In the second funding phase, the online assessment infrastructure for university-wide subject-specific advisement is to be further expanded. The goal is to improve first-year students’ entry into higher education, reducing both the dropout rate and subject changes by utilizing a diagnostic-based approach to subject selection and providing needs-based individual support for students in the period leading up to and during their first year of study at university. This will be achieved through the further development and expansion of the program areas online interest test, online self-assessment test, and individual orientation advisement.
The online interest test will be continuously optimized based on feedback from the participants. The longitudinal evaluation of the online interest test will be continued in order to ensure inclusion of particularly meaningful evaluation criteria, such as data on the completion of studies or career choice.
Online self-tests for an initial aptitude assessment will be made available for additional, larger degree programs. Whenever possible, peer information provided by students will be integrated into the online self-tests for the benefit of prospective students. This is intended to facilitate a greater reference to reality and avoid false expectations regarding a subject of study.
An essential goal of the expansion of the online orientation program area is to provide a standardized and meaningful basis for continuing individual advisement at the Central Student Advisory Office or at the university’s Aptitude Psychology Counseling Center. Due to the ever more diverse range of courses offered at JMU, both the choice of course of study and the assessment of potential occupational fields is becoming increasingly complex for pupils and prospective students. With this in mind, JMU plans to work together with the Career Center, the Central Student Advisory Office and the Orientation Advisement Center to provide first-year students with information before or at the start of their studies regarding occupational fields and prospects that will arise after they have completed their studies.
Website Online Assessment
Image source: University of Würzburg
Image source: University of Würzburg
The electronic early warning system compiles interdisciplinary statistics that are used to identify critical phases in the course of studies and, if necessary, implement countermeasures in a timely manner.
One of the primary tasks in the further development of the early warning system in the second funding period is to organize the results into flexible report modules that can be called up directly by individual faculties. This enables the analysis of statistical variables that play a role in delayed degrees and dropouts. In addition to student, program, module, and examination data, unstructured evaluation data, e.g. from EvaSys, can also be analyzed.
In the near future, the electronic early warning system will be integrated into the university campus management system WueStudy in order to make the data available for the quality management of studies and teaching in a sustainable, demand-oriented way.
Image source: University of Würzburg
The aim of these preparatory measures is to smooth the transition from school to university, as well as to improve students’ academic abilities via the provision of additional fundamental knowledge and skills, thus shortening the necessary period of study itself or reducing the risk of dropping out of university.
Differentiation between both language preparatory courses and preparatory courses in the humanities and social sciences should occur based on whether they take place before, during, or after students’ first semester of study. Preparatory courses after the first semester – which are offered to specific students after they have received their first semester performance records – are intended to help address existing deficits or gaps in knowledge and skills. This offer is also to be extended for courses that have thus far not featured any preliminary courses.
The MINT prep-course program is to be maintained and structured based on previous experience, development of course program usage data, and feedback from students, and filled with differentiated course formats. Furthermore, the existing spectrum of courses is to be expanded to include tailor-made preliminary courses for students of specialized combination courses and for students of minor subjects. The established preliminary course concept that has been implemented in the degree programs of computer science, mathematics, and physics will be adapted by further MINT subjects.
Learning materials from the courses will be made available to participants online in the Moodle platform WueCampus. At the end of the second funding phase, these materials as well as supplementary e-learning formats, designed according to a propaedeutic perspective, will be offered to first-year students via the planned study orientation portal to facilitate preparatory self-study.
The highly demanded range of summer and winter schools for German and foreign students is to be continued and expanded to include further subject areas. The goal is to familiarize students with interesting subject areas and the latest research results and techniques, and to promote the practical application of the theoretical knowledge acquired during their studies. In the interest of interdisciplinarity, cross-faculty schools, for example to facilitate acquisition of intercultural skills, are planned as well.
The planned summer and winter schools will continue to address the needs of bachelor and master students from JMU and other universities in Germany and abroad. Participants in the programs benefit from the expertise of renowned lecturers as well as from discussions with international peers and experts, and have the opportunity to form additional networks and cooperative relationships.
Summer/Winter Schools at the University of Würzburg 2018/19 funded by the Quality Pact for Teaching:
European Business Law 19.-23. Februar 2018
Digitization offers new opportunities for university teaching. The eLearning and Blended Learning approaches to teaching and learning cover a wide range of different computer-based methods and technologies. At an early stage, JMU began working to establish the necessary infrastructure to support teachers and learners; measures include provision of multimedia equipment in lecture halls as well as central technical support services and training courses. These initiatives will be combined and expanded as part of a comprehensive university-wide strategy within the BMBF’s Quality Pact for Teaching program.
The implementation of this overall strategy is to be user-focused. Prior to the expansion and application of the range of eLearning and Blended Learning methods, a needs assessment must be carried out across the entirety of the university and its faculties. It will take into account all faculties, academic disciplines and subject-specific principles, and the needs and requirements of both teachers and learners will be considered.
The aim of this overall strategy and the associated initiatives is to identify and provide needs-based methods and technologies for the use of eLearning and Blended Learning. This includes research into methods as well as the development of practically relevant case studies and derivation of approaches from best practice models. Conceptual as well as technological questions regarding the daily activities of teachers and learners will be considered and corresponding targeted solutions will be developed.
Website “eLearning & Blended Learning”
Image source: University of Würzburg
The early appointment of professors serves to improve teaching quality in high demand academic fields. For the second funding phase of the Quality Pact for Teaching, the University of W[LM1] ürzburg has applied for early appointments to professorships in various faculties.
The university-wide KOMPASS tutor and mentor program, training tutors and mentors in university teaching methodologies, is to be continued and further developed in the faculties of the university, with plans for expansion of some sub-areas. Click here to learn more about the highlights of the faculties.
The goal of the second funding period is to provide all tutors and mentors at the university with the higher education training developed within the framework of the Quality Pact for Teaching, including quality-assured peer instruction methods.
A further focus of the work in the second funding phase is the introduction of the inverted classroom concept in tutorials. Among other things, subject-specific video glossaries as well as explanatory, definition, or demonstration videos are planned, all of which will create more time for activating methods and in-depth learning during traditional classroom instruction, particularly in the case of the tutorials that frequently accompany lectures or seminars. ELearning offers and interactive modules are to be developed, which will be targeted at specific addressees, such as non-native speakers.
In the case of individual mentoring, a focus should be placed on support for foreign students and non-native speakers. To this end, more orientation tutorials are being offered, especially for foreign students.
Website: KOMPASS Tutors and Mentors Program
Image source: University of Würzburg
In order to effectively bundle and clearly present information on the entry phase of higher education, a portal for first-year students is to be installed on JMU’s website. It will guide first-year students, providing them with a clear route to study at the university. This central portal is intended to bundle, update, and network all university programs and structures in a user-friendly way for the phase of entry into studies. It will be supplemented by digital brochures, video tutorials, and expanded advisement support including a chat room.
In addition to the previously detailed measures, the second funding phase will provide increased support for students in the area of “Scientific Writing”.
To this end, the JMU is establishing a scientifically oriented “Writing Center” which, as a service facility for students, pools a large number of writing support services in both German and English.
The Writing Center supports students in the creation of texts that meet general scientific standards and requirements, and provides access to specialized writing support in the subjects of the university.
With the establishment of a scientifically oriented Writing Center, JMU belongs to a steadily growing number of renowned German and international universities that support students by teaching writing from a pedagogical and scientific perspective.
Website: Writing Center
Image source: University of Würzburg
A central element of this sub-measure is the training of student tutors in university teaching methods, so that they may hold courses with up to 20 participants in which they are able to address questions and comprehension problems in a targeted way. For the training of tutors and mentors, the university continues to rely on academic staff with special expertise in the didactics of higher education in the natural sciences and humanities. The university-wide training of tutors and mentors carried out thus far is therefore to be continued according to the established quality standards.
In addition, both existing expertise and new methods are to be reliably documented and made widely accessible via the creation of online courses featuring detailed guidelines for action (SOP) and a provision of a collection of specialist essays, short films and further literature, all of which will be available to all coordinators, teachers, and mentors/tutors. Within the framework of the second funding phase, new generations of tutors and mentors will continuously be trained in university didactics; this training will provide them with the skills to identify comprehension difficulties among students at an early stage as well as to hold eLearning and Blended Learning courses based on the Inverted Classroom concept.
The aim of the tutorials and mentoring is to improve the teaching and learning success of courses such as lectures through follow-up work, e.g. by including teaching videos on problem-solving strategies. Tutorial and mentoring session topics relate to university teaching knowledge and techniques for improved deepening of teaching content, as well as procedures to make comprehension problems visible and to solve them - but also presentation and moderation techniques, communication models, and the use of eLearning platforms.
By analyzing the results of tutorials and mentoring, and through evaluations conducted within these academic events, the results of the training program are incorporated into the quality management strategy of the university for study and teaching to ensure that improvements are made wherever possible and to identify examples of best practice. Students’ evaluations and the results of the early warning system are used to assess the success of training courses.
Website: KOMPASS Tutor and Mentor Program
The high quality of teaching at JMU is to be continuously expanded through a continuing education program for teachers that meets the specific needs of faculties. In addition to interdisciplinary and subject-specific seminars, this also includes workshops, lectures, and coaching. In order to provide all graduates of this program further opportunity to actively reflect on the knowledge they have acquired and to document its practical implementation, a specialization level comprising a total of 200 work unit credits has been introduced throughout Bavaria since 2015.
Focus Areas of Continuing Education Program:
- Interdisciplinary Seminars
- Subject-specific Seminars
- Specialization Level
- Internationalization Courses
- Group and Individual Coachings
The University of Würzburg makes a particularly valuable contribution to this program, which is described in the proposal of the “ProfiLehrePlus” network of Bavarian universities, through its work with the inverted classroom concept open to all Bavarian universities.
For lecturers, further information on the entire range of continuing education courses is to be produced and disseminated. This will also include a more focused internet presence and the maintenance of a blog in which expertise is made available through written entries and teaching videos, drawing attention to the offers in continued university teaching education.
In the second funding period, the offers of the “Global Systems and Intercultural Competence Plus” (GSIKplus) program are to be extended to the entire university. In addition to the implementation of course programs, online courses will be offered in order to enable flexible participation. An important prerequisite for university-wide penetration of the courses is a combination of classroom events such as seminars and role-plays with eLearning and Blended Learning methods as well as best practice podcasts. The evaluation of the GSIKplus database has shown that thus far, predominantly Bachelor students from the humanities have taken part in the events. This target group will now be expanded through provision of specially focused content for students of the natural sciences and medicine. This integration is being undertaken at the request of students, as it is becoming increasingly necessary for them to acquire intercultural skills during their studies due to internships abroad and the increasingly globalized labor market.
Further expansion is to occur through events that take up new thematic aspects, such as heterogeneous social structures resulting from migration movements, diversity, or inclusion. The aim is to offer students from all fields of study a program through which they can acquire a type of additional knowledge that is becoming increasingly important for their professional life. For this purpose, the corresponding events will be designed and coordinated by GSIKplus. Furthermore, this project will be made even more practice-oriented by the intensified development of its own teaching program. This program is intended to impart intercultural competence and facilitate active experience of global systems and their interrelationships via experience-based learning.
The GSIKplus seminars will be increasingly offered as a combination of lectures and workshops with video content in the framework of eLearning and Blended Learning. The combination of virtual seminar rooms and face-to-face courses will be used to establish direct contact with foreign partner universities and their students. Another focus of the second funding period will be the expansion of the database (featuring bibliography and list of methods).
The University of Würzburg’s continuing education program ProfiLehre is funded by the BMBF within the framework of the “Quality Pact for Teaching” as part of the individual project of the University of Würzburg and within the framework of the Bavarian joint project ProfiLehrePlus.
In addition to the constant updating of both the interdisciplinary and subject-specific seminar and coaching offerings, the University of Würzburg has identified the in-depth work on the thematic group [LM1] “New Concepts in Teaching and Learning” as a field of special competence for itself.
Here, the core focus is the utilization of new media as well as the didactical questions and opportunities that arise from its usage. In the course of implementing the thematic group, seminars on the “Inverted Classroom” dealing with the didactically meaningful integration of webinars and individually available online courses will be increased. The range of services also includes advice and support in everyday teaching activities as well as well as a professional teaching blog. Lecturers can use the latter to illustrate, among other things, the production of their own teaching material.
The measures to internationalize the university include supplementary topic-specific seminars and lectures, as well as follow-up workshops, held by staff of both domestic and foreign universities.
The reference library provided in the ProfiLehre topic area of Professional Teaching at Universities is continuously being expanded and equipped with up-to-date literature to meet the needs of all training areas. Literature is available for borrowing on site and via internet loan.