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

Information about Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is set to continue over the coming weeks and months, affecting all aspects of our lives including your teaching. The University of Bonn prioritizes the safety of its members, but is also doing everything in its power to enable students to continue with their studies. This website provides all the necessary information to enable teachers to deal with a volatile situation and maintain their teaching.


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”.

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

Circular 59/2021 provides information on the changes brought about by the current Corona Protection Ordinance and the impact on examinations, teaching and practical courses, coronatests, library operations, home office, staff meetings and approvals by the Rectorate.

The number of teaching and practical courses held must still be kept to the absolute mini-mum required during the current semester. Necessary courses and on-site examinations require proof of a negative test for everyone attending the event in question. People with-out proof of a negative test will not be able to take part in teaching and practical courses or examinations. Only people with immunity (those who have recovered from or been fully vaccinated against the virus at least 14 days ago) will not need to take a test if they provide proof of their immune status.

The current COVID-19 regulations and the General Order from the Ministry of Work, Health and Social Affairs contain hygiene rules establishing the safe conduct of courses and examinations conducted on-site, in order to enable their realization in this form at universities in NRW.

Any courses or examinations to be held on-site on the basis of these regulations require approval from the Rectorate. The Rectorate has decided that courses, examination preparation sessions and examinations themselves should assume a digital form wherever possible. Details regarding the exceptions to this rule are provided on the University Intranet in circulars 12/2021 and 09/2021. University members can access the Intranet via Bonnet or VPN tunnel.

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. It is not yet clear whether such hybrid teaching courses will be provided in summer semester 2021.

*The University of Bonn currently does not provide any on-site teaching*

Courses in which participants are able to maintain a safe distance (1.5 m) from others are subject to a simple contact tracing procedure. Each person sits at the places marked with green stickers. More densely arranged seating patterns (the seats are marked with an orange sticker) will not be used until further notice.

To ensure simple contact tracing, the University provides forms which must be completed by all course participants and collected by teaching staff at the end of the course. The forms are to be placed in the envelope with which you will be provided. Record the information about the course on the envelopes (see below) and place them in the inhouse mail. The forms will be stored for four weeks.

Additional forms can be printed from this PDF template available here. Should you not have received any labeled envelopes, you can use a plain envelope.

Record the following details on the outside of the envelope:

  • Date and time of the course
  • Room name / location
  • Teacher’s name and signature
  • Recipient: University mail room (Poststelle)

Then submit the labeled envelope to the inhouse mail immediately. All information about contact tracing is provided in Circular 82/2020 (available on the Intranet).

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.

The pandemic has curtailed the freedoms of us all, but subjects vulnerable persons to special restrictions. In the event that courses with an attendance requirement are held on-site only, students with pre-existing medical conditions who are required to shield will be given the opportunity to complete tasks in lieu of attendance. The student must submit a corresponding medical certificate to qualify for this option. 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 stipulated by the examination regulations as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations.

Wherever possible, we would request that you offer hybrid teaching formats and/or make material available on eCampus. This will enable students in quarantine and international students who are unable to travel to Germany meet the module requirements. 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 stipulated by the examination regulations as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations.

The opening hours of student-relevant areas of the main building and of the AVZ III building will be extended as of March 22, 2021. The new hours will be 8 am to 6 pm. The main building can only be accessed via the following entrances: Tor Arkadenhof, the entrance at the Acquisitions section and the entrance to the corridor of the cafeteria and the entrance to the Etscheidhof with access to Lecture hall 1.The opening hours of decentrally administered buildings are to be set by the respective responsible managing directors or other managers.

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.

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.

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, term papers in lieu of written examinations and (in exceptional cases) on-site examinations are currently being deployed in order to ensure that students can continue to sit examinations.

Examinations

The Rectorate has issued a handout for teachers outlining the regulations issued to ensure student safety before, during and after an examination. Please comply with all the specifications to ensure the best possible level of protection for yourself and others. An additional handout for students has also been drawn up.

The number of teaching and practical courses held must still be kept to the absolute mini-mum required during the current semester. Necessary courses and on-site examinations require proof of a negative test for everyone attending the event in question. People with-out proof of a negative test will not be able to take part in teaching and practical courses or examinations. Only people with immunity (those who have recovered from or been fully vaccinated against the virus at least 14 days ago) will not need to take a test if they provide proof of their immune status.

The University has collected all the current regulations pertaining to the conduct of online examinations in the new “Teaching Digitally” portal on eCampus. Here, you can access all the relevant documents, guidelines and regulations pertaining to online examinations. For example, the portal provides further information about the aids which are permitted for use in examinations and the recommended procedure for online examinations.

Technical difficulties experienced during online-supported examinations can result in considerable disadvantage to those suffering their consequences. In response, the University authorities have granted examination candidates extensive rights to withdraw from examinations. They can withdraw from a written examination up to the point of its submission. This withdrawal will not be counted as an unsuccessful attempt.

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.

Students completing their final thesis in winter semester 2020/21 and/or summer semester 2021, will be granted a 14-day extension to their deadline. The deadline will end on the 14th day of this extension at the time originally determined for the original deadline. If no time was established for submission of the thesis, it can be handed in by midnight of the 14th day of the extension.

Students completing a term paper, project report, seminar paper or a comparable text in winter semester 2020/21 and/or summer semester 2021, for which a multi-week completion period with a specific submission date has been specified, will be granted a 14-day extension.

In deviation from § 7 para. 4 sentence 1 of the Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung, students who have sat but failed to pass an examination in summer semester 2020 or winter semester 2020/21 will be granted an additional repeat attempt. This applies to every examination sat in the semesters specified, but once only. Sentence 1 does not apply to examinations which have been declared to have been the subject of misconduct. Candidates enrolled in a teaching master's degree program who have sat an examination within the scope of a practical semester but have failed to pass it will, in deviation to sentence 1 and § 7 para. 4 sentence 1 and 3 of the Ordinance on overcoming coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 epidemic related challenges (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung), be granted the opportunity to revise both components of the examination within a period of four weeks.

A

Abstand/ Distance

H

Händehygiene/ Hand hygiene

A

Masken/ Masks

+

L

Lüften/ Ventilation

Hygiene Requirements

Even if on-site teaching and examinations are currently organized in exceptional cases only, situations can arise - for example during an on-site examination covered by the exceptions - which require the on-campus presence of members of the teaching staff. Should you be required to attend campus, please familiarize yourself with the regulations relating to on-campus behavior issued by the State of NRW and the City of Bonn..

A student is disinfecting their hands at a disinfection station placed in front of an entrance to a university building. Two further students wearing masks are walking towards the building whilst maintaining a distance from each other.
© Universität Bonn/ Volker Lannert

Hygiene

Traveling to and entering Germany from so-called virus mutation regions, i.e. regions with a particularly high rate of coronavirus mutations21, is currently prohibited in accordance with the Corona Entry Ordinance (CoronaEinreiseV).

This also applies to individuals who have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Exceptions can only be made in very rare cases, e.g. when the person in question is a German resident or has a German residence permit. (More information22)

This means that study and research stays in Germany during winter semester 2021/2022 can currently not be guaranteed for students and researchers from virus mutation regions. Please note that entering Germany from a virus mutation region is not possible even if a German university has previously confirmed admission. With entry to Germany prohibited, visa cannot be issued as long as your home country is listed as a virus mutation region.

Please regularly check your home country’s risk status.

Please note that the rules governing all on-site courses and examinations conducted at the University of Bonn require that participants wear a medical face mask (without breathing valve). The University of Bonn will provide medical face masks (surgical masks) for the individual sessions. When on the outside areas of a University campus, please make sure that you wear a mask at times when it proves impossible to maintain the prescribed safety distance from others. Such situations may also be subject to separate regulations issued by the City of Bonn, which require citizens to wear a mask on public open spaces and streets in the town.

Keep the mask with which you have been issued and wear it on your journey home and then dispose of it in the domestic waste. If you would prefer not to wear the used mask on your journey home, please dispose of it in the waste bins marked for used masks only.

A distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained to all persons in University of Bonn buildings. All rooms have been prepared to facilitate such social distancing practices; you will find stickers on your seats providing the corresponding information.

Please maintain social distancing (1.5 m) from others on outside areas of the University campuses - for example when lining up at entrances.

Disinfectant dispensers have been set up in front of all entrances to University buildings to facilitate entry. Please apply disinfectant to your hands before entering University buildings. We recommend that you wash your hands with soap and water at regular intervals.

All seminar rooms and lecture halls allow for sufficient airing. This will be performed either automatically using a ventilation system or by manually by opening windows and doors. Information about good ventilation practice will be displayed at the entrance to every room. The room must be thoroughly aired every 30 minutes during a break of approx. five minutes (ideally through cross-ventilation, i.e. opening opposite windows and doors; otherwise through impact ventilation, i.e. opening all windows). Impact ventilation time: 10 minutes in summer, 5 minutes in spring/fall, 3 minutes in winter (outside temperature < 6 °C).

Please familiarize yourself with the “handout for teachers”; it provides detailed information about the procedure applied to on-site examinations.


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

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.

The planning and supervision of multimedia teaching applications and the teaching of virtual courses must be recognized in accordance with LVV (here: § 4 para. 6). During the exceptional circumstances of a “Corona semester” (a semester in which the Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung applies) recognition can be given in accordance with the originally planned course units per week for on-site teaching.

The results of the student survey are published on the web pages of the Center for Evaluation and Methodology of the University of Bonn.

No. Members of the teaching staff are not required to offer on-site teaching this semester. The current legal provisions and social distancing concepts drawn up by the University do however permit teachers to offer on-site teaching. Members of the teaching staff can choose whether to offer their courses on-site or in online-supported or hybrid form.

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.

The "Creating Online Courses" online tutorial provided on eCampus is the best starting point. The Bonn Center for Higher Education (BZH) also provides a range of good advice and assistance in this matter. Christina Siemens and Barbara Kehler are your dedicated contact partners in this matter. Please contact them by email. The BZH launched an eCampus course focusing on the principles of digital teaching on 4/9/2020. It is open to all members of the University teaching staff. We would encourage you to network with colleagues, both within and outside the University to discuss various approaches to online teaching.

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.

Although safe forms of on-site teaching are possible, the University is unable to perform all teaching in this form. The use of digital courses is unavoidable. Digital teaching cannot and indeed must not be perfect. Nevertheless, the current situation provides the perfect opportunity to try out new forms of teaching.

Wherever possible, all courses should be offered in the semester in which they were originally foreseen. Even laboratory courses can make at least partial use of online materials. Should this prove to be impossible you can postpone the teaching duties affected to next semester. This is covered by § 3 para. 8 LVV ("Deputatskonten"). Such a postponement requires the approval of the dean.

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.

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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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