Professor Aloys Krieg


Vice-Rector for Teaching and Learning, RWTH Aachen University

Prof. Dr. Aloys Krieg Copyright: © Peter Winandy

Should we return to full live courses after the pandemic, continue to offer online-only teaching, or do hybrid teaching?

The future certainly lies in hybrid courses. It is important that courses have virtual formats in addition to face-to-face formats. In this way, we can take into account the different interests of students, which are influenced, for example, by work, raising children, caring for family, or stays abroad.

It is essential to analyze and define the pedagogical character of the course and the competencies to be taught in advance in order to be able to choose the best format. Live courses are more suitable for courses involving lots of discussions, whereas purely online teaching should be considered more for certain basic subjects or additional requirements.

Which teaching formats would you like to see online, which ones in personal settings?

When it comes to technical equipment in practical training, face-to-face teaching is crucial. Offering courses on more theoretical topics online would also strengthen international visibility. Face-to-face formats are essential for the initial study stage since experience shows that (so far) this is the only way to achieve social integration, which is quite essential for study success.

Large courses where interaction can also be achieved via virtual tools and/or whose content is rather rigid are predestined for online formats, whereas smaller offerings with very dynamic content are better suited for face-to-face teaching.

Your vision: What should the successor model of a traditional lecture look like that integrates research and "doing" (no matter whether in presence or online)?

I would like to see an entry project and more application in the general fundamental modules everywhere in engineering, so that students realize early on what the goal of the degree program should be. During studies, after the theoretical basics, I could imagine stronger project orientation that offers interdisciplinary problem-based learning in a hands-on manner and thus addresses problems from the real working world or enables smaller research activities.

Will lecturers still be needed in ten years' time or will AI/robots be enough to keep teaching?

AI/robots cannot replace lecturers, but can certainly relieve them of some tasks. Routine tasks and skills can perhaps be assigned to the machine with AI. Assistance systems can help lecturers make the intensity of the content taught as well as the tasks in the examinations more targeted and competence-oriented. Instructors will take on the role of a personal coach to a greater extent and be able to respond more to the individual needs of students.

Greater consideration of learning analytics, and thus AI/robot-assisted management of learning opportunities and processes, can enable individualized teaching for individual students, leading more students to graduation at an individualized pace.

A number of demands are coming from industry and society as to what universities should include in their curricula in the future. If studies are not to be extended, one must also ask what we will no longer need in the future. Do you have any suggestions?

Studies must be organized such that they are more competency-oriented. Routines that are available online at any time will be less important in teaching knowledge. However, we need to convey an understanding of what is going on behind the routines, and we need to place more emphasis on the assessment of learning outcomes. Teaching should reduce the elements of the "one-size-fits-all" approach and be more tailored to the personal profile, skills, and inclinations of the individual student.