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In University Teaching, It’s the “How” That Counts

Chemnitz University of Technology impresses with nine concepts for innovative teaching in a funding program of the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching

In its Freiraum (Free Space) program line, the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching is funding nine experimental teaching and learning projects at Chemnitz University of Technology in 2022, including one in cooperation with Mittweida University of Applied Sciences. Teachers and students at Chemnitz University of Technology are supported by the funding in trying out and implementing novel ideas and in venturing off the beaten path. "We had submissions from all eight faculties. Nine projects from five faculties are now being funded. This enormous number demonstrates the importance of teaching throughout the university as well as the innovative strength and wealth of ideas of our teaching staff," notes the Vice President for Academic and International Affairs at Chemnitz University of Technology, Prof. Dr. Maximilian Eibl, and explains, "However, the first-come, first-served procedure with very short time windows also shows that significantly more funding will have to be made available here in the future."

Among the nine concepts successfully submitted by Chemnitz University of Technology are, for example, interactive and participatory teaching formats for international students transferring to German higher education, useful tips on the use of dynamic test tasks in methodology, novel methods of promoting learning through feedback, or a concept for using the multimedia teach-learn-loop method in production measurement technology.

The following list provides a first insight into the funded projects at Chemnitz University of Technology. Interested parties can contact the specified contact persons.

Multimedia teach-learn-loop method in production measurement technology

(Prof. Dr. Sophie Gröger, Professorship of Production Measurement Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering)

Knowledge elements of production measurement technology are to be implemented as a blended learning scenario in a learning platform with defined control loops between knowledge level, learning success, course selection, progress monitoring and motivation. As an innovative element, an e-tutor is being developed for this purpose, which promotes interaction between the participants and the transfer to sustainably applicable knowledge. The project is being realized as a cooperation between the Professorship of Production Measurement Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology and the Institut für Mittelstandskooperation (Institute for Cooperation with Mid-sized Companies) at Mittweida University of Applied Sciences (MIKOMI).

VIRAL - Virtual reality as a visually attractive learning world using internships as an example

(Dr. Freddy Sichting, Professorship of Human Locomotion, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences)

Within the framework of the project, a virtual reality (VR) will be used to create a decentralized space in which a visually attractive and at the same time sustainable exchange of knowledge and experience can take place by means of 360° recordings. Over a period of twelve months, the technical access to a VR teaching and learning environment will be developed together with students and various ideas for designing the VR environment will be tested. The flexible and asynchronous access to knowledge and experience is intended to create new freedom for students. The individually designed 360° tours through different internship experiences enable versatile immersive learning by allowing students to dive into different practical worlds.

New forms of method-oriented knowledge transfer in the field of experimental development (experimentaLAB)

(David Holschemacher, Professorship of Conveying Engineering and Materials Handling, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering)

An experimental development of processes and products in the engineering profession requires methodological competencies in the areas of team building, content focus, experiment preparation and execution, data analysis and interpretation, and communication. Later employers note: Graduates have theoretical expertise, but applicable methodological skills are still lacking. This is countered with the new experimenaLAB concept, in which learners solve subproblems in a largely self-organized manner.

Interactive and participative teaching formats for international students transferring to German higher education

(Prof. Dr. Christian Sevenheck, Professorship of Algebra, and Prof. Dr. Daniel Potts, Professorship of Applied Functional Analysis, Faculty of Mathematics).

In this project, new didactic approaches for the implementation of courses in international study programs in mathematics will be developed and tested. On the one hand, a number of basic courses are to be prepared in digital form in such a way that potential applicants for international study programs can complete them before and during their application in their home country. In addition, traditional courses are to be replaced by digitally supported participatory formats in which the specific prior knowledge and learning expectations of international students can be addressed in a much more individual way.

Digital Feedback Map

(Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jennifer Schluer, Section of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) / Advanced Academic English, Faculty of Humanities)

In the project Didaktische Orientierung für digitales Feedback (Didactic Orientation for Digital Feedback) different digital feedback methods in teaching are tested and researched in order to derive empirically based recommendations for the use of digital feedback. The goal is to develop the online platform Digital Feedback Map, which provides (prospective) teachers with meaningful knowledge as well as concrete didactic implementation recommendations for different digital feedback methods, so that they can use them in their teaching and thus support learners in the best possible way in online, hybrid and face-to-face teaching.

Experience data interaction in an interdisciplinary way - Data-I

(Dr. Albrecht Kurze, Professorship of Media Informatics, Faculty of Computer Science)

Smart networked sensors and the Internet of Things increasingly permeate our everyday life. The core of innovations, but also the implications, e.g. for privacy, are the resulting data. The project promotes student competencies in dealing with this sensor data. Thereby, it is necessary to promote practical experience of the interaction of students with smart sensors/data and their own questions. To make this possible, a suitable tool for collecting sensor data and interacting with it, as well as a suitable methodological embedding in teaching, will be developed and tested. We will consciously focus on differences in perspectives of different disciplines - in the cooperation of teachers and in heterogeneous small groups of students.

Method guru - Become a master of methodology through dynamic testing tasks

(Dr. Johannes Tietz, Professorship Research Methods and Evaluation, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences).

The aim of the project is the creation of an unlimited number of competence-oriented exercises for the subject of methodology. A package extension will be developed in the programming language R. The dynamic exercises will be made available in a learning management system (online) to all interested parties across the university.

Strengthening students' metacognition and motivation through individualized smart personal assistants

(Prof. Dr. Daniel Gunter Rey, Professorship of Psychology of Learning with Digital Media, Faculty of Humanities).

The goal of the project is to optimize students' learning processes in order to increase learning success by strengthening metacognitive skills as well as motivation when using learning materials. Selected courses at Chemnitz University of Technology will be supplemented with Smart Personal Assistants (SPAs) as a test case, which will provide students with targeted and individualized support. Individualized SPAs can support metacognitive skills better than existing approaches, which mostly offer a one-size-fits-all solution.

Concept for dealing with heterogeneous previous knowledge of students through the use of interactive and targeted materials in the soldering module

(Dr. Susann Hausner, Institute of Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering)

The aim of the project is to pick up the students in the module soldering according to their individual level of knowledge and to take them along. Through a modular structure with interactively linked recorded videos and text scripts, it should be possible for students to call up compact and targeted summarized content for individual catch-up requirements, but also for in-depth interest, in addition to the actual material. Furthermore, the introduction of the flipped classroom is planned, in which the students can work on the theoretical contents independent of time and place and deepen these contents in in-class phases, in which great importance is attached to joint work and exchange between the students as well as practical experience.

Background: Freiraum (Free Space) funding round of the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching

The Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching was established to permanently promote quality and innovation in studying and teaching. The federal and state governments had agreed to establish it in 2019. Nationwide, 204 projects are being funded with a total of 46 million euros in the foundation's current Freiraum 2022 funding round. With an approval rate of around one-third and terms of 9, 12 or 25 months, 18 projects in Saxony with a funding volume of around four million euros will be awarded, including nine at Chemnitz University of Technology. The Freiraum funding line is intended to create the freedom to develop and test ideas for teaching and is a recurring call for proposals that does not have a thematic or subject focus. All projects that demonstrate convincing innovative potential are eligible for funding.

For further information, please contact Ulrike Rada, phone +49 (0) 371 531-38538, e-mail hochschldidaktik@tu-chemnitz.de, and Sandra Rechenberg, phone +49 (0) 371 531-34819, e-mail sandra.rechenberg@verwaltung.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Article: Sandra Rechenberg, Ulrike Rada, Mario Steinebach / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Mario Steinebach

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