Talk Lehre 2021 – The Future of Teaching and Learning at RWTH After the Coronavirus Pandemic



Michael Heuters

Interim Head of Division


+49 241 80 98105



Just like in the previous year, Talk Lehre 2021 had to take place under special conditions. The 11th edition took place as a digital event on the afternoon of November 18, 2021. The meeting focused on the future of teaching and learning after the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, used his opening speech to highlight the manner in which the pandemic has largely changed day-to-day operations at the University when it comes to studying and teaching. He went on to note that the pandemic has brought with it new basic conditions that have to be adhered to.

Orpha Fiedler (Chairperson of AStA – Students’ Committee) and Lukas Schnelle (AStA Department for Education & University Communication) made use of the students’ opening speech to emphasize the importance of the Talk Lehre event as a platform for those inside the University to share information on important topics from the fields of studying and teaching.

Following those speeches, the Vice-Rector for Teaching and Learning, Professor Aloys Krieg, awarded the teaching prizes in the categories of Instructor and Project to Professor Sven Klinkel (from the Chair of Structural Analysis and Dynamics) for his excellent work in the field of teaching at the university.

In addition, a special guest contribution was provided by Philipp Schmidt (Director of Digital Learning and Collaboration at the MIT Media Lab). He is an internationally renowned expert for subjects such as digital learning and organizational change. In his keynote speech, he offered interesting approaches that can be used to structure university learning in the future. Using historical and international examples, he demonstrated which skills our students will require in the world of work of tomorrow – a world that is changing at an ever-increasing rate, where it will be commonplace to work alongside AI and robots. On top of this, he also commented on which experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic are worth taking note of and which role the University should take in the balancing act between increasing inequality and economic growth.

The Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development, Professor Sabine Brück-Dürkop, alongside Dr. Stefan Lankes (from the Chair for Automation of Complex Power Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology) and Dr. Sebastian Staacks (from the Chair for Experimental Physics [Solid Physics], Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences) presented two members of the teaching staff with the RWTH Lecturer Award. These members of staff had distinguished themselves with their excellent teaching work while being involved in research activities at the same time.

Just as had been the case in previous year, multiple parallel lecture slots were utilized to showcase selected projects and best practice examples from teaching and learning at RWTH. Some of these projects were from (internal) competitions such as Exploratory Teaching Space, known as ETS for short, Digital Teaching in the curriculum, International Cooperation Online, known as ICON for short, and This time was used to present projects such as Vocal Screening and Vocal Health for Teacher Trainees at RWTH Aachen University, Didactic Visualization of Complex Laboratory Attempts Using Photo-Realistic 3D Animation Films, CPM Remote: Performing Laboratory Work From Home, or Micro Degrees and Badges at RWTH Aachen University.

At the end of the event, Vice-Rector Professor Krieg gave an insight into what the study conditions and teaching of tomorrow at RWTH Aachen University could look like as well as into which basic conditions and new methods of teaching and learning might play a part in the future.

After the lecture was over, the participants discussed the various different approaches, ideas, and concepts. The event was hosted by Dr. Malte Persike from the Center for Teaching and Learning Services, known as the CLS.

In total, more than 250 people registered to attend and take part in the various presentations, lectures, and discussions, indicating the great interest in the topic of the future of teaching and learning at RWTH.
Please see the PDF file in the yellow box for the detailed schedule of the event. You can find videos of the individual talks under "external links" at the end of this page.