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Driving Digitisation in the Classroom

The first ever Digital Higher Education Days brought together players from almost all areas of Chemnitz University of Technology

On 14 and 15 January 2020, Digital Higher Education Days took place in the Central Lecture Hall Building (Orangerie) at Chemnitz University of Technology. More than 140 students and lecturers from Chemnitz University of Technology and other universities in Saxony came together for discussions on teaching and learning in a digitised world, with a wide variety of offerings on topics such as digital examinations, open educational resources, the utilisation of videos in university teaching, as well as digitisation and sustainability. A particular focus was also given to the networking of teachers from these various areas. Importantly, the event gave students the opportunity to actively participate in shaping digitisation at their own university, as a part of a #DigitalChangeMaker workshop.

The Digital Higher Education Days displayed the intensive efforts put forth by various areas of the university, including numerous professorships, the University Computing Center (URZ), the University Library (UB), the Prüfungsamt and the Office of the President. These different realms of the university came together with the aim to put forth an infrastructure for digital teaching and learning, and to support initiatives for innovative teaching formats.

Prof. Dr. Maximilian Eibl, Vice President for Academic and International Affairs at Chemnitz University of Technology, opened the event and encouraged the commitment of both teachers and students to actively help shape their own university, with a look towards our increasingly digitised world. In his keynote presentation, Dr. Andreas Bischof, Scientific Fellow at the Professorship of Media Informatics, emphasised the notion that digitisation is less a purely technical process, and more one that takes place within society as a whole. Bischof advocated for a cultural change towards new forms of teaching and learning at the university.

This was followed by short workshops (so-called “LiT.Shortcuts”) that focused on topics such as the basics of digital examinations (Stefanie Rockstroh and Aline Lohse from the Professorship of Ergonomics and Innovation Management) and the use of the “ONYX” examination system within the ORAL online teaching and learning platform (Dr. Angela Minogue from the Foreign Language Centre, Dr. Michael Quellmalz from the Professorship of Applied Functional Analysis, Yvonne Winkelmann and Sven Morgner from the Saxony Education Portal).

In subsequent discussions on the feasibility of digital examinations at Chemnitz University of Technology, panelists Gernot Kirchner (data protection officer at Chemnitz University of Technology), Veikko Pippig (Zentrales Prüfungsamt), Lothar Kempe (managing director of the University Computing Center) and Yvonne Winkelmann (Saxony Education Portal) advocated for a common strategy on the part of Chemnitz University of Technology.

Further workshops followed on day two:

  • The utilisation of videos in university teaching (Dr. Thomas Wilhelm-Stein from the Professorship of Media Informatics, Stefanie Müller from the Professorship of Media Informatics, Yvonne Seidel from the University Computing Center)
  • Digitisation and sustainability (Prof. Dr. Marlen Gabriele Arnold, Professorship for Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability)
  • The university and open educational resources (Martina Jackenkroll, specialist from the Open Science Team, Carolin Ahnert from the University Library and Ute Blumtritt, Open Access representative)
  • OPAL Crash Course (Yvonne Seidel, University Computing Center)

Afterwards, students and lecturers from Chemnitz University of Technology exchanged ideas about visions of a digitised university of the future as a part of the #DigitalChangeMaker workshop, which focused on innovative, future-oriented ideas.

The conference ended with a panel discussion on the question of “Learning in the digital world – what can/must the university do?”. Participants included MdL (Member of the federal state parliament) Dr. Claudia Maicher (Spokesperson for university and media policy), Hans-Peter Kasparick (Head of Manufacturing Engineering, Siemens Chemnitz), Dr. Claudia Bade (University Didactics Centre Saxony), Prof. Dr. Daniel Potts (Professorship of Applied Functional Analysis), Prof. Dr. Anexandra Bendixen (Professorship of Structure and Function of Cognitive Systems) and Verena Traubinger (Chemnitz University of Technology Student Council).

Vice President Prof. Eibl positively summed it up: “We have given careful consideration to how we are going to tackle the topic of digitisation in teaching and to how we are going to start the discussion with those involved. We can see by the number of participants and the overall response that the event was a success. Now it is time to further develop the topics and formats.”

Note: Further documentation of the event will be published shortly on the homepage of the Vice President, at

(Author. Janine Funke / Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Matthias Fejes

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