PreStudyplus: Key Competencies in a Digital Format

Within the scope of the ESF project Pre-Studyplus, which is organized by the International Center, learning modules in a blended learning format are to be developed in the medium-term, for example for the subject-specific acquisition of German language skills and key competencies. With the modules, Hochschule Geisenheim University wants to help internationals and students in need for support to settle into university life. The project is funded as part of the program entitled "Offene Hochschule: Potenziale nutzen, Übergänge vorbereiten" by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and the Arts and the European Social Funds (ESF).


As a supplement to student support services offered by the International Office, the follow-up project Pre-Studyplus gained momentum in June 2020 when Dipl.-Kffr. Rita Broschek, M.Sc. assumed responsibility for the coordination of the project. As an initial step, a sub-project was launched, which focuses on the creating of learning modules on "key competencies". In addition to assessing the requirements and needs for such learning modules, Hochschule Geisenheim University also exchanged experiences with other universities that already offer programs for acquiring key competencies and other support services for international students in the introductory phase of their studies. Simultaneously, the university carried out a student survey on key competencies. 289 students took part, including 33 internationals.

As part of the survey, students were asked to assess their key competencies at the beginning of their studies and how they have improved over time. The respondents confirmed that key competencies play a vital role to successfully complete their studies. Time management, self-discipline, resilience and organizational skills, however, were identified as competencies that need to be further strengthened. Based on these findings, e-learning modules in German and English are now being created. An additional module on intercultural competence is also being planned. However, in order to provide immediate support for international students during the pandemic to help them succeed in their virtual courses, Hochschule Geisenheim University also offered additional online presentations on self-organization, time management and learning techniques in November.

In the future, the university plans to provide the bilingual e-learning modules to all students. They should be publicly available on the learning platform ILIAS and could even be accessed by prospective students to help them prepare for their studies at Hochschule Geisenheim University. In order to consolidate and further strengthen the competencies learned online, additional trainings will be offered in the introductory phase.

Contributed by Dipl.-Kffr. Rita Broschek, M.Sc., project coordinator