Digital technologies have long become an indispensable part of teaching and study programs: Aiming to come up with innovative concepts, the state-wide project entitled “Digital-based teaching and learning in Hesse” will kick off on February 1, 2019. Hesse's Ministry for Science and Arts (HMWK) has provided a total of 10 million euros in funding for the project. Eleven universities in Hesse – including Hochschule Geisenheim University – are taking part in the project which aims to identify the educational and technical requirements for the long-term application of new technologies in the field of teaching.
Minister of Science Boris Rhein says, "Digitalization is one of the most important topics of our time and also influences how people work at universities. Of course the use of new technologies has been crucial for some time now, but with this project we are aiming to come up with innovative concepts to enhance teaching and learning processes at third-level. It is the goal of the state government to promote the digitalization of teaching at universities. Modern eLearning frees teaching up - it can take place any time and in any place.The iInnovative teaching methods and possibilities that digitalization provides are the future of excellence in teaching.”
The three core elements of the project are: full accessibility 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. In addition, teachers will be given educational, organizational, technical and legal advice on creating digital learning materials and on what individual skills are needed.
The “Digital-based teaching and learning in Hesse” project develops prototypes for different forms of cooperation between the universities as well as a web portal containing digital teaching and learning materials. The participating universities set up local service centers or establish additional job positions. This is what Hochschule Geisenheim has done at the Department for University Didactics and eLearning. The eLearning team was set up in February 2016 and functions as a multiplier of the developments the government is aiming to achieve at a state-wide level. The department also acts as a contact for teachers and ensures the university administration receives feedback on the process.
Total funding amounts to 9.9 million euros. Each of the eleven universities receives the same amount for setting up and supporting the local service centers. The University of Marburg has been given a budget for the service center as well as for the organization and implementation of the innovation forums and establishing the web portal. This means that almost half of the funds are invested in a joint digital-based teaching program. At the end of the funding period a panel of experts will assess the project. If the assessment is positive and state budget permitting, a long-term joint program will be established for digital-based teaching and learning in Hesse.