The teachings of teaching in Corona times
– from the life of a teaching academic staff member – an interim review
Academic staff have a lot to report on the situation in teaching and research over the last year:
The start of the Corona summer semester was bumpy and had to be transferred to online teaching in a very short time. This required both the digitization of teaching materials and the introduction of communication tools. Practice-oriented courses were cancelled altogether or were conducted in face-to-face block courses with a small number of participants at the end of the semester. Alternative examination formats had to be found for exams and in some cases also for oral examinations, and legal questions also arose here.
Teachers were not only confronted with the necessity of upgrading their technical equipment (some privately-owned), but they also had to cope with organizational and technical difficulties as well as the worries and hardships of students. Working in a legal gray area from home was part of the daily routine of the employees, who often had to put their research or work on a dissertation on the back burner in order to prepare their online courses. Quite a few employees were also increasingly confronted with family obligations. Working from home in small apartments with a child and a toddler, working simultaneously with one’s partner, caring for children or helping them with their homework, teaching online… pushed some people to their limits.
Teachers suffered from the lack of contact with colleagues and students and bemoaned the significant „dwindling numbers“ at synchronous online events, which they had prepared with great effort and commitment, as well as the many black screens in zoom.
Students, who, for the first time or repeatedly, could not be admitted to practical teaching formats such as internships or projects, are growing visibly discontent. This discontent is obviously „unloaded“ on the teachers first. Nevertheless, the number of newly enrolled students has remained the same or even increased in many courses of study. Teachers sometimes felt left alone with the problem that the “ first-year students“ could not be adequately “ cared for“ with teaching. One solution would have been to reduce the number of first-year students or to increase the number of teaching staff or lecturers.
At the end of the semester, the question was raised as to how to fill out the declaration of course obligations, which was partly demanded by the faculties “as usual.” One question included how to document the increased additional workload required for the preparation and follow-up of online seminars and documenting proof of performance as well as for preparation and follow-up of courses with limited face-to-face attendence. Particularly in the case of high teaching loads (teachers for specific tasks, scientific staff with a focus on teaching), there was a great deal of uncertainty as to how cancelled instruction would be credited or whether it would have to be made up for.
With regard to research, problems have arisen, for example, from the lack of continuity due to cancelled meetings and conferences, the sometimes difficult access to laboratories in the department, libraries and research institutions, and the fact that third-party funded projects are not always successfully extended, thus possibly jeopardizing the timely completion of the doctorate.
Nevertheless, there is still some positive take-aways: online teaching opened up new perspectives for teaching with media support, it demanded more independent teaching and learning, and it offered alternatively synchronous and asynchronous teaching formats, which brought more flexibility into everyday teaching and learning. The intensive use of digital media as well as the improved equipment with the necessary hardware and software has shown that the instructors are well on their way to keeping pace with the „young Internet generation.” The teachers‘ survey (in German) and other various student surveys show that a certain satisfaction with the teaching situation was expressed.
In conclusion, we can only hope that this will be the last semester under Corona conditions, that the progress made in digital teaching can be utilized and that the restrictions, distance and the difficult living and working conditions do not have serious personal consequences. In this sense: Stay cheerful and keep a positive attitude!
The verdi list would like the large group of academic staff (more than 2,000 employees) to be given more attention. We call for, among other things, especially:
- Adherence to or generous interpretation of the LVVO (Teaching Obligation Regulation, among other things, the teaching load) or a revision of the higher education policy at the state level concerning the LVVO
- Appreciation of the achievement in the ad-hoc conversion to online teaching: no make-up classes for cancelled teaching
- less burden concerning administrative tasks
- Crediting administration time and correction time to work hours or teaching hours
- adequate time for qualification
- fewer short-term contracts
- Implementation of personnel development measures for scientific personnel
- generous interpretation of the family-political component for academic staff …
|Appreciation||Digitization||Home Office Equipment|
|IT Admin Staffing||Personnel Development||Personnel Retention and Acquisition|
|Wage Classification Improvement
|Workplace Design||The verd.di list|