Workshop 1 Project Weeks - New Formats for Future Skills
Simon Pannek & Philipp Rößner
The goal of project weeks is to create an environment for students to learn interdisciplinary skills away from the main course of studies. The concept started as a special curriculum spanning multiple weeks of the semester. This raised the concern of multiple sides as the teaching staff was unsure how this concept can fit into the existing study plans.
In the course of the workshop, we first discussed the possible concepts in which the study weeks could take place. This discussion ended on the common ground that the project weeks do not necessarily have to be restricted to one week but can have different formats depending on the school and chair offering a "project week"-course. The only restrictions to the teaching personnel should be, that the course is project-based, interdisciplinary (students of multiple schools should work together), and should have a scope matching a predefined amount of credits.
We then discussed possible ways to motivate and support both the teaching personnel and the students to take part in this new concept. Those solutions included a central wiki where organizers can add course offers that interested students can find and apply to at the same place. We also talked about using the funds which are supposed to go into the realization of the project weeks to support doctoral candidates taking part in this program.
Workshop 2 Problem Based Learning
Problem Based Learning (PBL) tries to reform the traditional teaching method where the Professor is the only one transmitting knowledge and students are just passive listeners.
In PBL blended teaching is performed, instead of long lectures, Professors only transmit the relevant theoretical knowledge and provide the students with further resources for self-learning. The rest of the lecture time is used by the students to apply the theoretical knowledge to real-life problems in small groups. In the groups, students activate prior knowledge, obtain new knowledge as well as collaborate to structure ideas and critically evaluate their findings.
In the workshop, we played the role of students and applied PBL on an example use case to get a feeling for it. Furthermore, we discussed how real students would react if Professors at TUM introduced PBL as well as how Professors can redesign their teaching at TUM and apply PBL in their lectures.
The main criticism from us as student representatives was that the workload for students should not increase if PBL was applied. The time required for self-learning should be taken into consideration when Professors design their courses and its schedule.
Furthermore, students should be awarded for their participation in solving these in-lecture problems and tasks, which leads to blended assessment: the final course grade should not only depend on one final exam but also the participation in problem-solving throughout the semester should be part (of a percentage) of the final grade.
If PBL would require students to have weekly submissions of the in-lecture exercises then the Professors of all study program courses should sync to avoid students having multiple conflicting quizzes and submissions from different courses on the same day.
Lastly, PBL should be applied in a way that gives students flexibility, so grading attendance for example is a no go, students with kids, differently-abled students, or students with any other condition (conflicting lectures, etc.) should be able to follow the lecture and its content, so besides the live-in-lecture problem solving the groups of students should have the option to, for example, work asynchronously after the lecture on their tasks and submit it.
Workshop 3 „with Honors“: Plug-In-Module, Certificate Programs & Co.
To read more about the results of this workshop check the official TUM Symposium Lehre Results Report.
Workshop 4 Digital Teaching - Future Vision
Digital media opens a lot of possibilities in teaching. We learned in the last years which parts of our teaching can be digitalized and which can not. Digital teaching methods are not inherently better teaching methods. For the future of university didactics the most important question should be "What do the students gain if I digitalize parts of my lecture?", sadly we noticed; that a lot of teachers can not make decisions on this basis, because they don't have the choice; either their classes are too big for any lecture hall to fit in, the lecture halls don't give the option to digitalize without a substantial amount of extra work.
Workshop 5 Digital Examination
A digital examination is the Act of writing the exam digitally. This could be in the exam hall with your laptop, or at home (unsupervised/supervised via Proctorio or by a tutor). Digital exams were mainly introduced in the light of the pandemic. From the outset, there are strong deviations between the different faculties/schools.
While for example, the chemistry department seldomly used digital exams, (and does not plan to roll out such a tool in the future ), the informatics department went all-in on digital exams and partially still applies digital exams today. The School of Management mostly uses blanket Single Choice digital exams, supervised by the AI Software Proctrio. The architecture faculty of the School of Engineering and Design uses mostly individualized task-based exams, that are somewhere in between digital and analogue.
One special case in this workshop was the medical faculty, who due to their exams being a lead up to their main state-organized "qualification exams" (Staatsexamen) already use only Single Choice, which did not change that much during the pandemic and probably won't change soon.
In the future, our group thinks, that examination will probably continue in the same vein as the past trend has made obvious:
- Most digital exams (eg. Proctorio, a fully digital exam on the PC) are not here to stay. They were more effort to create from the side of the lecturers and don't bring much of a cost savings aspect if any. While some examiners will continue to utilize these tools, they are going to remain a niche.
- However digitalised exams (eg. TUMExam on paper in the lecture hall, but digitally managed, corrected and distributed ["Klausur-Einsicht"]) are here to stay. They are faster, easier on the assessor, and simplify the whole examination process. The question of funding for these tools is still out, but since they are inherently designed to make a process, this probably is a good strategy.
In conclusion, it was amazing, after 2 years of the pandemic, to finally meet again the main shapers of the education at TUM and bring students' opinions on the newest teaching formats and trends to the table.
If you too want to be part of the student council team shaping the education at TUM, evaluating innovative teaching formats, and co designing new study programs, certificates, and study regulations write us an email at email@example.com or come by our AStA office on the main campus.
Hanya Elhashemy, Fabian Richter, Frank Elsinga, Simon Pannek, Philipp Rößner