Demand from students and lecturers

09.12.2020, by Ursula Müller

Eight months after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the HFT Stuttgart is in its second "online semester". Even in November, the question still arises as to how any restrictions can be cushioned as well as possible by using the most modern technologies. As a basis for improvements and approaches to solutions for teaching operations, the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Building Physics and Economics (Faculty B) is using a comprehensive survey of students and teachers, which was carried out at the end of the "Corona Summer Semester 2020".

Fortunately, all courses of study have been evaluated very positively with regard to communication, support from the university and the tools and materials available.

"We were promptly informed about news. The teaching staff tried to adapt the online teaching as well as possible to us students and the situation.

"You can see (almost) all of them made a great effort to make the semester fair for the students according to the circumstances."

Concrete conclusions were drawn from experience and implemented in teaching in the current "Corona Winter Semester 20/21". Thus, more mixed forms of synchronous and asynchronous teaching are now being practiced, since students found it difficult to concentrate in online real-time lectures over a longer period of time. In addition, an insufficient internet connection or lack of hardware has been revealed as a further problem. In order to counteract this, the university has been providing individual rooms and WLAN for self-study phases at the HFT since the end of October in justified exceptional cases.

However, the contact between fellow students, which has been reduced to a minimum, is perceived as the greatest restriction of online teaching. The university-wide zoom campus licence, available since October, now facilitates the exchange between students and the work on joint projects. At least the students seem to enjoy the great flexibility in terms of time and place:

"The elimination of travel time to the university saves me a lot of time in everyday life. It also helps me a lot that I can structure my day myself and that I am less bound to the timetable due to asynchronous formats".

Furthermore, the students also positively evaluate the flexibly handled examination forms. In some cases, semester/group work was used and the learning material was adapted.

"I personally find the examination modalities very fair this semester, considering the circumstances! A good signal from the university that its students are important to it and that it will not let them down, also in comparison to the situation at other universities and colleges, I find the solutions that have been found very good.

The teachers were also asked about their experiences with online teaching. 38 professors and 59 lecturers from Faculty B took part in the survey. Some particularly emphasized that the students quickly learned to work much more independently.

"The students who participate learn more sustainably and ask better and more interesting questions in real-time lectures."

"Computer and media management in the well-equipped home office is much easier than in the lecture hall."

Despite all the measures and some perceived advantages of online teaching, most students and lecturers would like to have the attendance teaching back. Too many aspects that ultimately make up life at the university have been neglected by the consequences of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the university is doing its best with various online offers to ensure that the students' everyday life is as varied as possible. It is becoming increasingly apparent that "normal" classroom teaching will continue to be enriched by a variety of tools in the future. But until then, many suggestions will be taken up and the best of the situation will be made together.