Best conditions for a digital semester

The Minister of Science Bernd Sibler visits Landshut University of Applied Sciences and praises university staff and students for their outstanding commitment in times of corona

Landshut University of Applied Sciences has been working flat out to expand its online services for months now. Minister of Science Bernd Sibler visited Landshut University of Applied Sciences on Tuesday to get an idea of the current state of digital teaching and the effects of the corona crisis on everyday academic life.

The university family is actively involved in switching to digital business. Landshut University of Applied Sciences is therefore well prepared for the official start of lectures on 20 April. "Over 93 percent of the basic Bachelor's and Master's degree courses can be covered online, further education courses are available in fully digital format," emphasised University President Prof. Dr. Fritz Pörnbacher.

Top in online coverage throughout Bavaria

Sibler praised the efforts of all university members and congratulated them on an outstanding achievement: "Your commitment and the high online coverage of teaching put you at the very top throughout Bavaria. Despite the current circumstances, students in Landshut therefore have very good conditions to continue to work on their learning progress with determination and success in the 2020 summer semester."

Overall, Landshut University of Applied Sciences has already invested heavily in technology and expertise in the field of innovative teaching in recent years, including a video studio and eight lecture theatres and meeting rooms that have been specially equipped for audio-visual lecture recordings. As a result, the university was very well prepared for the requirements of digital teaching. Most of the funding comes from the Digitales-Studieren.Bayern pilot project for the Universities of Applied Sciences in Landshut and Munich, which the Ministry of State supports with around EUR 800,000 annually.

First online courses launched in March

Digital lectures have been running at Landshut University of Applied Sciences in many courses since mid-March. "The first lecturers started to convert their courses to online teaching at the beginning of March," Pörnbacher explained. "What our colleagues have achieved since then and are continuously expanding is unprecedented."

Prof. Dr. Stefan Borrmann, Dean of Social Work, reported on the challenges facing the faculties on behalf of his faculty. It was important to the lecturers here to get students on board and to exchange information closely, for example through weekly chats, FAQs or in special forums. All modules can be covered online in the faculty via the Moodle platform, supplemented by self-filmed videos, group work on Etherpads as well as learning journals, etc.

The feedback from students is consistently positive. One student reports: "I was very concerned about how everything would be if courses, etc. only took place online. Now I'm really surprised and also impressed by how the online opportunities can make studying easier. The lecturers have looked for different ways to communicate with us. I was most impressed by a Skype chat with 19 participants. It was fascinating to see how quickly this method worked after a few teething problems and how well everyone adjusted to each other. The course content can be taught just like in real life."

Students show a lot of initiative and willingness to learn

Another student adds: "I have surprised myself. If the summer semester had started with regular classroom teaching, I probably wouldn't have done as much preparation and follow-up work. It gives me a huge amount of pleasure to learn online and go through the professors' contributions at my own pace following my own biorhythm. Plus, it's a great distraction from what's going on outside my own four walls."

Bernd Sibler also found out about the university's activities related to the Corona pandemic during his visit. Prof. Dr. Stefanie Remmele, student advisor for biomedical engineering at Landshut University of Applied Sciences, reported on the project's current status. She presented the "parts from the 3D printer for face shields" relief campaign, among other things. Students, university members and companies successfully cooperated with Landshut's civil protection to produce parts for 2,000 face shields. Remmele also talked about concepts for emergency ventilation that are currently being worked on at the university.
Sibler visits 3D printer and library

Following the presentations, Sibler visited a laboratory where students are using their own 3D printers to produce the face shield parts, and learned more about the 24-hour library's self-service at Landshut University of Applied Sciences, which was the first Bavarian university to introduce this option some 20 years ago.

300,000 Euros for the TZ PULS basic funding

The Minister of Science brought joyful news with him for Prof. Dr. Markus Schneider, Scientific Director of TZ PULS. The Production and Logistics Systems Technology Centre in Dingolfing will receive EUR 300,000 in annual basic funding in future. "Technology transfer centres are strong drivers of innovation for progress in science and industry," says Sibler. "What is being developed here in close cooperation between the university and companies contributes significantly to strengthening the region." According to the minister, it is important to continue working on this, especially in times of corona.

He went on: "I am therefore delighted that we at the Bavarian state will be able to take over the basic funding for the Technology and Innovation Centre for Production and Logistics Systems (TZ PULS) in Dingolfing in future!" According to Sibler, the direct technology transfer plays a crucial role in international competitiveness. The basic funding also secures the pioneering "PRINCE – Process Innovation Centre" project. The TZ PULS is to be developed into a think tank within this framework. Highly specialised SMEs in particular can develop and test new company-specific production and logistics processes on a scientifically sound basis.

Photo: Landshut University of Applied Sciences

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