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Start postponed: Universities in the region focus on more in-person instruction for winter semester

Start postponed : Universities in the region focus on more in-person instruction for winter semester

Students in Bonn and the region will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic in the winter semester as online learning remains in place. But the University of Bonn said it would also like to offer in-person instruction for as many students as possible.

Classes were online only for the summer semester, but the universities in Bonn and the region want to focus more on in-person instruction for the coming winter semester. The Rheinische Friedrichs-Wilhelm-University in Bonn would like to "offer as many students as possible the opportunity to take part in on-site learning from the end of October", the university rector Michael Hoch recently announced in a video.

It applies especially to first-year students and all newcomers to Bonn: "At the start, they have to get to know our university," said Hoch. Due to the corona pandemic, the 70 universities in NRW had decided to switch to online events in the summer. The summer lectures ended on Friday.

Instead of sitting in the lecture hall during the summer semester, students took in their seminars at home via live streaming. Slides set to music, alternative homework and e-examinations supplemented the online instruction of the universities. "Many students and teachers expressed the explicit wish to retain online elements that had worked successfully as a supplement in the future," Hoch concluded.

He is now working together with the various departments to see to what extent this is possible. All in all, the unusual summer semester can be considered a success. The university rector said: "The performance of our teachers, researchers, students and employees in the past weeks, often reaching far above normal expectations, has been extraordinary.” He is not alone in his opinion: The NRW Science Ministry said that it was impressive how flexibly and quickly the universities had reacted together with the students to take on the challenges presented by the corona pandemic.

Meanwhile, there is great joy among the students to participate in university life again, at least in part: "I'm glad to get in touch with people again," says Sören Böckmann, a master's student of media studies in Bonn. It's just more fun to discuss and exchange ideas directly in the seminar. But the 23-year-old also found the online mode appealing: "It was of course convenient to be able to connect from anywhere at any time."

Health remains a priority in the planning for winter semester. Consequently, attendance requirements are to be reduced to the absolute minimum. What's more, lectures for the 35,000 or so students will begin on October 26 and not - as is usually the case - at the beginning of October. For first semester students in the Bachelor's programs and students who graduate with a state or church examination, they will start one week later on November 2. The end of the lecture period is then scheduled for everyone on February 12, 2021.

Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences with "hybrid offer"

The situation is similar at the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, which is planning a "hybrid offer", i.e. a mixture of digital and in-person courses. There the students in the Bachelor's degree course "Social Insurance with a focus on Accident Insurance" will start on October 5. With a few exceptions, the other students at the university will then begin on November 2 as usual.

The aim is for in-person courses to take place again as much as possible, while at the same time avoiding crowded lecture halls. In the case of practical modules, for example in laboratories, students should be allowed to come in person to the university. Some master's courses have chosen to remain completely digital, as stated on the university's website. Here too, lectures will end on the 12th of February, 2021. Orig. text: Sabrina Szameitat (with material from dpa) Translation: Carol Kloeppel