RWTH Professor Simone Paganini Receives State Teaching Award

Simone Paganini is holding up a certificate standing next to Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen Copyright: © MKW 2019

RWTH Professor Simone Paganini was awarded the State Teaching Prize in the category of "Digital Teaching and Learning" in Düsseldorf. Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, NRW Minister for Culture and Science, presented the awards at the Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.


The State Teaching Prize, or “Landeslehrpreis,” was awarded for the first time. The aim is to honor outstanding and innovative achievements in university teaching in five categories. The prizewinners each receive 50,000 euros to continue developing their projects.

Simone Paganini has been Professor of Biblical Theology at Aachen’s University of Excellence since 2013. He was born in 1972 in northern Italy and studied theology, philosophy, and oriental studies in Milan, Florence, Rome, and Innsbruck. He then worked as a research assistant at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

Digitally enabled and supported teaching and learning

For Paganini, it is an absolute necessity to use differentiated digital teaching formats to achieve teaching excellence. He, therefore, combines modern teaching and learning techniques with proven methods. He has published textbooks on this that are also available on the internet. As the first scholar in all of Europe, he developed so-called serious games in the theological field. He also recorded fifty short videos on Old Testament topics, which are accompanying material for lectures and seminars. In an online course he developed, students can learn Old Hebrew. They are taught grammar and syntax, after which they can practice their skills with the help of various tasks and in the end, complete an electronic test. In addition, Paganini designed a digital Micro-Bachelor’s program, unique in the German academic world, where students can acquire missing qualifications for a Master's degree. On this basis, some Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs for short, have also been created, which are accessible on the internet.

RWTH has also honored Paganini for his teaching activities; he has already received the teaching prize of the Faculty of Philosophy three times. RWTH, the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the state of NRW have all supported individual projects with funding.

"The different teaching formats were all based on the realization that it was no longer possible to fully convey the essential subject content in the usual teaching formats. For me, it goes without saying that excellent teaching includes using differentiated digital teaching formats, and that is something that I live, experience and try to communicate on a daily basis. The enthusiasm of the students is also directly related to how the contents are conveyed. Once they have started pursuing knowledge, it motivates them to go further," says Paganini.


Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Minister of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, presented the State Teaching Prize in the "Digital Teaching and Learning" category to RWTH Professor Simone Paganini (right).

Source: Press and Communications