University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 071/2021, 09 June 2021
One million euros in funding for digital teaching at the University of Bayreuth
The University of Bayreuth’s application for funding for its “Data-based Learning Support Assistant” by the Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education has been successful, and it will receive € 637,000 for the project. The funding begins on 1 August 2021 and is to continue for 36 months. The University of Bayreuth will also receive funding for two other projects: € 382,000 for the joint project “Improving the Quality of Digitally Supported Teaching at Bavarian Universities”, and € 11,000 from the “Bavarian Competence Centre for Distance Examinations” for its “Evaluation-Supported Further Development of Distance Examinations” project.
Universities nationwide are faced with high drop-out rates, which cause significant stress both on the part of students and university staff. In order to prevent students from dropping out of their studies, both the motives that lead to dropping out and the critical study phases must be determined, so that universities can take targeted countermeasures.
“Building on our existing digital infrastructure, our project aims to better accompany the individual study process by means of “digital mentors”, and thus work towards reducing the likelihood of students dropping out”, explains Prof. Dr. Torsten Eymann, Vice President for Digitalisation & Innovation at the University of Bayreuth, who is also project leader.
Since 2014, the University of Bayreuth has been organising the student life cycle with an innovative, data-based Campus Management System (CMS) with many implemented interfaces. After data protection-compliant analysis and evaluation, the study-related data already collected can provide better insights into teaching and learning processes, request targeted supervision and support, and thus contribute to improving the quality of university teaching. The innovation “Data-based Learning Support Assistant or DABALUGA”, for which the University of Bayreuth is now receiving funding, integrates these perspectives, via three central functional packages
- aligning the learning situation of students in selected courses towards the end of of constructive alignment
- using learning analytics to evaluate learning data in compliance with data protection laws, and
- reaching targeted students with a “digital mentor” sending automated but individualised messages from the learning system, showing them alternative courses of action.
Digitisation in studying and teaching is a central strategic field of work for the University of Bayreuth. “We rely on an innovative, data-based organisation of studies using CAMPUSonline”, says Eymann. “In doing so, we support students and teachers by making all study and examination contexts transparent, and by recording academic achievements in a comprehensible and data-based manner.” CAMPUSonline offers an excellent starting point for establishing further innovative forms of teaching and learning. In cooperation with students, teachers, and with the help of learning analytics, a way should be found, says Eymann, to use data from the studying process of over 13,000 students at the University of Bayreuth to evaluate study organisation and individual learning. The discussion with all focus groups at the University had led to some important findings – but implementation is still pending. “Building on the existing digital infrastructure, we see “DABALUGA” as an opportunity to better accompany the individual studying process through a “digital mentor” and thus work towards the goal of reducing the probability of students dropping out”, explains the Vice President for Digitalisation & Innovation at the University of Bayreuth.
Joint project “Enhancing the Quality of Digitally Supported Teaching at Bavarian Universities”
“QUADIS” – the joint project “Enhancing the Quality of Digitally Supported Teaching at Bavarian Universities” has applied for a total of € 4,989,000. The applicant is the Technical University of Munich (TUM), coordinated by the University of Bavaria e.V. The University of Bayreuth, also involved in “QUADIS” (contact: PD Dr. Frank Meyer, E-mail: email@example.com) will receive € 382,000. “QUADIS” aims to digitise continuing education to a high standard of quality, and make it more flexible through cooperation between the higher education didactic institutions of the Bavarian universities. With the help of blended learning elements, modern continuing and further education programmes for higher education didactics are being created, which at the same time exemplifies how digitally supported teaching can really be. The materials are bilingual, published as OERs (Open Educational Resources), and can thus be used far beyond the network itself. In addition, the project promotes the discourse on digitally supported teaching by initiating and supporting specific theme weeks as well as specialist and working groups. Finally, so-called teaching workshops support the transfer of teaching innovations to the chalk-face.
Project “Evaluation-supported further development of distance learning examinations”
As part of the project for the "Evaluation-supported further development of distance examinations", funded by the “Bavarian Competence Centre for Distance Examinations” to the tune of € 11,000, the motives for and against participation in a distance examination are to be identified at the University of Bayreuth and their influence on acceptance evaluated. The University of Bayreuth has set itself the goal of further increasing the range of distance examinations on offer and the number of participants, in order to be able to optimally utilise the many advantages of distance examinations for universities, lecturers, and students in the future. Over the past twelve months, more than 100 distance examinations with more than 5,000 participants have already been conducted at the University of Bayreuth, and extensive experience has been gained with online distance examination software. In the evaluation-supported further development planned, measures and offerings with a positive effect on participation in online examinations are to be analysed in the upcoming examination phases, and recommendations for action across the University are to be derived accordingly.
With the programme “Innovation in Higher Education Teaching”...
the Federal Government and the States are seeking to permanently strengthen high-quality and internationally competitive teaching at German universities, and to do so, have established the “Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education Teaching” under the auspices of Toepfer Stiftung gGmbH. The aim is to build on the successes of the Teaching Quality Pact, which was agreed between the Federal Government and the States in 2011 and expired in 2020. A total of 264 applications were submitted, including 216 individual and 48 joint applications. In a competitive, science-led process, the project selection committee classified 139 project proposals as worthy of funding, comprising 115 individual and 24 collaborative proposals. The total funding volume for the selected projects amounts to € 330 million for a maximum of three years. It is distributed nationwide across different types and sizes of higher education institutions. The approved funding amount per application ranges between € 381,000 and € 5 million. Funding for the selected projects can begin from 1 August 2021.