Teaching Successfully during the Pandemic
Information for Members of the Teaching Staff

Information about Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been significantly impacting our daily lives and studies at the university. However, also thanks to the progress being made with regard to vaccination among the population, recent developments also created new freedom for university teaching. As governmental regulations have been eased, the University of Bonn is able to stronger focus on in-person events in the summer semester. Of course, the University of Bonn continues to prioritize the safety of its members against a coronavirus infection. Information on which regulations will apply in the coming semester is available here.

Information for Members of Staff and Important Documents

As a member of the teaching staff, you are an employee of the University of Bonn. Please consult the web pages Information for employees and Important Documents.

Summer Semester 2022

Most of the legal provisions introduced to combat the coronavirus have expired as things stand. Like other universities in North Rhine-Westphalia and across Germany, the University of Bonn is returning to in-person teaching for the summer semester. The main focus is once again on event formats organized on site. However, hybrid or online teaching may also be offered in the areas where this is possible.

The faculties are engaged in regular dialogue with University management and will adjust their plans if need be. Regardless of any binding legal regulations, the Rectorate is advising people to continue limiting personal contact and taking the same familiar hygiene measures when on site as a precautionary measure. In particular, medical or FFP2 masks should still be worn when moving about inside a room, in corridors, etc.

A view into the main auditorium from the stage. A number of tables spaced apart in the main auditorium at which students are sitting, waiting to start their examination.
© Universität Bonn/Volker Lannert

Examinations

The University of Bonn has implemented a number of measures designed to permit the holding of university examinations. Online-supported written examinations and on-site examinations are currently being deployed in order to ensure that students can continue to sit examinations.

Examinations (updated May 05)

The resolution by the University of Bonn Rectorate addresses additional matters concerning examinations, basing upon the University Ordinance on the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Epidemic (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung – CEHVO). The Rectorate resolution can be read here. The comments below are summarizing the key points of the resolution. In case of doubt please refer directly to the resolution text!

University examinations to be conducted in-person under the respective applicable examination regulations will, as a rule, be conducted in-person. These may however be conducted online or via electronic communications as decided by the examination board in coordination with the respective examiners, the persons responsible for the module and/or the degree program coordinators, in deviation from existing regulations. Online examinations may only be conducted via web conferencing services and/or online tools which have been approved by the Rectorate. (see also § 7)

Exam takers shall not suffer detriment due to technical problems affecting online examinations they are taking for which they are not themselves responsible. In case of minor technical problems, an examination may be suspended to be continued at a later point, if possible. In case of a significant disruption, the affected exam is canceled to be repeated at the next examination date. Technical problems must be reported immediately and documented, even if only poor image or sound quality is concerned. (see § 7 (5))

In a manner similar to how regular in-person written examinations are supervised, online exam takers may be subject to supervision (by mobile phone camera, for example) when dialing in via the web conference service/online tool specified in the appointment announcement. Video supervision must be set up in such a way to avoid impinging the personal sphere of privacy of exam takers any more than necessary for legitimate supervision purposes. Examination supervisors are prohibited from saving and/or retaining the video data of exam takers. Automated evaluation of image or sound data gathered in video supervision is prohibited. To establish test taker identity, the respective supervisor visually cross-checks face with photo ID. Data not absolutely required in order to establish identity may be rendered unreadable. (see § 8 (2))

The compulsory attendance requirements for in-person classes are regulated under the respective examination regulations. Where the applicable examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, compulsory attendance also applies for the online course held as substitute for that course. For courses for which compulsory attendance applies under the examination regulations, the examination board may, in consultation with the respective instructors, define course requirements as prerequisite for taking the examination replacing the attendance requirement. (see also § 10 (1))

If a candidate is able to demonstrate that they are unable to sit a module examination in its intended form on grounds for which they are not responsible and which have developed in conjunction with the Coronavirus-SARS-Cov-2 pandemic—in particular due to an increased risk of a serious case of COVID-19 following an infection on the grounds of pre-existing conditions (requires a medical certificate)—and that they are suffering especial hardship as a result, the examination board can approve a written application to sit the examination in a different (but adequate) form. A case of especial hardship results in particular if the situation which the student is able to demonstrate prevents the immediate completion of their studies (which would otherwise be possible) or that their studies would be delayed by a semester. (see § 12)

For examinations in summer semester 2022, the respective examination regulations apply with regard to cancellation, withdrawal and default.

The provisions governing repeating an exam per the applicable examination regulations govern. The above does not apply if there is mandatory registration for repeated exams when such is not typically required. (see § 7 (3))

Please note that differing regulations may apply regarding the above degree programs. For further information see the Rectorate’s Resolution § 1 (4).

The Federal Government COVID-19 Warning App

We recommend that students download and make use of the COVID-19 warning app provided by the German Federal Government to facilitate contact tracing. This enables you to find out whether you are at increased risk of developing an infection and at the same time, protect others.

Teaching

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a considerable impact on the teaching operations of the University, the considerable efforts of all involved have meant that teaching could continue to the greatest possible extent. A number of different regulations have been issued during the course of the pandemic; we should like to provide an overview of the rules currently in force.

Students wearing masks are sitting socially distanced in a lecture hall. A camera on a stand is visible in the background.
© Volker Lannert/ Universität Bonn

Teaching

The University has expanded the following support services to help you get started with digitally-supported teaching:

e-Campus Courses
The eCampus team has established the “Teaching Digitally” portal which provides guidance, special tips and a range of information to assist you in the preparation and realization of digital teaching. You can also access the "Creating Online Courses" online tutorial on e-Campus at any time. The training packages for summer semester 2021 are published here.

BZH Qualifications
The Bonn Center for Higher Education (BZH) provides comprehensive advice, support and services to assist you in performing key tasks in teaching and studying. All information and contact details are provided on the BZH web pages.

Principle Considerations
Completion of the forthcoming summer semester will require the use of online-supported teaching forms. The University of Bonn uses the online teaching and learning platform eCampus to provide access to teaching materials (texts, tasks, etc.). Further information about the courses is provided in BASIS, the University electronic course catalog and on the faculty websites. Teaching staff can link courses registered in BASIS with an eCampus course. This means that students who have registered for a course in BASIS are usually also automatically registered in the respective eCampus course.

Students will attempt to contact members of the teaching staff by email; please check your University of Bonn email account regularly or set an automatic forwarding service to your personal email account to facilitate communication. Instructions are provided on the HRZ support page.

As the centralized procedure to link courses registered in BASIS with eCampus required considerable correction in previous semesters, responsibility for the linking process was given to the teaching staff in winter semester 2020/2021. Please check with the relevant degree program managers to ask whether your faculty has appointed administrators to perform this task (for several) courses.

eCampus facilitates communication between students and staff via email, allows you to upload documents and enables the setup of forums and much more. You can also upload PowerPoint slides with audio commentary. We encourage the use of the eCampus support services, especially if you are first-time user.

Please circulate further information about your courses as early as possible and do not forget to use the electronic course catalog BASIS and other relevant websites.

The University has equipped lecture halls with technology to enable hybrid teaching formats in order to compensate for the participation restrictions to which on-site attendance is subject. Last winter semester, teaching performed on-site was made available online via livestream with integrated whiteboard notes.

The University of Bonn has purchased a large number of Zoom licenses to enable live digital teaching. Zoom can be used with established software such as Adobe Connect and DFNconf. This enables interactive teaching in courses with a large number of participants. Assistance in the use of Zoom in University teaching is provided on a dedicated web page on e-Campus; alternatively you can contact the University of Bonn ZOOM support via email.

The University of Bonn accords the highest priority to comprehensive data protection during ZOOM sessions. To this end, we have made a number of adjustments to the system functions to ensure that they satisfy our standards. The University of Bonn Data Protection Officer has issued recommendations to ensure data-protection compliant use of this software. These recommendations are subject to continuous update and adjustment to the current version of the service. This enables us to reduce the IT security and data protection risks associated with the use of Zoom. We maintain ongoing consultation with the federal and state authorities and other universities and institutions of higher education in order to develop alternative solutions for the future.

Following consultation with the course teacher, the examination board can stipulate that the completion of certain study achievements can be substituted for an attendance requirement as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations. If the examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, this requirement also applies if the course is held online. To verify attendance, you can ask students to register at each online session using their real names or at least a pseudonym known to you. It is possible to verify attendance without the students’ cameras being switched on.

As teachers do not like addressing a series of black squares, students have been urged to activate their cameras wherever possible in order to facilitate a profitable exchange between students and teachers and to contribute to a constructive atmosphere in the seminar. Students and teachers concerned about their privacy can generate virtual background pictures as a method of protecting their privacy.

Students are not obliged to switch on their cameras. Please bear in mind that some students have good reason not to switch on their cameras, and choosing to do so should always be an option.

In light of recent events, the University and State Library Bonn (USL) would like to point out the requirements of copyright law: If you would like to begin preparing literature for the semester now, § 60a of the Copyright Act (UrhG) applies. This means that you are permitted to upload approximately 15% of a large text (no upper limit), an entire small text (max. 25 pages), out of print texts and individual essays to eCampus. Many publishers and providers have extended access to their electronic publications, often free-of-charge. The USL has compiled further information about this matter.

A

Abstand/ Distance

H

Händehygiene/ Hand hygiene

A

Masken/ Masks

+

L

Lüften/ Ventilation


Questions and Answers

We constantly receive questions about teaching during the pandemic. We have provided answers to a number of frequently asked questions here.

FAQ

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Corona Test and Quarantine Ordinance regulate how infected people and persons who have come into contact with an infected person are to behave. 

Students are asked to inform respective teaching staff of face-to-face events about the infection. The teaching staff informs occupational safety, which explains further possible steps.

University employees should contact their managers. They inform occupational safety and provide information about further possible steps.

Anyone who has been in contact with a person infected with Corona has the right to be tested. This also includes contacts that are displayed by the red overlay in the Corona-Warn App. The warning message in the app serves as proof for the test center (or the family doctor). However, it is not mandatory to carry out a test if the Corona warning app is red. But we strongly recommend it. 

Free citizen tests are currently available. Employees can also take a test via the test center on the Poppelsdorf campus. Find further information about this on the intranet.

Following consultation with the course teacher, the examination board can stipulate that the completion of certain study achievements can be substituted for an attendance requirement as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations. If the examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, this requirement also applies if the course is held online. To verify attendance, you can ask students to register at each online session using their real names or at least a pseudonym known to you. It is possible to verify attendance without the students’ cameras being switched on.

As teachers do not like addressing a series of black squares, students have been urged to activate their cameras wherever possible in order to facilitate a profitable exchange between students and teachers and to contribute to a constructive atmosphere in the seminar. Students and teachers concerned about their privacy can generate virtual background pictures as a method of protecting their privacy.

Students are not obliged to switch on their cameras. Please bear in mind that some students have good reason not to switch on their cameras, and choosing to do so should always be an option.

Scholarship recipients can be deployed as proctors for written examinations. As they usually work on the same basis as University employees, they are also covered by the University insurance. This applies especially if scholarship recipients are usually integrated in conventional routines and are given identical or similar tasks to e.g. employed doctoral students. This derives from § 2 (2) SGB VII para. 2.

The eCampus team has already placed a large amount of information relating to the use of the platform online. We recommend that beginners start with the "Creating Online Courses" online tutorial provided on eCampus; this outlines a range of digital teaching scenarios and provides a number of tips and tricks for getting started. The support team also provides a number of webinars and other forms of training on a regular basis, which provide a good overview of the functions of the platform. The faculties also provide assistance relating to the use of eCampus in your particular discipline (e.g. via. eTutor:innen). Please consult your degree program manager.

No, there is no requirement to do this. You do however, need to provide sufficient digital material to enable persons who are themselves unable, for whatever reason, to participate in on-site courses, which would enable them to work independently to prepare sufficiently to sit and pass the examination. This does not equate to a requirement to record courses.

In principle, it should be possible to use different forms of study achievement to those specified in the module guide or examination regulations. Before doing so however, it is important that you consult with the degree program coordinator. The use of different forms of study achievement requires the approval of the examination board. It is important that the new form of study achievement enables students to attain the qualification targets of the module in question. Section 9.1 has sent a comprehensive handout focusing on the topic of examinations to the dean's office, in which all possible forms of examination are examined in detail. The examination board must be consulted before making any changes to the mode of examination.

The representative for students with disabilities, Marion Becker, has assembled a large amount of information about barrier-free teaching together with advice and assistance in this matter (a link has not been provided due to the current relaunch of the web presence).

Should students find it impossible to participate in online teaching, they have the right to a semester on leave. Students on leave are however not able to sit examinations. We would request that you minimize the technical requirements for participation in digital courses so as to maximize levels of student participation.

Further Information about COVID-19

Main page

Return to the homepage, from where you can navigate to a range of subpages.

Information for Members of Staff

Here you will find the most important regulations for members of the University staff.

Important Documents

All the important documents relevant to university operations during the pandemic are available here.

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