Specific questions for teachers

Organization of teaching

The university board of management has made use of the flexibility concept presented in the ordinance on the determination of the 2020/2021 winter semester lecture period at Bavarian universities and universities of applied sciences of 8 July 2020 by shortening the winter semester lecture period by two weeks. The course material planned for the winter semester is to be offered with a correspondingly condensed number of hours, or in some other way, taking into account the feasibility of reasonable studies. The winter semester lecture period will commence on 2 November 2020 and end on 12 February 2021.

Compared to the 2020 summer semester, the 2020/2021 winter semester will, based on the current situation, be able to offer more classroom teaching - albeit under difficult conditions that require careful consideration. Nevertheless, online teaching will generally continue to be at the core of course offerings. This complex situation with its various possible scenarios is rooted particularly in the individual freedom of teachers and students to decide on the type of courses offered or the form of course participation. The university board of management is currently working diligently to provide reliable answers to unresolved questions.

The following information and structural parameters are currently available:

  • Instructors are requested to plan each course flexibly enough to allow for a transition (due to changing conditions) from or between digital and classroom formats.
  • Classroom-based courses must strictly observe and adhere to hygienic and other protective measures. Teaching complete groups on site will only be possible if room capacities allow it (see FAQ concerning in-person courses below). For courses with a larger number of participants, teaching rotating smaller groups on site is also conceivable. Especially for students in their first and second semesters, support in classroom formats is highly desirable.
  • According to the current legal status, there is also the possibility of "internet-based design" for instruction (Lehrverpflichtungsverordnung – LUFV §3 Abs. 2). The decision on the choice of teaching formats - attendance-based and/or online - is therefore left to the instructors.
  • A particular challenge for seminar planning will be to enable students who cannot or do not want to attend classroom courses to participate in lectures and seminars without restrictions. For this reason, an alternative (synchronous or asynchronous) online offering must also be provided for in-person courses. Please contact the Computing Centre forassistance and support in all technical matters concerning online teaching.

In principle, all attendance-based courses are bound by the reduced room capacities and the provisions laid out in the manual on infection prevention in accordance with Bavarian state regulations. The decision to conduct in-person courses or examinations is to be made in consultation with the director of your own teaching unit.

The most important reguations also include:

  • Notification is now mandatory for attendance-based courses and examinations. Approval by the university board of management is no longer required. The notification obligation is satisfied by the UnivIS entry of the course or examination with in-person attendance identification. Please note that applications for attendance courses that have already been submitted to the university board of management for decision and have not yet been decided will not be processed further. In this case - as well as for already approved applications - the UnivIS notification obligation applies.
  • The notification of in-person teaching/examining is explicitly bound to the assumption of responsibility to fully comply with the provisions of the manual on the “Directive for the implementation of the Bavarian regulation on infection prevention and control measures (Zweite Bayerische Infektionsschutzmaßnahmenverordnung) at the Bavarian universities”, particularly with regard to mask wearing or the minimum distancing requirement. The instructor must also summarise and submit in writing a declaration of this responsibility for all of his or her in-person teaching and examinations conducted during the semester.
  • For infection contact tracing purposes, all persons present must supply current contact information. This measure can be implemented via the VC course, meaning that each classroom course is required to have a corresponding VC course for which all participants must be registered. In the case of in-person examinations, contact information is recorded by means of examination lists.
  • Unrestricted participation in lectures and seminars must be possible for those students who cannot or do not want to attend classroom courses. For this reason, an alternative (synchronous or asynchronous) online offering must also be provided for in-person courses. Please contact the Computing Centre forassistance and support in all technical matters concerning online teaching.
  • With a current 7-day incidence rate of 35 or more new infections of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 per 100,000 inhabitants of the city of Bamberg, masks must be worn, without exception, in in-person courses. This means instructors and students must wear a mouth and nose covering while teaching a course or sitting in their seats, respectively, and a minimum distance of 1.5 metres to other persons must be maintained. Current information on the 7-day incidence rate is available on the Bavarian State Ministry of Health website.

Please find further information in the most recent newsletter for instructors (Rundschreiben für Lehrende).

Access to the university buildings can be eased again with the comprehensive regulation of contact data collection for various situations (courses and related on-site visits, library visits, examinations). All university buildings are therefore open during regular opening hours. Please note that for important reasons access is only permitted to members and guests of the university.

In order to enable the optimal use of all rooms in compliance with current hygiene regulations, it is requested that UnivIS course listings are particularly well maintained and up-to-date.

UnivIS has been expanded to include the "Capacity during Covid-19" specification – for each room you will now find information on the maximum allowed occupancy. In order to take into account online or hybrid courses, additional functions have been added to UnivIS: It is now possible to mark courses as online or hybrid as well as synchronous or asynchronous.

Please indicate courses taking place online or in hybrid form, so that colleagues who still need a room can use rooms that are not actually occupied. Original room bookings that are no longer relevant due to online teaching are deleted from the room planning system in order to avoid confusion among students and instructors. They will, however, remain in each course entry and can be read in the section for logged in users. When returning to regular operation, there will be a button that reactivates the original room scheduling.

You can find further information on this topic in the UnivIS VC course under the courses heading.

If students, despite being warned, refuse to comply with applicable corona-related regulations such as the wearing of masks, and if there is no credible reason for exception, instructors may exercise the right to deny access and may expel the persons concerned from the building. If necessary, it may be advisable to involve colleagues or superiors in the enforcement of sanctions. Above all, however, instructors must set a good example in complying with corona regulations like required mask wearing.

The summer semester 2020 is a special one, which of course also has consequences for the verification of courses held during this semester. On the reporting form that will be sent to you by the Dean of Studies, please indicate the courses you have held in the summer semester in the usual way and name the credit hours per week with which the course was announced. Under the current conditions, online teaching is generally creditable with a factor of 1, i.e. one hundred percent.

If you have had considerable additional work for the completion of all announced courses and apply for a higher credit factor (higher than 1,0), please briefly describe this work so that a decision can be made as to whether the work can be credited toward the teaching load for a coming semester.

If you do not reach the set teaching load, please indicate whether the shortfall is due to increased workload of converting of one or more courses to an online format. Please provide a short explanation that allows us to estimate the effort involved.

The Deans of Studies and the University Management will examine the plausibility of the respective case constellations; taking into account the special conditions in this Corona semester, the President will, as announced, decide on approval with reasonable generosity.

Without wanting or being able to anticipate future longer-term regulations, this semester will again follow a similar procedure to last semester with regard to the crediting of digital teaching. This means that online teaching is generally credited in the same way as classroom teaching. However, if the work involved in preparation or implementation is considerably greater, there is the possibility of submitting an application for higher crediting to the President via the Dean of Studies. A maximum factor of 1.5 can then be applied in individual cases. A catalogue of criteria will soon be drawn up in close cooperation with the Dean of Studies to specify the greater workload.

For the protection of all, teaching is moving for the most part to the digital space. Clearly, this involves a considerable additional effort for everyone. In order to address uncertainties, the following is a short list of minimum requirements for summer semester courses:

  • The Virtual Campus (VC) companion course set up by the computing centre should serve as the primary (digital) tool and virtual working space.
  • In order to help students orient themselves, a short general introduction into the organisation of the course should be provided (including course procedure/structure; module classification; information on verification of achievement).
  • As before, written materials pertinent to course topics and content (slides, literature and, where applicable, lists of specific tasks or coursework) should be provided.
    The University Library can provide you with digital versions of the required literature by procuring e-books whenever possible and by offering a digitalisation service. Currently, only 15% of a copyrighted work or individual journal articles and illustrations may be made accessible in digital course reserves without a licence. Bavaria's universities are campaigning for a temporary suspension of these copyright provisions. However, it is not yet foreseeable whether this effort will be successful.
  • Students should have a regular opportunity (e.g. every week or every two weeks) to pose questions and offer feedback on the individual course topics (e.g. via chats).
  • For communication with students, the scheduled course sessions should be used whenever possible in order to avoid any overlap.
  • Furthermore, for students there is no compulsory attendance for online teaching or classroom teaching. Exceptions are made for courses identified in study and examination regulations as requiring attendance, although regular attendance can now also be provided in electronic/digital teaching formats.

Activities and the use of corresponding tools beyond those listed above are of course always appreciated. Please take into account the information provided in other FAQs concerning the virtual campus as a central platform, further alternatives to classroom teaching, the tools provided by the computing centre for organising online teaching, as well as concerning personal support services.

The Virtual Campus (VC) is the central platform for online teaching at the University of Bamberg. Here, students must be able to find a virtaul companion course for every regularly announced course. Within VC courses, students and instructors can communicate and consolodate all relevant information and course material.

Subject groups can create a central VC course that provieds general information on topics like pursuing studies in a particular field under the unique conditions of the corona pandemic.

For questions concerning the use of the Virtual Campus, please contact the IT-Support team by telephone or email at 0951/863-1333 or it-support(at)uni-bamberg.de, respectively.

Please also find information on further alternatives to classroom teaching and take advantage of our personal support services (see FAQs on both subjects).

 

In addition to utlising the Virtual Campus as a central platform (see FAQ above), there are numerous possibilities for virtual teaching:

1) Computing Centre offerings

The university Computing Centre has compiled a range of alternatives for online teaching. The site is continuously supplemented and updated. In short introductory sessions, instructors can familiarise themselves with the Panopto video recording system and the video conferencing services provided by the German National Research and Education Network (DFN-Verein): These provide a platform for webinars and virtual office hours. Additionally, the Computing Centre also provides other simple tools and instructions that can be used for things like chatting and jointly working on files.

If you are interested in such an event, please contact the Computing Centre's IT support team to make arrangements - preferably for several persons from one departmet or chair. Training events are offerd as location-independent webinars. Additional information and the opportunity to register will be provided in a VC course.

If you have general questions concerning technological possibilities for online teaching, please also contact IT support by phone at 0951/863-1333 or by email at it-support(at)uni-bamberg.de.

2) Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (vhb)

  • Make the students in your subject aware of the existing vhb offering in the CLASSIC.vhb section.
  • Check whether you can integrate offerings in the OPEN.vhb section into your courses, e.g. by additionally having these courses supervised by instructors in your subject and combining them with examinations.
  • You can use stored elements from the SMART.vhb section as part of your courses.
  • In light of the current situation, the vhb has temporarily expanded its course offering. An overview of current and additional courses can be found here (in German).

Please also take advantage of personal support services (see FAQ) like those offered by the deans of studies.

The university board of management asks that instructors work together in an interdisciplinary and solution-oriented manner in order to enable stuents to pursue their studies even under difficult conditions. Mutual support is extremely valuable:

1) Support from the deans of studies
Each faculty's office of the dean of studies will provide support for teaching staff. It would, for instance, be beneficial and mutually supportive if those of you willing and able to do so based on experience in web-supported teaching would offer your assistance to the deans. Conversely, those with no experience in this area should not hesitate to seek and avail themselves of assistance:

2) Support for video production

In order to provide some relief for the university's media technology section and computing centre, Dr. Dominik Herrmann, Professor of Privacy and Security, has set up a semi-professional recording and streaming studio in the ERBA building WE5, An der Weberei 5. Here instuctors can easily produce videos and and have the option to transmit them live on the internet. The studio is available to anyone who would like to digitise presentations or courses and Prof. Herrmann is happy to advise anyone interested in audio/video technology.

For information, please contact Prof. Herrmann at dominik.herrmann(at)uni-bamberg.de or visit the studio website.

3) Support from the Centre for Teacher Training (ZLB)

Beginning 20 April, Lisa Dücker and Anja Gärtig-Daugs will open their digitisation consultations on the subject of online teaching to all faculties. Originally, these consultations were designed for the various uses of DigiLLabs within teacher training programmes. In order to support instructors in converting classroom teaching to digital formats, there is now additional, subject-independent help available during office hours: among other things, this includes handling tools that can be used not only for digital teaching at the University of Bamberg, but also for the search for additional tools for specific purposes, as well as for literature research and procurement in times of closed libraries (see FAQ above).

Consultation hours beginning 20 April are as follows:

Please arrange a conslutation by mail at lisa.duecker(at)uni-bamberg.de or anja.gaertig-daugs(at)uni-bamberg.de.

In his newsletter of 15 October 2020 (268.5 KB), the Vice-President for Teaching and Learning provides important information on data protection and privacy. Please refer to the guidelines for online and hybrid teaching.

Due to the current situation, lecturers may refrain from collecting signatures from course participants until further notice. Recording participants' names and sending this list to the office of the dean is sufficient.

The University Library can provide you with digital versions of the required literature by procuring e-books whenever possible and by offering a digitalisation service. Currently, only 15% of a copyrighted work or individual journal articles and illustrations may be made accessible in digital course reserves without a licence. Bavaria's universities are campaigning for a temporary suspension of these copyright provisions. However, it is not yet foreseeable whether this effort will be successful.

We ask that you please understand that access to the university's computer labs is currently limited due to ongoing protective measures. The RZ/00.04 computer lab (located in the Computing Centre at Feldkirchenstraße 21) is currently freely accessible for university members during the Computer Centre’s opening hours (except Saturday). However, at present, a maximum of 10 people are allowed to use the lab at the same time. A reservation or sign-up is not necessary.

The Computing Centre is currently preparing to open further PC pools with the goal of making additional workstations available to students. This is expected to occur in October and in advance of the beginning hybrid semester in November. We will inform you here as soon as details are provided. For further information on computer labs, please visit the Computing Centre’s website.

The computers in most computer labs cannot currently be used locally due to the restrictions imposed to counter the corona pandemic. However, if required, we can make the computers available online with the help of VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). Individual labs’ page headings indicate which ones are already available.

General information on VDI can be found here (in German):
www.uni-bamberg.de/rz/dienstleistungen/pc/softwarebetreuung/vdi/

German-language information on which computer labs are currently available for online use and how you can utilise these for your courses can be found here:
www.uni-bamberg.de/rz/dienstleistungen/pc/softwarebetreuung/vdi/virtpcpool/

Consultation appointments should take place via telephone or e-mail in order to further impede any chains of infection. The Computing Centre also offers information and training on video conferencing services with which consultations and office hours can be held.

Conferences, conventions and similar events are still subject to approval and should be held virtually whenever possible. You will find the permit application form on the Z/IZA division website.

Regulations on examinations

With regard to reading room closures and the increased possibility of restricted access to examination-related literature, in justified cases students writing their bachelor’s and master’s theses may submit a deadline extension request to chairpersons of the examining boards. Chairpersons are urged to review these requests sympathetically and to grant a four-week extension where necessary. Furthermore, the university board of management advises all seminar instructors to accept seminar papers submitted up to four weeks after deadline with no negative repercussions for students.

As per the university’s Corona Statutes (Corona-Satzung) § 3 Abs. 3, the following applies: If it can be verifiably established that a dissertation cannot be published within the period stipulated by the respective doctoral regulations due to restrictions on public life or other effects of the coronavirus, the period for publication of the dissertation may be extended by a maximum of twelve months in individual cases. This also applies to particular exceptional cases in which the deadline has already been extended by the head of the responsible doctoral committee.

Yes. Regular course and module examinations will take place. Depending on whether the examinations are centrally organised or decentralised, they can take place in person or online. As per § 2 of the university's Corona Statutes (Corona-Satzung), deviations from course and examination formats are permissible if the originally intended teaching and/or examination format cannot be carried out as planned due to the corona crisis (see FAQ below). In this case, the planned teaching and/or examination format may be replaced by a suitable alternative format.

Instructors can address their questions to the following faculty deans (of studies):

According to the “Directive for the implementation of the Bavarian regulation on infection prevention and control measures (Bayerische Infektionsschutzmaßnahmenverordnung) at the Bavarian universities”, examinations requiring attendance are permitted again, but only under strict hygiene regulations and with considerable effort on the part of organisational personnel.

Please utilise the options for alternative examination formats detailed in § 4 of the university’s Corona Statutes (Corona-Satzung(325.2 KB)).

Oral and written (decentralised) examinations requiring attendance are permitted if registered and in compliance with strict hygiene regulations. The regulations are detailed (in German) in the Rahmenkonzept zur Durchführung von dezentralen schriftlichen und mündlichen Präsenzprüfungen.

(Oral) online examinations are possible, as long as comparable conditions can be created for all students. In order to do this, the following requirements must be met:

1. Examination candidates must be clearly identifiable

  • It must be ensured that the student has the necessary technical equipment and stable Internet access.

  • The examination is to be conducted via video chat, which will be noted in the examination minutes. The consent for this is to be confirmed with the candidate prior to the examination and must also be noted in the examination minutes.

2. Suitable precautions must be taken against attempts at deception

  • In order to establish identity, the examiner must be shown the student identity card at the beginning of the examination and check it.

  • Examination candidates must be informed that the examiners will terminate the examination if there is a suspicion that unauthorised aids are being used. The students' consent to this will be noted in the minutes.

  • The candidate uses the camera to pan around the room in which they are sitting. Only the candidate may be in this room.

3. Technical disturbances must be dealt with appropriately

  • In the event of technical problems that cannot be solved within a short period of time (max. 5 minutes), an accommodating approach is taken and the test is rescheduled without adverse consequences for the candidate.

  • In the event of brief technical interruptions, the examination period is extended by the length of the interruption.

  • An examination that has been ended due to technical problems may be repeated a maximum of once during the same examining period. This does not count as a further examination attempt.

4. The examination proceedings must be saved and documented

  • Three persons take part in the examination: the examiner, the observer and the examination candidate. The examiner and the observer do not have to be in the same physical room, but can both participate via video chat. The production of written examination minutes is mandatory. igital recordings of examinations are prohibited!

  • Any consultation on the result of the examination is carried out without the candidate. The result can be announced by e-mail after the examination.

  • The examination minutes are signed electronically by the examiner and the observer (e.g. "Sign" function in Acrobat Professional) and either archived electronically or as a printout.

5. Data security regulations (particularly the type and choice of server) must be guaranteed

  • For security reasons, oral online examinations may only be conducted with tools that allow authentication via a University of Bamberg account (such as MS Teams).

As per § 2 of the university's Corona Statutes (Corona-Satzung), deviations from course and examination formats are permissible if the originally intended teaching and/or examination format cannot be carried out as planned due to the corona crisis. In this case, the planned teaching and/or examination format may be replaced by a suitable alternative format. Students must be informed of any changes no later than four weeks after the start of the lecture period. If you are planning (or having to plan) any deviations from the original format, please contact those responsible for the degree programme as soon as possible. Your faculty's Dean of Studies will decide on the suitability of alternative teaching and/or examination formats.

If you are not sure whether or not you will be able to conduct an examination in the form stipulated for a specific module, § 2 of the university's Corona Statutes (Corona-Satzung) provieds for the possibility of announcing an alternative in addition to the stipulated examination format. The decision on the final examination format must be communicated to the students four weeks before the planned examination date. If you choose this option, please contact the person responsible for the degree programme as soon as possible. The Dean of Studies of your faculty will decide on the suitability of both options.

Since it is not foreseeable at present whether examinations requiring attendance (oral and invigilated written exams) can be held at a later date in the planned form, it is recommended that instructors choose this variant and announce a second examination format as an alternative to the planned, attendance-required examination. Only in this way can we guarantee safe and reliable conditions for students under the given, constantly changing circumstances.