- How can we guarantee the best learning experience at UE?
- How can learning make the best usage of existing and upcoming technologies?
- What will the future of studying look like?
- How can we maintain the excellence of our university education during scenarios like the COVID-19 global pandemic while safeguarding our students as well as our staff?
- How can we use technology to enable our students to study with us, even while having to live up to a multitude of off campus challenges – such as their work and family commitments, visa restrictions, start-up companies etc.?
- How can we provide students with an engaging learning experience on and off campus?
- How can we prepare students for a professional life that makes ample use of virtual collaboration tools?
These and similar questions have been crossing our minds for many months now at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE). As an answer, we have come up with the concept of Integrated Virtual Learning. We believe in the inspiration that comes from being in the presence of creative, ambitious and driven people – students and lecturers alike.
We believe in the power of dialogue, innovative ideas and insights that come from sharing views and opinions and co-creation. That presence and sharing, however, do not only need to occur in physical proximity but can be mediated by technological means like videoconferencing, collaborative online learning environments, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the use of Artificial Intelligence.
In higher education however, technology is not an end in itself. Integrated Virtual Learning will enhance your study experience for digital literacy; it will give you the professional means, understanding and digital skillset for the global and digital work environment 4.0. Therefore, we understand technology as a medium and a service for the student’s learning experience and study journey at UE.
An Integrated Virtual Learning environment provides the pedagogical and technological basis for a multi-channel student learning experience. It combines the best of the different modes of university learning. Currently, Microsoft Teams (MS TEAMS) in the 365 Cloud is used for the Integrated Classroom as well for online learning but might be replaced in the future. Cameras and microphones are connecting the physical and the virtual classroom while students – both on and off campus – join the Integrated Classroom with internet-connected devices (computers, laptops or tablets) featuring a camera, a microphone, screen and a separate keyboard (to participate in chats and quizzes).
When video conferencing technologies are progressing and Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions become accessible, the ways of connecting physical and virtual learning spaces will become more sophisticated and enhance the learning experiences by increasing the possibilities of interactions in the Integrated Classroom.
As one part of our ‘Campus in the Cloud’ initiatives we are expanding teaching and learning to immersive spaces. Therefore, we are training UE professors in workshops across faculties and disciplines to ensure they are confident using VR platforms in everyday university life. We have introduced the virtual 3D platform Virbela. This documentation about the virtual UE Campus in the Cloud gives an introduction on how to use this tool to learn and get a feel for real-class teaching with fellow students.
Integrated Virtual Learning at UE is happening in three modes:
- On campus learning | F2F (face-to-face)
On campus learning has a long tradition in university learning. The combination of on campus, face-to-face lectures and off campus self-study has been proven to be a very effective way of learning in countless studies. Being on campus together at the same time enables students and lecturers alike to mingle, to share ideas and take full advantage of being in each other’s physical presence. Groupwork, discussions, co-creation and creative problem-solving methods such as Design Thinking all thrive when participants have direct, unmediated contact with each other.
- Hybrid Learning
A Virtual Learning Environment offers a multitude of new possibilities that address many of the above questions. The physical presence of students and lecturers may not always be practical, possible, desirable or safe. A Virtual Learning Environment adds value to the study experience by offering new learning options. Many of our students are working alongside their studies and are often subject to changing work times. Some of the master’s students are running/founding their own companies while studying. All this has forced students in the past to miss important lectures or to rely on the notes of their fellow students – even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Students can join the classroom with a digital presence or – vice-versa – expert lecturers can be invited to a classroom via their digital presence. The classroom itself can be virtualised – partly or wholly. Digital tools provide a seamless switching between mediated and unmediated forms of communication to make an ongoing learning dialogue possible. As the spatial distinction between the physical and the virtual classroom is bridged by technology, we speak of an Integrated Classroom that houses the Virtual Learning Environment.
The Integrated Virtual Learning Environment offers synchronous and interactive sessions when joining a live session via a physical/digital presence.
Learning can also be facilitated by employing a web-based Learning Management System. While on campus and virtual learning are designed to be interactive and synchronous learning experiences based on the direct dialogue between students and lecturers, 100% virtual learning is designed to be accessed on-demand at the student’s convenience.
Virtual learning materials are structured in a multitude of ways and make use of a variety of media depending on the maturity of the learners, their learning aptitude, the content itself and the learning goals. Software can be employed to assist and monitor the learning process using methods of gamification, delivering homework and quizzes, supplying forums and Wikis, FAQs and/or chat bots powered by AI-fed knowledge bases.
Online learning can be very effectively combined with on campus and virtual learning. As both learning methods always include off campus, self-organised learning sessions, the online Learning Management Systems can help students to reflect on the content learned in interactive sessions and solidify that knowledge by re-learning it off campus. Those interested in digging deeper can easily access quality bonus material curated by the lecturer. As university level study material is very often either behind a paywall or only findable by those who are knowledgeable in the first place, the Learning Management System supplies students with exactly the material that they need to achieve the course goals.
Best-Practices of digital teaching of the summer term 2020
Applied Image Strategies
3 to 6
Life during COVID-19.
How does our everyday life, our interpersonal relationships change - keyword 'social distancing' - what visible traces does this ‘invisible enemy’ leave behind? What is the COVID-19 crisis doing to you? What does your life look like? How have your habits changed? Are you calm or do you have fears? Do you see the situation as a challenge? What does it mean to live with a pandemic?
Take pictures of street scenes (as long as there is no lockdown), pay attention to notes, slips of paper and notices. Collect print media headlines, record sounds and videos, conduct interviews and write down your thoughts.
This semester, I want to work with you on an interactive webpage that reflects our situation as a society and your feelings as a young generation. Photograph still lifes at home, stage fashion shows and document your everyday life. All genres are welcome!
Implementation and communication: WIX; ADOBE CC; MIRO; TEAMS; ZOOM;
Please do not put yourself and others in danger.
3, Communication Design, Hamburg, Evelyn Solinski
In the typography seminar - with students from the Illustration and Communication Design courses of study - creative research is conducted into questions associated with the search for a contemporary and media-relevant image. Visual and cognitive perception, relative attention span and the question of ultimate readability in moving media are analysed using exercises and experimental methods. The focus is on the use of typefaces and the application of detailed typographic principles.
In the semester assignment THE MOVING POSTAGE, the collected theoretical and practical knowledge will be combined in an appearance for the first virtual exhibition of the Art & Design Department of the University of Applied Sciences Europe. As the UE final exhibition cannot take place on campus as it has been so far, the Art & Design department has joined forces to create a new platform for digital publications and has put the final theses of more than 100 graduates on archiv.ue-germany.com to present. In cooperation with Rana Öztürk, Steffen Klaue and Prof. Dr. Lauritz Lipp, as well as the active support of 9 students from the Hamburg and Berlin campuses, who will be given the opportunity to bridge any job losses due to the current situation, the foundation for an archive will be laid. In the long term, all final theses of the students of the Art & Design department will be collected, presented and preserved on the platform for the future.
Thus, in August 2020, Bachelor and Master theses from the study programmes Film + Motion Design B.A., Photography B.A., Illustration B.A., Game Design B.A., Communication Design B.A., Photography M.A., Media Spaces M.A., Visual & Experience Design M.A., Innovation Design Management M.A. will be shown virtually. Flexible format designs in varying media application areas are part of the task and the guiding principle in finding suitable design elements.
Everyone is talking about digitisation - but what about universities and universities of applied sciences? Online campuses, smartboards, VR, youtube channels... somehow it still doesn't really rock.
Do you think that the way of studying at a university or university of applied sciences is still up-to-date? Maybe new media should be used much more.
What has long since become common practice in agencies and companies, namely working in distributed teams, is also your everyday life - you spend the whole day chatting, posting, streaming, linking and forwarding - and that with friends halfway around the world. Just studying... well, that is often a bit dusty :-)
Let's change that together and develop visions for the university of the future and put them into practice. We will develop and test concepts for innovative lectures and teamwork, but also the connection of campus live across locations!
Which parts of a study programme could benefit from a VR experience? Lectures, exams, projects in which you work together with others, student life, colloquia, presentations or virtual learning rooms in which you "store" your knowledge?
This course will have a twin in Berlin - via synchronised smartboards, VR collaboration and video chat we will work together with students and professionals from Berlin.
Best-Practices of digital teaching for the winter term 2020
COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)
3 to 6, Campus Berlin in cooperation with the course "Visual Communication Design" at Hongik University Seoul, Korea
In this seminar we will collaborate with students and professor Oliver Griem from communication design at the ‘Hongik University’, Seoul, South Korea. Students will develop content based on diaries/letters from the end of world war 2 and/or the Korean war.
Main source for content development is the book ‘Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary from Hitler's Last Birthday to VE Day’ by Walter Kempowski, where the author collected hundreds of short diary extracts and letters from various people of that time.
The seminar will be in English and there will be a mixture of online and offline classes. The students will work in international teams to realize collaborate storytelling projects.
Outcome of the projects can be in various forms. It can be animation, video, game, comic-strip, photo series, illustration series, interactive web content etc.