Karlshochschule switches to digital teaching in record time and inspires students

The administration and the team of professors at the Karlshochschule faced a special challenge. What happens when nothing else works anymore? With the shutting down of public life and the resulting lack of contact, teaching in its usual form was no longer possible. The "worst case" for the "Karls", which was recently named one of the best German universities by the university platform Studycheck. 

Switching from endurance run to sprint 

It was an advantage that the university had been driving the digital transformation for some time. The main reason for this was and still is the fact that there is a large number of international students for whom this creates easier and sustainable access to standardised good education. 

"On our way into the digital future we were overtaken by the corona virus on the right" says Prof. Michael Zerr, President of the Karlshochschule. He added: "Overnight we have brought the transformation process up to one hundred percent. Now we are not only ready to master the corona crisis, but also completely fit for the digital future of teaching". 

After the first cases of corona were reported in Munich at the end of January, a task force at the Karlshochschule immediately started work on the technical implementation, while a second group dealt with online didactics and the sensible conversion of all teaching offerings. This made it possible to seamlessly switch the summer semester, which began at Karlshochschule on March 1, to online operation starting March 16. 

A total of 88 teaching modules are offered. Here, the respective students meet with their professors or lecturers during the known lecture times. A didactically meaningful combination of live elements (synchronous teaching) and self-study (asynchronous teaching) is used. The didactics were adapted to the extensive possibilities of the digital environment. The Karlshochschule relies on a combination of online presentations, interactive group work, electronic whiteboards, brainstorming, video chat, discussions, quizzes and gamification (playful learning). The team software from Microsoft, the Platform Moodle and interactive tools such as Padlet, Miro and Mentimeter are used. 

Offer is very well received 

The new offer is very well received by the students. As a rule, 70 to 100 percent take up the offer. But professors also see many advantages, says Prof. Dr. Stephan A. Jansen, Head of the Center Philanthropy and Civil Society (PhiCS) Chair of Management, Innovation and Finance at the Karlshochschule: "This is more intensive than before: everyone is on time, silent stars appear in chats; models, theories, studies can be introduced in multimedia situations... Real time. Faster than in a seminar room. PowerPoint was yesterday!" 

In the meantime, Karlshochschule has been selected by Chancen e.G. as one of three pioneers in the field of digital higher education. Since its foundation in 2016, CHANCEN eG has made it its mission to enable young people to study at a non-governmental university in exactly the way they want, regardless of their financial means. 

The Karlshochschule is not only prepared for the time during the Corona Pandemic. The new online services will also be used intensively after that time and, as a "flipped classroom" and "blended learning", will contribute to a further sustainable improvement in teaching. Everyone praises the 'crisis and opportunity management' of the Karlshochschule very highly, as Mona Frühauf, on behalf of the student representatives, confirms. 

"As difficult as the crisis is on the one hand, it is also an enormous driver of innovation on the other", says Michael Zerr and adds: "As an international university, we see in it the opportunity to offer education without limits. This corresponds to our mission statement in which social responsibility is one of the guiding principles.” 

Convince yourself of some of the methods and approaches of the university on April 29, 2020 starting at 5 pm CET at the Karls360° Experience, an international online information day for those interested in the bachelor courses. Whether chat or livestream, direct interaction with our professors and students gives an insight into the current online study. 

Official press release