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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 has also brought about many challenges for teaching at our University. We would like to provide you with the best possible support in organizing your teaching in the summer semester 2020 and preparing for teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021. Therefore, we have compiled the most important information about teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021, which may be helpful for you now, on this page.

Preparing for teaching and examinations in the winter semester 2020/2021

Will the lecture period in the winter semester also be adjusted due to the pandemic? 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.

What should I consider when preparing for teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021? Show content

Even though the University leadership and teaching staff agree that a return to face-to-face teaching is important and desirable, it is also clear that the pandemic will not be overcome in the winter semester. Compliance with the currently recommended distance rules would imply that only a quarter of the seats in the course rooms at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena would be available. In the coming winter semester, on-site courses can thus only be offered for a small, clearly defined group of students. This possibility should primarily be given to first semester students. It should be possible to conduct certain courses for students in higher semesters on site, e.g. practical laboratory courses and the supervision of theses. The study programmes offered to international students represent a particular challenge. Due to various travel restrictions, it is uncertain whether this group of students it is will be able to be in Jena for the winter semester. However, a whole range of study programmes at our University lives mainly from the international students.

 

This results in the following conditions for teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021:

  • All courses are to be prepared in such a way that they can be offered digitally at short notice.
  • First semester students from Germany and—depending on the entry restrictions—also from abroad will be in Jena in the winter semester. Part of their courses will be conducted on site. Large courses (more than 25 people) should be avoided wherever possible in order to prevent potential superspreading events. Since the possibility of holding face-to-face courses still depends on the further development of the pandemic, all face-to-face courses for first year students are to be prepared in such a way that they can be offered online at short notice.
  • Depending on the capacity and orientation of the study programme, first semester students from abroad can be given a reliable beginning of studies via an online offer. If international first semester students are unable to travel to Jena, sufficient online teaching will be offered in the first semester (e.g. by recording/streaming face-to-face courses) to ensure that they are able to study.

All on-site activities that have been possible so far (examinations, practical laboratory courses, practical sports courses, fieldtrips, medically indicated supervision, participation in the recording of online lectures, research colloquia, and offers for master students, doctoral candidates and postdocs) can still take place in compliance with the conditions stated in the organizational instructions de.

In terms of course room allocation, the faculties were enquired about their demand for course rooms in the coming winter semester.

With regard to the winter semester, the faculties and central administrative units have jointly developed a categorization of course forms (Staff Unit Lecture Hall Management in the Division for Construction and Facility Management and the Friedolin Team in the Division for Student Affairs) in order to provide students with the best possible information about the form in which the respective courses can be offered.

The faculties’ departments—coordinated by the respective Office of the Dean of Studies—will update the course information in Friedolin in such a way that the category is displayed before the actual course title.

However, the form in which a course is offered is subject to change until just before the beginning of the lecture period to be able to react to current circumstances.

The courses are divided into the following four categories:

  • Online: a course that takes place exclusively online and does not require on-site attendance
  • Präsenz (on site): a course that is only held on site and not recorded
  • Online-Plus: a course that takes place partly online and partly on site, and that is not recorded
  • Hybrid: a course that is held on site for a limited number of participants, and that is streamed live and recorded

 

Students can access this information on the FAQs for Students pages: https://www.uni-jena.de/studium/faq+on+coronavirus+f%C3%BCr+students/questions+as+study-start%C3%A4ngerin+in+winter+semester+2020_21

You are welcome to refer your students to these pages.

 

What should be considered when offering face-to-face events in small groups Show content

If all students can be present and take part in face-to-face courses offered for a smaller number of participants (e.g. seminars, fieldtrips), these events do not have to be recorded. The course contents/results must be made available for exam preparation as usual.

Should individual students not be able to attend face-to-face courses (e.g. practical parts of courses) throughout the semester for special health reasons, an option to make up for missed classes by submitting alternative work can be defined for them. Students must contact the relevant lecturer before the start of the course.

Please also note the organizational instructions on the implementation of face-to-face courses (HanFRIED/CORONA/Präsenzveranstaltungen_Prüfungen_Exkursionen de).

Do the examinations in the winter semester also have to be converted to digital formats? Show content

The organization of examinations in the winter 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.

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. Please also refer to the question ‘What should be taken into account with regard to online examinations?’.

Is there legal certainty with regard to alternative examination formats and are there any special arrangements to compensate for disadvantages suffered in examinations? 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 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, students may apply for an extension of the deadlines for the submission of term papers and theses at the office responsible according to the examination regulations if this is necessary to compensate for pandemic-related disadvantages.

Who can I contact with questions?

Who can I contact with questions regarding the contents and organization of courses and examinations? Show content

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

Where can I get information digital teaching and learning formats? Show content

The Service Centre for Higher Education Didactics (LehreLernen) supports you in creating digital teaching and learning formats. In addition to the usual advisory services, the staff of the Service Centre 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.

Who can support me in the preparation of online exams? Show content

Dr Tina Wolf, Office of the Vice-President for Learning and Teaching, will be happy to provide individual advice on questions concerning online examination formats. For the contact details of Dr Wolf as well as a lot of further information regarding online examination formats, please see https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalesprüfen de (in German). (There is also an information page on online examinations for students de (in German). You are welcome to make your students aware of it.)

Who can I contact if I have a technical question? Show content

On the website of the Service Centre for Higher Education Didactics (LehreLernen) regarding ‘Teaching during the Corona pandemic’, you will find a comprehensive overview of contacts for technical or legal questions regarding the conversion to digital teaching and examination formats.

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/digital de).

What do I have to consider when offering digital teaching and online examinations?

  • What should be taken into account when digital teaching formats are provided?

    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.

    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 HanFRIED de.

    The Service Centre for Higher Education Didactics (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).
  • What should be taken into account with regard to online examinations?

    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.).

    Since 20 July, a dedicated examination server for online exams has been available at the University. This ensures the stability of the system even under high workloads. The system is based on the Moodle system known from teaching, but has been adapted for the examination context and is therefore recommended instead of the e-learning platform. The server can be reached at exam.uni-jena.de.

    A lot of further information on the subject of online examination formats (e.g. general information, brief instructions, forms for the implementation of online examination formats) can be found at https://www.uni-jena.de/digitalesprüfen de (in German).
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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