Video conference with tiles of teacher and 12 students

Code of Conduct: Rules for Digital Teaching at Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Video conference with tiles of teacher and 12 students
Illustration: Joseph Morica /

The University of Jena agrees on the following rules for digital teaching. These rules were jointly developed by the Academy for Teaching Development, the Office Digital University Office and the Legal Office of the University of Jena. They provide the framework for successful digital teaching and learning at our University. All rules that are self-evident in face-to-face teaching and are not listed here also apply to digital teaching.                                         

Basic rules in the digital space

The following applies not only to face-to-face courses but also to interactions in the digital realm: the basis for successful teaching/learning exchange—whether among students, between teachers and students, or among teachers—is academic and subject-related, and at the same time polite, appreciative, respectful, fair, and tolerant interaction with one another.

The use of digital spaces and the joint work of teachers and students in them shall therefore follow well-established basic rules:

  • All necessary information for the implementation of digital courses (e.g. on the format of the course, tools used, and technical requirements) shall be made available to course participants in good time.
  • Teaching and learning materials provided are subject to the applicable copyright and usage regulations and may not be redistributed or modified unless stated otherwise. *
  • Teachers and students shall respect freedom of speech and expression, but will not tolerate any form of discriminatory behaviour or expression in the digital teaching and learning environment. *
  • Personal and sensitive information shall be kept confidential and shall not be stored, shared, or published without the consent of the person(s) concerned. *
  • Inappropriate content must not be disseminated. *
  • To facilitate constructive communication in the digital teaching and learning environment, low-threshold possibilities for feedback on courses and teaching or learning content between teachers and students and among students shall be offered, e.g. by using the various feedback functions in Moodle. Establishing feedback rules can be helpful in clarifying mutual expectations.

Special rules for conducting videoconferences

Teaching and learning are based on relationships and interaction. Video conferencing is often used to enable direct contact between teachers and students within the framework of digital teaching. The desired exchange within videoconferences requires all participants to adhere to well-established rules of conduct, which are listed below:

  • Only persons admitted to the course by the teacher(s) may participate in the video conferences. (Non-admitted persons can be removed from the conference by the responsible teacher(s).)
  • Any links, passwords or other access data received for video conferences must be treated confidentially and must be adequately protected from unauthorized access, unless the course was announced publicly.
  • Participants shall log into the digital course room on time for the start of the course and switch off their microphone.
  • In order to enable personal and differentiated communication and thus to ensure the quality of the course, it is desired that the camera is switched on when entering the course room.
  • Each participant shall ensure that there are no private objects or images in the camera's field of vision that should not be shared; if necessary, a virtual background can be used as a remedy.
  • Students shall follow the teacher's recommendations with regard to the implementation of the video conference as far as possible, e.g. switching on the camera, muting and activating the microphone. and using the chat. It is advisable to check the technology beforehand.
  • Teachers shall show understanding if students cannot follow the teacher's recommendations for comprehensible reasons, such as individual temporary restrictions regarding the use of technology. Such restrictions, which the students shall report to the teacher, shall not have a negative effect on the students.
  • Recording of courses or parts of courses shall only be permitted with the explicit consent of all teachers and students participating in the course*.
  • One’s own and other people's systems shall be protected from damage by taking basic recommendations on IT security such as the following into account; technical applications shall always be kept up-to-date by means of updates, passwords shall be chosen securely and virus scanners shall be used. The University of Jena provides advice on the matter:

Compliance with the rules

All teachers and students are required to comply with the rules for digital teaching.

In the event of serious or repeated violations of the rules, an attempt to clarify the matter with the person concerned shall be made in order to clear up any misunderstandings that may exist and to enable a change in behaviour. If this attempt proves unsuccessful, the head of the institute or the deans for student affairs of the relevant faculty shall be involved in the clarification process.

It is, of course, also possible to contact the equal opportunities officers in the faculties or at University level or the University's Diversity Officer.


* Violations of these rules may have legal consequences.