On-campus, online or digitally enhanced?

Teaching formats at a glance

At the University of Konstanz, we support and promote the digitalization of teaching, which encompasses a variety of concepts. Our focus is not on replacing on-campus classes, but on enhancing this format by including digital elements. This way, the opportunities of digitally enhanced work and communication can be combined with the advantages of social interaction among the students when they exchange experiences and study together on campus.

The digitalization of teaching is now visible in the ZEuS online course catalogue: in addition to the classic on-campus format, the field "course format" also lists four different formats that are either digitally enhanced or completely digital. You can find out more about these formats below.

1. On-campus

On-campus classes take place entirely or mainly in person. There is no digital interaction during or in addition to the course. Although literature, lecture slides or exercises are provided digitally via ILIAS, no interactive digital elements such as regular digital forum posts are used.

2. On-campus, digitally-enhanced

Digitally-enhanced on-campus classes take place in person on campus. However, digital elements regularly complement the course, e.g. quizzes, digital editing and sharing of assignments in a forum, collaborative team work on documents and many other possibilities (see practical examples).

Hybrid settings, too, fall into this category. In hybrid courses, some students attend the course in person, while others are connected via videoconferencing. Hybrid courses have the advantage that students who cannot be on campus (e.g. due to illness, care duties, stays abroad) can also participate in the course. Moreover, this format enables collaborative courses with students or teachers from other universities.

3. Blended learning

In blended-learning courses, too, classes are complemented by digital elements. However, in-person classes and online phases alternate. All students may participate in the online class synchronously (videoconferencing), or asynchronously.

For example:
1. Courses with one ore more in-person units at the beginning, middle or end of an online learning phase.
2. Inverted-classroom formats, in which students weekly view digitized or online lectures as pre-class homework, and then participate in the corresponding on-campus classes, engaging in active learning experiences such as discussions, presentations or group activities (see practical examples)

4. Synchronous online

Synchronous online courses take place entirely "live" as a videoconference. Students do not have to be on campus to participate. In-person meetings with teachers, tutorials or other face-to-face elements may supplement the lectures. Preferably, students should also be able to complete the courses without attending such in-person events, or have an alternative online option.

Ideally, students can also take the required performance assessment (e.g. exam) at the end of the course without having to be on campus. Alternatively, the course information states when and where an on-campus exam will take place, so that students can plan accordingly when they register (see practical example)

5. Digital self-study

Digital self-study courses, too, can be completed from any location. In contrast to the synchronous online format, however, these courses are designed as asynchronous, digital self-study courses. The students can choose when they work on the course content and tasks, which are usually made available via ILIAS. To make it easier for students to participate regularly, it is recommended to structure the course with several deadlines spread over the semester or to additionally offer synchronous meetings with fellow students or the teacher (see practical examples).

If students need to be on campus for mandatory in-person events, please communicate this fact before they register for the course.

Planning your courses


Are you unsure which format is suitable for your course? You can find an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the various formats on the "Choosing a teaching format" web page.

What can digitally-enhanced courses look like? You can find ideas on our examples web page:

You can find detailed didactic tips on designing courses on the course planning web page: