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Digital Semester: FAQs for teachers

Answers to the most frequently asked questions
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Dear lecturer,

The corona pandemic brings about many challenges for teaching, also at our University. We would like to provide you with the best possible support in organizing your teaching in the summer semester 2020. Therefore, we have compiled the most important information about teaching on this page, which may be helpful for you now

Questions regarding exams in winter semester 2019/2020​

1. How will the exams for the 2019/20 winter semester be held, which had to be cancelled due to the Corona crisis? Show content

For reducing the infection risk, online examinations are to be given preference and on-site examinations can only take place in compliance with the hygiene and distance rules. Organizing online examinations helps to avoid that students travel to Jena for the sole purpose of participating in the exams or that they have to stay together in large groups in closed rooms for a longer period of time.
Therefore, please make use of digitally supported exam formats if this is possible for your courses.

Please see https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalesprüfende (in German) for the necessary information on alternative examination formats such as digital exams, interactive examination formats and other written examination formats. On that page, you will also find short instructions, forms to download, and the contact details of Dr Tina Wolf who will be happy to provide individual advice on questions concerning digital examination formats. (There is also an information page on digital examinations for studentsde (in German). You are welcome to make your students aware of it.)

Oral examinations can be held via video conference subject to the agreement of examiner and examinee. In case an examiner suspects an attempt of cheating, they can stop the exam at any time. In this case the examination will be postponed to the next possible on-site date.

Examinations already announced for the 2019/2020 winter semester, which could not be replaced by digital formats, can—in exceptional cases—be held on site.

Students must be notified of the examination dates at least 14 days in advance. Certain groups of students (e.g. students who are subject to specific regulations as per currently applicable ordinances), however, require longer notice periods.

Students who cannot participate in examinations due to the pandemic must not suffer any disadvantage with regard to the examination regulations. Detailed information on how to handle such situations is provided by the relevant examination office.

When carrying out examinations on site, the applicable health protection regulations must always be observed. In case of written on-site examinations, Lecture Hall Management / Division 4 must be contacted (see central FAQs for the University’s hygiene regulation and other recommendations, e.g. regarding the obligation to wear a mouth and nose protection).

Regulations for state examinations are issued by the respective state examination offices.

Questions regarding teaching and exams in summer semester 2020

2. What consequences does the current situation have for the summer semester 2020? Show content

By resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, the summer semester will be a regular semester. The semester dates (1 April – 30 September 2020) remain unchanged. The lecture period at our University begins on 4 May and ends on 17 July 2020.

Due to the shortened lecture period, the focus of the summer semester is on teaching core competences. For this reason, course contents and examination forms may deviate from the module descriptions to a reasonable extent.

Face-to-face teaching and on-site examinations should be avoided and replaced by digital teaching and learning formats to the greatest possible extent.

Please inform the students as early as possible about the changed teaching and examination formats.

3. Will face-to-face teaching be possible during the summer semester 2020 and for which period should I switch to digital formats? Show content

The return to regular face-to-face teaching depends on the pandemic regulations of both federal state and city. The corona infection rate in Jena is currently fairly relaxed. The Executive Board has therefore decided to expand the possibilities for on-site events during the remaining weeks of lectures in the summer semester and during the lecture-free period according to certain criteria. (If the pandemic situation changes, it may be necessary to reverse the relaxation of restrictions.)

In addition to the on-site events already approved—practical laboratory courses, practical sports courses, fieldtrips, and medically indicated supervision—the following events can be held on site with limited presence until further notice:

Participation in online lectures for students

When recording online lectures in large lecture halls (not seminars or comparable courses), up to 30 students can participate after prior registration with the teacher. Attention should be paid to this:

  • There must be no obligation to travel to Jena.
  • Participation must be voluntary.
  • The contents relevant to the examination must be provided digitally in full and in a timely manner.
Courses accompanying theses

Events such as research colloquia for the supervision of degree theses can be organized if the following conditions are met:

  • There must be no obligation to travel to Jena.
  • Participation must be voluntary.
  • The number of participants is limited to 30 persons.

The following general rules apply to face-to-face meetings:

 

Please refrain from postponing face-to-face courses by holding them in blocks at the end of or after the current lecture period, as this would cause many course and/or examination dates to overlap, which would be unfeasible for students. This does not apply to:

  • courses where the use of technical equipment and facilities of the University is absolutely essential (e.g. laboratories) and which have to be re-organized due to the hygiene regulations currently in force
  • practical courses and fieldtrips which were originally planned to take place in blocks or which generally take place at the end of the lecture period
4. What should be taken into account when digital teaching formats are provided Show content

Students must be able to access online lectures and digitized learning materials during the entire lecture period or at least until the date of the examination. (The following is an example as to how a copyright statement could be included in digitally published contents: "This video may contain material protected by copyright. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited and could result in prohibitory injunctions and claims for damages.")

Please ensure that all students are able to participate in digitized courses. Currently, not all students are able to participate in a digitized course at a given time, e.g. due to poor internet connections or childcare duties.

Thus, please avoid delivering lectures in real time, if possible. If video recordings and screencasts are not sufficient from a didactic point of view and if synchronous interaction is indispensable for you please make sure to record the livestream of the lecture for the reasons stated above or make all teaching contents of relevance to the examinations available to students in a suitable form and at least until the examination date.

This is also true for the use of conferencing tools, e.g. for virtual meetings with students: should the web conference contain contents which are relevant for completing an assessment, it is vital that the contents are made available after the meeting in a didactically reasonable way (in the form of recordings, lecture notes, minutes or the like).

Please also take the data protection regulations applying to the use of digital teaching and learning formats into consideration. When using conferencing tools, for example, appropriate data protection notifications must be included in the invitation to the meeting. For further information on data protection, please refer to HanFRIEDde.

5. Do the examinations in the summer semester also have to be converted to digital formats? Show content

The organization of examinations in the summer semester is also based on the premise of reducing the infection risk. This means that online examinations are to be given preference and on-site examinations can only take place in compliance with the hygiene and distance rules.

  • Organizing online examinations helps to avoid that students travel to Jena for the sole purpose of participating in the exams or that they have to stay together in large groups in closed rooms for a longer period of time.

    Therefore, please make use of digitally supported exam formats if this is possible for your courses.
    Please see https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalesprüfende (in German) for the necessary information on alternative examination formats such as digital exams, interactive examination formats and other written examination formats. On that page, you will also find short instructions, forms to download, and the contact details of Dr Tina Wolf who will be happy to provide individual advice on questions concerning digital examination formats. (There is also an information page on digital examinations for studentsde (in German). You are welcome to make your students aware of it).

  • If you are unable to find alternative solutions and thus have to carry out examinations on site, you must make sure that the examinations are held in rooms that allow compliance with the hygiene regulations in place (see central FAQs for the University’s hygiene regulation and other recommendations, e.g. regarding the obligation to wear a mouth and nose protection). This requires a great deal of organizational efforts, especially in case of examinations with many participants.
    If you have questions regarding the organization of unavoidable on-site examinations or need to book a room, please send an email to raumverwaltung@uni-jena.de well in advance. (If you booked a room for an examination and no longer need it because you have found an alternative form of assessment, please free the slot as soon as possible.)

When determining the contents and forms of assessment, you should make sure that students can realistically meet the requirements, especially having in mind the overall situation they are facing (several examinations at the same time, reduced lecture period, unfamiliar course formats, limited opportunity for queries, etc.).

Please inform the students about any changes in forms of assessment as soon as possible.

Students who write bachelor’s and master’s theses in experimental subjects should continue to work from home wherever possible. As supervising lecturer, please check whether the topic can possibly be adapted in order to place greater emphasis on data evaluation or literature research, for example. If this is not possible or only possible to a limited extent, students may be granted access to the laboratories of the working groups for the time of their laboratory work in the course of the bachelor’s and master’s theses. In addition to the general safe laboratory practices, the hygiene regulations valid at the time must also be observed.

6. Is there legal certainty with regard to alternative examination formats and are there any special arrangements to compensate for disadvantages suffered in examinations in the summer semester? Show content

In order to create legal certainty with regard to alternative examination formats and to avoid disadvantages under examination law for students in the current semester, the Senate of the Friedrich Schiller University adopted Corona Framework Statutes [pdf 269KB] on 2 June 2020. Following the publication of the higher-level Thuringian Law on the Implementation of Necessary Measures in Connection with the Coronavirus Pandemic (Thüringer Gesetz zur Umsetzung erforderlicher Maßnahmen im Zusammenhang mit der Corona-Pandemie, ThürCorPanG) on 24 June, these Framework Statutes came into force.

The statutes provide lecturers with the legal framework for necessary deviations from examination formats and for conducting online examinations, among other things.

In the current semester, students can, for example, cancel their exam registration up to one week prior to the examination without giving any reasons. In addition, deadlines for term papers and theses may be extended upon request if this is necessary to compensate for pandemic-related disadvantages.

7. Who can I contact with questions regarding the contents and organization of courses and examinations in the summer semester? Show content

If you have any questions regarding courses and examinations in the summer semester, please contact the person responsible for the study programme or the relevant examination office.

8. Where can I get information digital teaching, learning and examination formats? Show content

Information on the creation of digital teaching and learning formats: The Servicestelle LehreLernen supports you in creating the transfer to digital teaching and learning formats. In addition to the usual advisory services, the staff of the Servicestelle LehreLernen are available to answer your questions about e-learning from Monday to Friday, 10:00–14:00 by telephone on +49 3641 9‑401255 or 9‑401257. Please also refer to the website “Teaching during the Corona pandemic” for extensive information and tips regarding digital teaching.

The Office Digital University provides information regarding the availability of learning and teaching platforms and videoconferencing systems for digital teaching on its website (in German, https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalde).

For information regarding digital examination formats, please see https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalesprüfende (in German). Here, you can find tips, short instructions and forms for the implementation of digital examination formats as well as the contact details of Dr Tina Wolf who will be happy to provide individual advice on questions concerning digital examination formats.

9. Which teaching platforms / learning platforms / video conferencing systems do I have access to as contract teacher? Show content

Contract teachers have access to moodle, NextCloud, zoom, and (soon) WebEx via their guest user credentials. DFNconf is currently only available to the University’s employees. The administrative assistants in the institutes, f.e., can create meeting rooms protected with a Host Pin, which lecturers can use to access the rooms and act as moderators. As we are still experiencing stability issues with Adobe Connect, we recommend using alternative services like Zoom or WebEx instead.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use MS Teams via the Thuringian higher education’s Microsoft platform, because the contracts with Microsoft only apply to direct University members.

The Office Digital University provides information regarding the tools’ usability on its website (in German, https://www.uni-jena.de/digital). The Servicestelle LehreLernen provides didactic advice regarding the use of above-mentioned tools in a higher education context (https://www.lehrelernen.uni-jena.de/en/teaching+during+corona-pandemia).

Contract teachers can request guest user credentials from the IT service centre (https://www.uni-jena.de/Gastkennzeichen), provided that their application for a teaching assignment contains all necessary data.

10. To what extent can I use the ThULB’s library services in order to make literature and course readings for the summer semester available to my students? Show content

Since the end of May, the Thuringian University and State Library (ThULB) has gradually reopened for on-site working and learning as well as lending.

For up-to-date information regarding the ThULB reopening, its digital resources and special provisions of publishers and information providers, please refer to www.thulb.uni-jena.de or in particular: https://www.thulb.uni-jena.de/DigitalesSemester.html (in German only).

Questions about teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021

11. What do we already know about the winter semester 2020/2021? Show content

The following applies for the winter semester 2020/2021:

The semester period from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021 will remain unchanged. The lecture period will begin on 2 November 2020 and end on 12 February 2021.

The decision to postpone the beginning of the lecture period by two weeks, to 2 November 2020, is based on a decision of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs from 3 April 2020. This is due to the postponed Abitur examinations and, consequently, the postponed application deadlines for study programmes with admission restrictions subject to the DoSV application procedure.

At the moment, it is impossible to foresee how many on-site courses we can offer in the winter semester 2020/2021 and which groups can be taught on site, as the pandemic will not be over by then. Currently, the Executive Board is examining different scenarios in order to be able to make an informed decision soon and thus create concrete framework conditions.

To be on the safe side, please be prepared to offer all courses in the winter semester 2020/2021 in a digital format. A gradual return from digital courses to face-to-face courses beyond the current exemptions can be achieved more easily than yet another transition to online teaching on short notice.

For the reasons given, all course planning in Friedolin with regard to room occupancy is also subject to change. Please carry out reservation enquiries as you would under normal conditions, i.e. with normal room occupancy. Rooms will be allocated at a later point in time and subject to the conditions foreseeable at that time.

Information

Your questions are not answered yet?

You are also welcome to visit the general website for information about the current semester, for example with information for students or for employees.

If you have further questions that are not answered in the FAQs, please feel free to contact us directly by email. We will attend to your questions and queries as quickly as possible and ask you for your understanding and patience.

Office of the Vice-President for Learning and Teaching
Fürstengraben 1
07743 Jena
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