Succeeding together: Macromedia students honor Online-Semester

On July 29, 2020, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences ended its examination phase for the summer semester 2020 on schedule – as it had started on March 16, 2020, despite the lockdown. All courses have been fully completed or replaced by modules from later semesters. This enabled Macromedia students to achieve all ECTS and continue their studies without interruption. Student representatives and university management are now jointly recapitulating the past four months.

"I was very much aware that this semester would not be like any other. But while many universities accepted the lockdown rather powerlessly, a very hands-on approach prevailed at Macromedia," said Paul Paulick, the nationwide representative of Macromedia students. "To be honest, not everything worked out at first as we had imagined. We had to overcome several hurdles together. In the process, however, a great solidarity evolved among students and teachers. During the semester, we student representatives were able to build a great basis of trust with the teachers. So we are now looking forward to the coming winter semester with confidence and a lot of drive."

Paul Paulick is the nationwide representative of Macromedia students. Together with his deputy Maja Stock and his deputy Timon Hendrik Urbanek, he has been in constant communication with the crisis managers of Macromedia University since the beginning of the Corona crisis. As a member of the Corona Task Force, Paul Paulick took part in the decision-makers’ meetings, which were initially held daily and then weekly as the semester progressed.

"During the past semester, the feedback from student representatives has been incredibly important to us. How are the students coping with the online courses? How stable are they mentally? The student representatives were ideal seismographs into the student body. They have always provided very important impulses for our activities", said Prof. Dr. Dr. Castulus Kolo, President of the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences.

Working in a team: Good grades for online tools

Overall, the students awarded excellent marks for the crisis management of the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences. This became apparent in the evaluation of the online semester. Nevertheless, they were exhausted at the end of the semester. "The switch to online teaching posed a great challenge for most students," the student representatives reported. "One is simply differently exhausted if one looks at the screen all day, and every student coped differently." However, this insecurity has been compensated by many positive experiences from the online courses. "In addition, the student body came up with a number of ideas to make the time in front of the screen enjoyable and social: for example, online tournaments and parties with live DJs were held," the student representatives added.  

Something else was perceived by the students, too: Some activities work even better with the collaborative online tools than in the classroom. This is also emphasized by the Vice President of Teaching, Prof. Ute Masur: "After the crisis management at the beginning of the semester, we were able to quickly focus on the opportunities of this extraordinary situation. Both lecturers and students can look back on a steep learning curve. We have gathered this experience through detailed monitoring of the courses and are evaluating it for the further development of our teaching".

Contactless end of the semester: Open book exams for competence-oriented teaching

The semester has now ended largely without contact. The oral exams took place via video chat, the submission of project work via a newly configured exam server, and exams as open book formats. For the winter semester, the university is planning to use hybrid forms of teaching. The newly integrated online and self-learning components can be scaled as required, so that the university can react to all gradations of a possible second lock-down.

"Nobody wants to go back to the emergency online mode," explains University President Kolo. "At the same time, we are convinced that hybrid teaching/learning formats provide our students with optimal support in practicing key future skills and prepare them excellently for the social and professional realities of a global, digitized world".