The coronavirus pandemic was an unexpected challenge for studies and teaching at the University of Konstanz. “This experience, however, which was unusual in every respect for both teachers and students, has led to a certain familiarity with new teaching formats, which now gives us a cautiously optimistic outlook on the upcoming winter semester”, says Professor Michael Stürner, Vice Rector for Teaching and Curricular Affairs at the University of Konstanz. The aim for the winter semester 2020/2021 is to provide as much on-campus teaching as possible under the current conditions. An important part of this will be to combine several teaching formats to address the needs and requirements of various groups.
Getting closer to “normal”
The aim is to create a certain level of normality in line with the state provisions and the corresponding distance and hygiene regulations – especially for first-semester students who have to find their way in a new situation under the difficult conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as for students who will graduate soon.
“We want to create the best-possible study conditions for all our students, even in times of the coronavirus”, says Stürner. “We want to enable first-semester students in particular to build that vital relationship with their new university and department, which is why we prioritize this group when planning on-campus courses wherever possible. At the same time, protecting the health of all university members is extremely important.”
The challenge in the coming winter semester will be to balance all of these requirements. Stürner continues: “Thanks to the close contact to our partners at the state level and within the university we have already developed specific concepts for the winter semester. Of course our Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) is working hard to further improve the technical pre-requisites.”
From an online to a hybrid semester
The goal is to provide as much on-campus teaching as possible in the winter semester under the current conditions. “This means that we are diversifying”, says Dr Nikolaus Zahnen, director of Student Affairs and Teaching at the University of Konstanz, who is also involved with planning the winter semester. “We are planning on a hybrid semester”.
The plan is to offer students a combination of online, on-campus and mixed formats in response to the needs and possibilities of the individual subjects and study programmes. “Based on the notably positive experiences we gained during our online semester, we saw that the needs could be very differently distributed”, Zahnen adds. In order to identify these needs, the university conducted its own course evaluations along with special surveys for students and lecturers.
On the basis of both these findings and the experiences gained in the summer semester, specific measures will be developed for implementing the hybrid semester. Throughout this process, the University of Konstanz benefits from its flat hierarchies and its specific structures as a reform university. “We have the great advantage of being able to act quickly and achieve maximum results, and to make adjustments where necessary – if, for example, the legal and safety parameters change”, says Michael Stürner.
- University of Konstanz plans hybrid winter semester 2020/2021.
- The goal is to provide as much on-campus teaching as possible under the current conditions.
- Implementation of winter semester 2020/2021 to offer students a combination of online, on-campus and mixed formats in response to the needs and possibilities of the individual subjects and study programmes.
- Further details on the winter semester 2020/2021 at the University of Konstanz will be available soon on the university’s coronavirus website at uni.kn/en/coronavirus. The page also includes a variety of information about university operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Department-specific information will be made available in due course via the departmental websites.