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Press release

RWU surveys students about Corona Semester

Studentin im Homeoffice

The past Corona semester has presented the universities with new challenges almost every day. In order to learn from them and draw the right conclusions for the upcoming winter semester, the Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences (RWU) asked its students about their experiences. After all, the coming semester will also be a digital semester for the most part.

"The close guidance of our students distinguishes us," says Professor Dr. Sebastian Mauser, Vice Rector for Studies, Teaching and Quality Management. "The shift from face-to-face courses to online formats naturally has an impact on this. And we have to look at how we can best manage this shift in dialogue with our students.

In July, the university sent out questionnaires to all 3,600 students. 852 completed questionnaires were returned - a high response rate. "There was obviously a great desire among the students to share their experiences, compliments and criticism, but also to make suggestions," says Sebastian Mauser.

Praise for communication - cutbacks in teaching

The university's crisis communication is rated well. Around three quarters of those surveyed felt that the university management had kept them informed about developments and changes in the wake of the pandemic.

The effects of the corona situation on teaching were assessed less clearly. Two-thirds of those surveyed stated that lecturers use digital platforms and other offerings for teaching to an appropriate extent. Nevertheless, online teaching has a negative impact on teaching in the eyes of students. Around 60 percent say that teaching has rather deteriorated due to the current situation. The reasons given are the difficult accessibility of teachers and reduced personal support for students.

"These are numbers that clearly tell us: We must continue to work on ourselves, even if it is hardly surprising that classroom teaching is preferred to online studies," says Sebastian Mauser. Online teaching, he says, is a challenge especially for universities of applied sciences. "Our focus is on practical work in groups, in laboratories and with people. There can be no substitute for that."

More flexibility through online study

In comparison to the presence teaching about two thirds of the students evaluate the time expenditure of online teachings as higher. Reasons given for this include the shortened semester and lack of tutorials. "Such supportive offerings will be more frequent again in the winter semester," says Sebastian Mauser.

But the survey also shows that what began as a crisis solution does hold opportunities for many students. Above all, the time flexibility, for example through recorded lectures, was perceived as enriching. Especially students with children benefit from this.

Openness as a principle

„The challenges posed by the pandemic will continue to occupy us, especially in teaching," says Sebastian Mauser, who is lecturing software engineering at RWU. "The important thing is that we take on this task together, learn from past experience and, ideally, emerge from the crisis stronger than before".