“I am pleased by the discipline of my undergraduate students.”

Digitization of teaching at the Institute of Logistics and Management

Die Umstellung von Präsenzveranstaltungen auf Online-Lehre ist das Thema der Stunde an der TUHH. Vor welchen Herausforderungen stehen die Institute aktuell und welche Lösungen sind bereits erprobt? Im sechsten Teil unserer kleinen Interview-Serie berichtet Oberingenieurin PD Dr. habil. Meike Schröder über ihre Erfahrungen und Herausforderungen am Institut für Logistik und Unternehmensführung der TUHH.

Which courses do you have to change now and what challenges does this present you with?

I teach the course Logistics Economics for Bachelor students in the 2nd semester. This is “normally” composed of classroom sessions and PBL. This semester we are conducting both parts online. Currently, 82 students are enrolled in the course.

What (technical and didactical) challenges did you face before the semester started and how were they solved?

The challenge was not so much the technical connection, but rather the professional usability of the ZOOM tool, namely to use a tool that was previously unknown to me in such a professional way that I could offer my students a content-rich course.

At our institute, we therefore worked through all possible scenarios and operating options with the scientific staff. According to the motto “What can the tool do? Which features help or disrupt the course of a lecture?” all possible buttons could be pressed.

From a didactic perspective, I asked myself how I could actively engage students online in the course and thus maintain their attention. Because let’s not kid ourselves: as a listener, it’s often difficult to follow a 1 ½-hour online lecture attentively the whole time – moreover, in a home atmosphere where you get distracted more quickly. To meet this challenge as well, I looked at various online tutorials before the semester began to see what options ZOOM offers here. Also, ZLL had provided me with the opportunity to attend an external ZOOM training, which helped me a lot.

What tools do you use to stay in touch with your students and what is your experience with these tools so far?

At our institute, we had decided at the beginning of the semester not to “overload” our students with too many new tools. Since the situation was new to everyone, by the end of April there were no tools that had emerged as the TU standard.

During the lecture, students use the chat function in ZOOM to ask questions. I also always incorporate a short topic-related “breakout session” during the lecture to encourage communication between students. There they can briefly exchange ideas and sometimes come back with questions from the breakout room. I then answer these in the plenary session. Finally, I always stay online for a while in case someone wants to ask me questions directly.

After the lecture, we are available to students “in the traditional way” via StudIP/e-mail for questions.

Are there any positive things you can take away from the current switch to digital teaching?

What always delights me is to see how smoothly the 1 ½-hour lecture runs. By that, I don’t mean the technical stability of the tool so much as the discipline of my bachelor students. This applies to the discussions in the large (online) plenary as well as to their “listening mode” – I hope this state of affairs continues for a long time.

What also works very well is recording the lecture via ZOOM. We then upload the video to Mediasite and include the link in StudIP. There, students can watch the lecture again if, for example, they had technical problems or didn’t understand something.

How do you think students are doing currently?

Last week we did a short survey via StuIP among the students of the lecture. This was to get feedback on the first weeks of the lecture, such as the amount of assignments and exercises in StudIP-Vips, the amount of discussion in the lecture (in the breakout sessions), the use of their audio (turning on their cameras and mics). The feedback was very positive, so we will not change anything in the format for now.

I think the students have also adapted well to the new situation. Of course, an “online semester” requires more self-discipline and a higher level of self-motivation, since personal contact between students is severely limited and thus, for example, studying together with friends is often not possible. But our students will master this, too!

We thank you very much for your time and the exciting insights into your teaching. We wish you continued success for the current and coming semesters.

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Bildquelle: freepik.com

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