Even at most universities today without Internet nothing more: whether Application for one study place, Registration for an event, Common Things to Learn and even the exams themselves can now be done online! An overview of how such a networked student life could work.

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Those who previously applied for a place to study, went first, for example, to study guidance and informed themselves personally about the study program. Subsequently, an application form was completed and submitted.

It finally went off with the study, were often long queues in the matriculation unavoidable, finally, had to be much paper checked, stamped and filed. Much has changed:

vs. today…

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To secure the decision to study, participation in Online- Self-assessments possible (sometimes even required); it is not uncommon for online study advice to be provided by means of eMail or counseling chat offered by the colleges. And the application for a university course also works via the internet. Registering for courses or exams - that too can be done online.

Also lecture documents and lectures can be found online. Meanwhile, it is even possible to take exams partly on the computer. studienwahl.de shows what students expect at the university. How could such a networked student life in time-lapse actually work? An example:

Digital study preparation

Even at school, long before the start of their studies, future students can gain initial experience with the networked university: Peter is in the 12th grade and would like to study in his hometown of Berlin. To do this, he wants to find out more about the freeCourses on the Internet University inform. He finds an overview of theCourses on offer and the study requirements online and compares examination regulations. In addition, he can use the list of names and lectures to get an overview of the teaching content and research priorities at the click of a mouse and compare them with other universities.

The next step is reading I aufmerksam through all the information on how to structure a bachelor's degree and also watch videos. He's got a few more Ask, which he can clarify in the online chat with the General Student Advisory Service. Through the Internet, Peter also finds out about the possibilities of getting to know Freie Universität – for example as a guest student or through the inFU.tage, where you can find out about courses of study on site. The Combination of information on the Internet and orientation events at the university, Peter's decision matured in the course of his last school year: he would study economics.

Now it's time to get down to business: Peter can find out more about admission procedures and application deadlines on the university's website. For economics, he must first go through an online application process. The video learning modules on the university website help him prepare: he learns how the study and application work and is successful: Peter gets the place to study and can enroll at the university.

“Matriculation must be done in person or through an authorized representative. Every student receives the access data for our onlineSystem and can now make full use of the networked university”

explains Siegfried Engl from the student advisory service at Freie Universität Berlin. From now on, students like Peter can manage their entire course of study themselves with the Campus Management System. At first, Peter was irritated by the many Features and opportunities: But the college provides special training and online instructional videos, plus he can always turn to a tutor.

Campus Management: Student Life Online

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Soon Peter is familiar with the system and can register for all courses and exams in the coming semesters without standing in line. He also has to have bills and papers in Future no longer collect. Rather, the electronic system with a grades account keeps track of which courses he has already taken successfully completed and which ones are still needed. Peter can also call up the study certificates and information on the status of the re-registration at any time if he needs the information.

Peter finds it particularly useful that he can get very precise information about every event online: he can do that fast find out if he meets the requirements for a course. He finds out how many places are still available and how these will be allocated – for example by lottery or according to the speed of registration.

“The introduction of bachelor’s and master’s courses has meant that a course of study today consists of a large number of modules and therefore has to be well organized – an electronic system is a great relief for the students. Only the students themselves and the Employees in administration and the examination office – that has always been the case. The Professoren, on the other hand, can enter the grades for a course, but cannot view the entire study account because they do not have the appropriate access rights. The user rights and roles are clear Are defined. Privacy we take it very seriously!”

calms Siegfried Engl.

Mensa meal plans, libraries and exams - everything works online

But Peter is also much better at his student life online to organize: He can check online what the cafeteria is offering today, register for university sports and see what other interesting events are taking place on campus – for example one Lecture or a cool concert. In the OPAC, the online catalog of the university library, he can research which books are available at the location. The Karlsruhe virtual catalog also shows him which books can be found in other libraries, where he can order them online via interlibrary loan. However, Peter finds it particularly practical that many magazine articles and numerous books are now available as Ebooks are available - this saves the hassle of borrowing, carrying home and copying.

And finally, some exams at Freie Universität now work online: Peter registers online for every exam in the campus management system. If an exam is then held on the PC, this is called "E-Examinations". These exams take place under supervision in a special PC pool at Freie Universität. 300 students sit here at the same time and use the keyboard to answer questions that you find on the computer. In so-called open-book exams, students are allowed to use books and their own notes (analog and digital) in the exam, because here synthesis work becomes what has been learned Background checked. In closed-book exams, on the other hand, students are prohibited from using books or their own notes. As a rule, this variant is aimed at purely querying factual knowledge

“At the moment we can test a good 300 students in our e-examination rooms on fixed PCs and their own laptops at the same time. The advantage: The data is immediately transferred to our system and the lecturer does not have to decipher the handwriting first - that saves a lot of work and the results are available much faster. We are also currently optimizing ours Concept for exams on your own laptop. The test subjects then connect this to a special docking station so that only the test program can be seen on the computer, which can only be ended by submitting the test. This would allow us to examine many more students at the same time. The problem with this development, however, is that the students naturally use different operating systems. At the moment it only works partially for Apple computers. "

explains Prof. Dr. Nicolas Apostolopoulos, Head of the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS). CeDiS is the competence center for e-learning and multimedia at the Free University and is responsible for all topics of digital teaching, learning and testing.

Online cramming: eLearning

To pass his exams, Peter uses the Free University's eLearning offer, which accompanies most of his courses. Blended Learning is the technical term for supplementing the presence teaching through online elements. For this purpose, there is, among other things, a central learning platform called Blackboard at Freie Universität. Peter can access the materials and scripts for his lectures and seminars online at any time via this Internet-accessible platform. In addition, multimedia-enriched animation, video and sound materials illustrate complex issues that Peter can better internalize. He can even download sound and video documents and listen to them on the go while on the phone. If he needs help, there are many video tutorials online and he can contact the support hotline at CeDiS where the learning platform is managed daily.

“For example, the learning platform replaces many copies and scripts that were previously distributed in the seminars: Students can often find them online before the event and can thus prepare themselves optimally. But the way that ProfessorUsing the Internet is very different: some transfer their entire lectures to the Internet or offer their students special learning software, others find accompanying material such as texts, images and sound documents, some Professoren open discussion forums and still others only put lists of literature online or no material online. It depends very much on how enthusiastic the university teacher is about the internet ”,

clarifies Prof. Dr. Nicolas Apostolopoulos.

But even if many of his events can be found online and Peter could easily look at them on his home computer: So far he has never been to the Idea came to skip a lecture. Direct communication is far too important for him Contact to his Professors and fellow students. Because precisely because he always has his laptop with internet access with him, he can Article, the the Professor mentioned during his lecture, also investigate immediately on the spot and ask specific questions. This opens up completely new possibilities for him to discuss directly in the lecture.

Well connected with fellow students and Professoren

And the learning platform also helps him to do this: Because this is an excellent way of communicating with fellow students and university teachers, as Peter thinks. This way, Peter can quickly and easily find out via the central learning platform whether an event is taking place at all or, for example, due to illness of the lecturer. After all, teachers can inform their students about short-term changes via online announcement or via easy-to-use mail functions. In addition, Peter can chat with fellow students in working groups, discuss in forums, send messages or exchange files. A calendar function facilitates the appointment for regular meetings of the study group. Together, the fellow students can thus work out and understand the material better. Even the tutor, an older student who accompanies the events, is always available in this way.

Lecturers and tutors also distribute “homework” in the working groups or carry out tests and exams for rehearsals. The latter is particularly important to Peter: He gets one straight away Feedback for his work and can find out very quickly whether he has internalized the material he has learned or where there is still a need. As a result, there are no nasty surprises with the right tests. But the advantages of online learning go even further: when Peter is doing a term paper or a presentation, the other group members can make suggestions for literature and comments on his theses. In this way, Peter comes to completely different conclusions than if he were brooding alone in a quiet little room. But he also notices during his lectures that his fellow students are much more interested in his topics and lively discuss his explanations. That's what makes learning Fun!

“We actually found that eLearning was the Motivation increases. Example statistics - this is usually a horror event for many students. However, we let the students do real statistical work on the computer with the specially developed "Statisiklabor" learning software Problems solve: We ask them about certain things and then set them the task of evaluating their own data. Result: The students have more fun, the failure rate has dropped significantly and the statistics event has been voted the most popular event several times.”

reports the CeDiS manager.

Peter completes several internships during his studies and spends one semester abroad. But even throughout his absence, thanks to the learning platform, he can get in touch with his fellow students, his Professorand tutors. He can watch and discuss the lectures - in other words, even in the distance, Peter always knows what's going on at home. However, he also notes that he already lacks personal contact with the people.

“ELearning can complement and deepen presentations very well, but not replace it. We have found that dropout rates in online-only distance learning are much higher. This is partly because people see each other personally and want to exchange ideas. Learning always has a social component and just has to be fun. That is why the Free University primarily relies on the concept of blended learning, in which online and classroom teaching are mixed and complement each other. "

shows Prof. Dr. Nicolas Apostolopoulos set the boundaries of digital networking.

Become even digitally active

Back at home, Peter no longer wants to consume only the digital offer of his university, but to pass on his digital knowledge to younger students. He therefore chooses a one-week course in e-tutoring, which consists partly of online self-learning units. Here he now gets to know the learning platform even better: Among other things, he learns how teachers can use the system or how to create digital learning materials. With this knowledge, he applies as a student assistant and is hired immediately because of Professor Urgently needs the help of a student who is familiar with the eLearning system.

During his studies, Peter has also become increasingly involved with the Web 2.0 offerings of the university. Together with his fellow students, he has built up a wiki to collaborate on texts. He also writes his own blog about his experiences abroad, which the Free University offers him for free. A successful idea for him is also the online exchange fuelundfriends, in which students can exchange eg teaching materials. The good thing about it: here, teachers have no access.

Study digital - networked study

But Peter doesn't only publish on his blog or in discussion forums at the university: Thanks to the product his ProfessorAt the end of his studies Peter can publish his bachelor thesis on the university document server of the university library: Here, scientific papers of members of the Free University can be published free of charge according to the principle of Open Access. Open Access does not mean anything other than making specialist publications accessible and usable online. Peter just has to upload his work - and it can be read and received worldwide.

10 Tips for Digital Studies

Computer Cracks or Newbie: What kind of knowledge should new students bring who nowadays want to find their way around a digital university? studienwahl.de gives tips to find your way around the online jungle.

  1. Important is a certain affinity to computers. Anyone familiar with the use of computers or the Internet from school and leisure should not have any problems at the university.
  2. Many people know the Internet as a communication medium, eg through the student's club, or through games. If you want to study online successfully, you need to understand that the computer is more than just a fun and game device: it has to understand the computer as a work, learning and information device.
  3. Fears of the computer, as parents or teachers often have, especially with regard to data protection, are inappropriate: It is important to learn how to handle the medium responsibly.
  4. You do not have to be a nerd yet to use eLearning offerings; However, if you want to get more involved with the functionality of the offers, you need to go deeper.
  5. Online learning requires independence and self-responsibility: you have to teach yourself a lot through onlineCourses and trial and error. But: Support is always within reach.
  6. Students who bring their own laptop at the university have significant advantages: for example, because they can research material directly in the lecture.
  7. Current software is also an advantage because it is more likely to be compatible with the digital offerings at the universities.
  8. But digital studies also require a lot of self-discipline: Those who spend a lot of time online run the risk of being distracted by the many fun offers. So be careful that you don't accidentally hit Facebook Keeps hanging.
  9. Beware of copyright: Even though information is now freely available on the Internet, that does not mean that you can simply copy chores or call sources. Here care is still required.
  10. The speed of the information invites inaccuracies. But be careful: the ability to research carefully, to argue well and to write longer texts is still in demand and should be practiced accordingly.

Facts about digital studies in Germany

Studies at many German universities are now like this or similar to Peter's example. So far, however, there are no reliable figures on how far the digitization of studies in Germany has progressed. This is also due to the fact that the universities have different IT-Use systems that have similar functionality but make comparisons difficult.

At Freie Universität Berlin, for example, “SAP Campus Management” and Blackboard are used as the eLearning platform. Freie Universität was thus the first German university to offer modular courses of study with integrated IT support.

HIS Hochschul-Informations-System GmbH is also currently developing an IT system with HISinOneSolution for administration and study organization at universities. The special thing about it: The software is being developed together with 15 pilot partners who are currently testing the system in operation. The pilot universities include the universities of Bonn, Mannheim, Freiburg and Siegen, as well as the RHTW Aachen, the Humboldt University in Berlin and the Flensburg University of Applied Sciences.

In addition to the eLearning software Blackboard comes at German universities also Moodle used - for example, at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In contrast to Blackboard, which is sold commercially and is therefore subject to a fee, Moodle is open source software under GPL license. Everyone can download the software freely and use it freely.

More and more universities are also offering virtual student counseling, web-based aptitude tests or self-assessments. In this way, the universities want to arouse the interest of applicants, but at the same time find out whether the prospective students are really suitable for the subject. Here, too, there are major differences depending on the university: Some procedures are pure aptitude tests in which only the existing (specialist) knowledge is queried and the Candidate received a recommendation at the end. Others help as self-Assessment, a decision to meet for or against a subject. One example is the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg. The so-called HAW navigators, which were specially developed for the HAW by Hamburg-based Cyquest GmbH, show in various modules with texts, images and videos what content, requirements and perspectives await future students on the job market and test their knowledge with small ones Tasks. At the end, the applicants receive a recommendation.

You can see: The networked student is no longer a vision of the future - and that in a positive sense. Digitization costs a lot of time and money in the introductory phase Money, saves universities, but also students, a lot of time and money in the long run Costs. It will be exciting to see what the digital development will bring in the coming years.

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