Online Institutions NRW: First Online Course Involving Multiple Universities Begins This Summer Semester


A new online course involving multiple universities has been developed by RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen as part of the Online Institutions NRW initiative. The course – the first of its kind – will start in Summer Semester 2019/20. By the end of the year, a total of 17 institutions in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia will officially offer the online course in higher mathematics for their courses of study in engineering. The development and operation of the course is being funded by the regional digitalization initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Higher mathematics is a feature at the start of every engineering course of study at the institutions involved. The subject therefore symbolizes the transition from high school to university. It is especially beneficial for institutions to work together on developing online teaching content right at the beginning of academic studies.

'Online formats let students be independent, as they are not tied down to a specific time, place, or fixed lecture structure. The course is the first of its kind, as it involves multiple institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia, which also implement it as part of the curriculum,' says Minister of Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen. 'Thanks to its modular structure and the flexible combination of course units, paves the way for the development of further e-learning courses that involve multiple universities.'

Valuable Guidance

The course is designed for both school pupils and students. Providing they pass the course, it means they start their studies with the advantage of already having acquired credit points. 'This is a great benefit as the course can provide valuable guidance for students. It lets them improve their knowledge base and therefore makes it easier to ascertain whether it is the right course of study for them,' explains professor Aloys Krieg, vice-rector for teaching at RWTH. 'After taking this course, they can accurately assess their proficiency in the subject.'

The course offers a script with tasks that are corrected online by tutors. In addition, the participants benefit from a virtual tutorial – the so-called Mathematics Call Center – that addresses any problems students have. At the end of the semester, two regular exam dates will be offered at the different universities.

The module has already been implemented at RWTH and FH Aachen as part of the project 'A Good Academic Start in Engineering'. The course is already officially recognized at all their engineering faculties, with further institutions set to follow suit by the end of the year. RWTH is responsible for the project.

Institutions involved:

  • RWTH
  • FH Aachen
  • Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
  • Bochum University of Applied Sciences
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • TU Dortmund University
  • Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Münster University of Applied Sciences
  • Hochschule Niederrhein
  • Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences
  • Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
  • Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Siegen
  • South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Wuppertal

Online Institutions NRW

Online Institutions NRW is a unique association of 42 higher education institutions in North-Rhine Westphalia. Together with the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Online Institutions NRW supports the regional digitalization initiative that aims to encourage institutions to consistently use online formats in collaborations involving different higher education institutions in the state.