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Survey: How did your digital semester go?

Until the end of July 2020, teachers at the University of Freiburg have the opportunity to give their feedback on the unusual study operations this summer semester

Freiburg, Jul 17, 2020

Livestream and digital office hours instead of seminars and discussions on site: Due to the corona pandemic, all courses at the University of Freiburg had to be held online at short notice in the 2020 summer semester. After just under three months, the department “Quality Management Studies and Teaching” wants to draw a few conclusions. The team is asking students and lecturers how they experienced the digital semester - what went well, where did things go awry, what should they keep in mind for the coming winter semester? The student survey has been running since the end of June 2020; the teacher survey recently started as well. In an interview with Kristin Schwarz, Natalie Boros explains why feedback from teachers is indispensable for organizing future courses of study.

First interim results of the survey show that students appreciate the advantages of online lectures. Photo: Klaus Polkowski

Ms. Boros, The University of Freiburg recently started interviewing teachers about the digital semester. Why exactly?

Natalie Boros: The transition from the usual classroom teaching to the digital semester was very rapid without any foreseeable lead time, which placed great demands on the teachers and increased their workload accordingly. With this survey, the University of Freiburg would like to learn more about the past months from the teachers' perspective. We call on everyone to participate in the survey. With their answers, the teachers can actively contribute to making the coming digital winter semester run more smoothly. The more precisely we know what worked well and what the greatest challenges were, the better the University can eliminate stumbling blocks and increase the program's potential.

How is the survey designed?

The questionnaire consists of five blocks and can be answered conveniently by computer or terminal equipment. The whole thing takes about ten minutes. For comparison purposes, the content of the questions is based on the student survey launched in June. We are interested in how teaching has changed since the onset of the corona pandemic, what formats teachers have used to implement their courses and how satisfied they are with them. We would also like to know more about their plans for the winter semester and their professional situation. The last point refers to general satisfaction and whether the teachers felt sufficiently supported during the transition in the past few months.

“The teachers can actively contribute to making the coming digital winter semester smoother with their responses,” says Natalie Boros.
Photo: Sandra Meyndt

Do the answers allow conclusions to be drawn about individual teachers?

No. We can't deduce who answered in which way. Nor will we compare, for example, individual departments, male and female or internal and external teachers. Our aim is to take a comprehensive view of the overall situation and thus to ensure and further develop the quality of teaching and studies. We have also coordinated the survey with the staff council and the University's data protection officer.

How and where will the survey results be published?

There will be an overall report, which will be published before the fall of 2020. We will point this out on our department’s website and also report on it in the “Teaching notebook.” For 2021 we are also planning a closed meeting with teachers, administrative staff, service and technology as well as students, at which we will present and discuss the results. There, the various players will have the opportunity to talk to each other and identify further potential for optimization.

Can you already provide an interim report about the student survey?

So far, almost 30 percent of the students have taken part. From the free-text answers we can see that many things have worked out well in the new situation. The teachers' high level of commitment and the advantages of digital lectures were positively highlighted. For example, that live recordings can be stored. Nevertheless, the majority would like to see a rapid return to classroom events and miss contact with teachers and their peer groups.


Get involved in ten minutes

All teachers were informed of the survey by the respective department deans by e-mail. The message contains a link that leads to the survey. If you have any questions or difficulties, teachers can also contact the Central Questionnaire Team directly by e-mail.

Teacher survey