Digitalization Strategy for Teaching© Mario Irrmischer
Over the past decade, RWTH Aachen University has actively developed teaching concepts to reduce dropout rates and help students improve their learning outcomes while maintaining the high academic level of the university and an acceptable duration of study. In 2009, the University successfully answered a funding call for Excellent Teaching published by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft with the concept Students in Focus of Excellence.
One of the instruments described in the application was the Exploratory Teaching Space. This instrument is intended to ensure that educators have the time and financial support to develop and try-out innovative teaching/learning concepts. As such, ETS is an important enabler of RWTH’s empowering culture.
Between 2010 and 2018, more than 300 ETS project proposals were submitted, of which more than 100 were funded. In many of the ETS projects as well as other individual and faculty-wide initiatives, digital media was integrated to modernize teaching and learning, make it more flexible and improve it pedagogically. In 2017, RWTH officially formulated its digitalization strategy for teaching.
RWTH Aachen is committed to excellence in teaching. The use of digital technologies is firmly anchored in its teaching strategy in order to help students develop their full potential and specific skills as effectively as possible.
By 2023, RWTH Aachen aims to have an extensive offer of courses, which, when deemed appropriate, are supplemented with digital tools in order to meet students’ needs for flexibility and increase their study success. On the one hand, digital formats will be used to enhance teaching in the classroom and on the other hand, to make it easier for students to autonomously acquire specific skills.
Digital technologies will be an integral part of the teaching and learning environment in all faculties. Studies will be conducted to determine which blended learning formats are most suitable for the individual needs of the students while taking into account the conventions and specific demands of each individual faculty or department. The goal of these studies is to systematically improve the quality of teaching and learning.
RWTH Aachen supports its teaching staff by offering further training on new educational technologies and funding central service units that help with their implementation.
Implementation of the Digitalization Strategy
In order to implement the strategy, the faculties are provided funds to try out various blended learning formats and, if successful, to expand their use.
At the same time, the internal service units, which offer technical and pedagogical media expertise, are supported both financially and in terms of personnel.
Between 2018 and 2023, we will systematically implement the second phase of the digitalization strategy for teaching with the expectation that we will not need a third phase. By the end of 2023, the use of appropriate digital learning materials and methods should be a matter of course at RWTH.
Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University