oriented, Focused on efficiency and effectivity, Focused on prevention, Focused on user’s needs and means, Meticulous

This competency is about completing the production process. The multimedia specialist manufactures a product while keeping a close eye on the quality of that which is produced. Testing in various stages of production ensures delivery of a professional product. The last stage of this process consists of implementing the product in the desired environment.

6. Multidisciplinary teamwork
The multimedia specialist collaborates systematically and productively
in a multidisciplinary team

• Collaborates
• Makes optimal use of everybody’s expertise
• Stimulates fellow team-members to perform
• Makes expectations a subject of discussion
• Makes ambiguous matters a subject of discussion
• Contributes actively to team result
• Presides over meetings
• Takes minutes at meetings
• Takes responsibility
• Tackles others about not keeping appointments
• Works in an English-speaking environment

• Core product: a well-oiled team
• Sub-products: Project file containing agendas, minutes, plannings, budget, group logo and house style

Result-oriented, Quality-conscious, Committed to the team, Proud of his own work, Responsible, Generous with his own knowledge, Stimulating, Able to empathize with team members’ different professional lines of approach

Key idea in this competency is the value of diversity in a project team. Learning to collaborate on the basis of different perspectives and varying views on how to achieve good results is what it is all about.

7. Communication
The multimedia specialist communicates with colleagues, clients and other stakeholders both in English and in Dutch

• Makes and maintains contacts
• Shows a clear understanding of client’s interests
• Asserts his own point of view and convinces others
• Distills important information from oral and written communications
• Deploys journalistic skills to communicate ideas, concepts etc. orally and in writing to team and client, both in Dutch and in English

• Presentations, articles, plans

Socially adept, Diplomatic, Goal-oriented, Convincing, Pragmatic, Patient, Prepared to listen

The ability to convey and receive messages correctly plays an important part in the interaction between all parties participating in the multimedia project. This competency is about insight into the process of communication and the skills necessary to bring about effective communication.

8. Project Management
The multimedia specialist manages a team on the basis of goals set

• Puts together a team appropriate to the assignment
• Observes the rules that govern project-based working
• Establishes rules and adheres to them
• Tackles others about not keeping appointments
• Sets goals and communicates them to others
• Structures problems and tasks
• Prioritizes, determines project phases, plans

Core product: project plan, finished project

Pro-active, Helicopter view, Tactful, Mediator, Result-oriented, People person, Decisive, Open to suggestions and criticism

Multimedia products and solutions are the results of multimedia projects, temporary efforts made to realize specific objectives. Learning how to plan, how to organize and how to manage means in a multimedia project form the core of this competency.

9. Share
The multimedia specialist shares knowledge and skills for the sake of innovation and development

• Shares knowledge, skills and experiences
• Participates in various communities, transcending the boundaries of working environment and workfield
• Attends lectures, takes part in meetings and public information activities.
• Attends and organizes exhibitions and events
• Evaluates events and gives feedback
• Sharpens his own views on the knowledge and views of others
• Develops multidisciplinary knowledge-networks for his own benefit and that of his working environment
• Informs himself and others on regional, national and international developments in his workfield

• Personal weblog, portfolio, reports
• Status of network and of the application of social media-techniques
• Presentation, demonstration, lecture, exhibition

Dare to share, Share what you know, learn what you don't, Committed to study- and/or work community

Sharing knowledge generates new learning processes. This competency is about more than just giving and getting information: rather, it focuses on learning with and from each other so that new capacities can be developed.

10. Growth & Reflection
The multimedia specialist reflects on his own work and actions

• Sets achievable goals for himself
• Formulates his own individual activities within the competencies on the basis of his own individual starting point and learning objectives
• Reflects (on his own actions, work, convictions, attitude, learning style, role, ambition, artistic style)
• Enumerates the points that require improving
• After reflection improves his performance

• Core product: Personal Development Plan, portfolio, reflection report

Eager to learn, life-long learning, willing to reflect, self-assured, open to feedback, straightforward, frank, goal-oriented

In order to keep up with a rapidly changing world lifelong learning is of paramount importance. This competency is about taking responsibility for one’s own growth process, in which reflection helps to assess the value of each learning experience.

List of terms

Meeting of teachers and project group at which students demonstrate their competencies. Assessments take place at mid-term and at the end of the project
List of behavioural indicators that you have to exhibit to achieve the competency
Informal group of 40 to 80 students plus a number of teachers, in which you network, share knowledge, and brainstorm for the purpose of developing ideas and innovations
Combination of knowledge, skills and attitude which enables you to function adequately in a professional environment on a Bachelor level
Competency profile
The 10 competencies you work at in order to satisfy the profile requirements of a CMD graduate
Conference with a teacher at the request of the project group, usually lasting half an hour
European Credits, credit system in use at Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences in Europe. One year of studies is equivalent to 60 EC
Digital system to store students’ results for the purpose of monitoring study progress
Study coach, one-on-one contact to discuss study progress
Mentality that you need to have to be able to achieve a competency. The mindset is not assessed. Rather it is used for giving feedback.
On-demand learning
Learning process in which the students formulate their own learning demands instead of the teacher telling them what they need to know.
PDP Personal Development Plan
a document in which you enter, per period, the competencies you plan to work at, the activities you plan to undertake, including the level at which to realize them, and the number of EC you intend to earn
A folder ((often digital) containing an inventory of your efforts, progress and achievements (competencies), proof of achievement, criteria for judging merits, and a peronal step-by-step plan. An important component of the portfolio is a showcase featuring your best work. A portfolio is a job-hunting tool that gives employers a complete picture of who you are
Practice-directed learning
You learn from practice-based cases. Practice settings steer your learning process and vice versa: findings and insights developed by CMD students find their way into professional practice.
Project-based working
Learning and developing competence by carrying out projects in groups of 5 students for external clients
All products that are the intended result of a project and which are presented during the assessment as proof of competence
Self analysis to determine, with the help of feedback from project members, the effectiveness of personal decisions and actions, resulting in a plan for remedial action
Coaches project groups in weekly meeting to discuss project progress