Digital technologies are becoming an important part of teaching and study programs in general: To create innovative concepts the Hesse-wide project “Digitally supported teaching and learning in Hesse” starts on February 1, 2019. The project is funded with approximately 10 million euros by the Hessian Ministry for Science and Arts (HMWK). Eleven Hessian universities – including Hochschule Geisenheim University - are part of the project which aims at identifying the didactic and technical requirements for the permanent use of new technologies in teaching.
Minister of Science Boris Rhein says:” Digitalization is one of the most important topics of our time and also influences work at universities. Of course the use of new technologies has been playing an important role for some time now, but with this project we aim at creating innovative concepts for improving university teaching and learning processes. It is the goal of the state government to promote the digitalization of teaching at universities. Modern eLearning makes teaching independent of time and place possible. Innovative teaching methods and possibilities offered by digitalization are the future of excellent teaching.”
The three core elements of the project are: Barrier-free access for students to high quality digitalized teaching materials, promoting the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and a virtual space for teachers where they can discuss and test innovative digitalization concepts. Apart from that teachers will be supported with didactic, organizational-technical and legal advice when it comes to creating digital learning materials and individual qualification.
The project “Digitally supported teaching and learning in Hesse” develops prototypes for different forms of cooperation between the universities as well as a web portal with digital teaching and learning materials. The participating universities found local service centers or establish additional job positions. This is what Hochschule Geisenheim did in the Department for University Didactics and eLearning. The eLearning team came into existence in February 2016 and acts as a multiplier for those developments that the government aims for on a state-wide level. At the same time the department acts as a contact for teachers and makes sure the university administration receives feedback on the process.
The total funding amounts to 9.9 million euros. Each of the eleven universities receives the same amount for establishing and supporting the local service centers. The University of Marburg also receives a budget for the service center as well as for the organization and implementation of the innovation forums and the creation of the web portal. Thus almost half of the funds go to a mutual digitally supported teaching program. At the end of the funding period a panel of experts will be evaluating the project. If the evaluation is positive and the state budget allows it, a permanent mutual Hessian program for digitally supported teaching and learning is going to be established.