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Information for teaching staff

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Dear teaching staff,

The upcoming winter semester is the second semester to be conducted under coronavirus pandemic conditions. We have to be prepared that many things which we have always taken for granted in teaching will continue to be different in the coming semester.

Applicable legal provisions currently allow us to return to “safe on-site operations”, which are however subject to strict limitations that allow only for some courses to be held on site. Numerous lecture halls have been equipped with technology enabling hybrid course formats and more is to be added in the coming weeks. Online courses will, however, continue to play a significant role in the general outline of winter semester 2020/2021.

Below we have compiled the most important information on teaching. The page will be updated on a regular basis, allowing you to access information from a central repository.

Wishing you and your students a successful semester despite the continuous challenging circumstances.

Karin Holm-Müller
Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning

As teaching staff of the University of Bonn you are also a staff member. We therefore ask you to please familiarize yourself with the "Information for employees". 

(Updated 11/30) Regulations on entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia suspended

The Higher Administrative Court of Münster has suspended the Ordinance on entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that there is currently no obligation to self-quarantine after entering the state from a risk area. Furthermore, however, you are required to register digitally. Please note that new regulations may reverse this decision and reinstate obligatory self-quarantine and digital registration on short notice. You will find relevant information on the MAGS NRW website.

The following rules generally apply: Please bear in mind that certain legal regulations may apply at the time of planning your private trip, which may require you going into quarantine at home upon your return. The period of time you go into quarantine for does not classify as paid working time. Therefore, please carefully check where you plan to take a private trip to and whether it is necessary at this point in time. The German states have respectively implemented regulations requiring quarantining for certain returning travelers, thus knowingly going on private travel to a country subject to a travel warning constitutes a culpable breach of employee sick pay regulations. Such conduct results in a temporary inability to perform work in accordance with § 616 of German Civil Code (BGB), for which the employee would be culpably at fault. Accordingly, the employee forfeits entitlement to sick pay in such case pursuant to § 616 BGB. If work cannot be performed from home, the absence time must either be made up for by forfeiting vacation leave or accrued overtime or unpaid leave must be taken for the period of absence, subject to approval.

(Updated 11/30) Obligatory wearing of mouth and nose covers

Kekule mit Maske

Covering your mouth and nose is obligatory in all University of Bonn indoor areas. This includes lecture halls and seminar rooms. A new Ordinance by MAGS NRW stipulates that mouth and nose must be covered throughout the entire course! Persons who are exempt from obligatory wearing of mouth and nose covers by medical certificate must not attend on-site courses. The Ordinance on overcoming coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 epidemic related challenges posed on university operations (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung) of North Rhine-Westphalia stipulates that mouth and nose covers must be worn without exception.

(Updated 11/11) Teaching and Excursions

On-site teaching continues as scheduled with adherence to the hygiene and protective measures outlined in Circular No. 79/2020. The same applies to the use of libraries and study desks.

Please do not organize or participate in excursions. Where there are no workarounds for excursions in November, these may take place as long as approved hygiene and protection concepts (minimum distance, etc.) are followed. Groups should be kept as small as possible and courses may be divided where applicable.

(Updated 23/10) Traceability

Courses in which the safety distance of 1.5m can be kept are subject to basic traceability (only seats with a green sticker are occupied: 1.5m distance is maintained --> basic traceability applies).The University will be providing documents for this purpose, which all students and staff will be asked to fill out. You must collect the completed documents and place them in the envelopes provided. You then simply put the envelopes in the in-house mail, where the documents are kept for four weeks.

If you do not have enough printed copies at hand, you will find the form as PDF for self-printing in the "Important Documents" section. If you do not have an envelope printed by the university, you can collect the forms in a separate envelope. On the outside of this envelope the following data must be included:

  • Date and time of the event
  • Room name/ learning location
  • Name of the teacher and signature
  • Addressee: Poststelle

Envelopes labeled in this way must be sent to the in-house mail immediately.

The possibility of extended traceability will not be used until further notice. All information on the subject of traceability can be found in Circular 82/2020.

Lecture period in the winter semester

The lecture period of winter semester 2020/2021 starts on October 26, 2020. Only for first-semester students of bachelor’s degree programs and church degree or state examination programs, the start of the lecture period has been postponed to November 02, 2020. The lecture period for all students ends on February 12, 2021.

Courses during “safe on-site operations”

Abstand bei Prüfungen

As things stand at the moment, on-site courses on University premises will be offered in winter semester 2020/2021. The University is bound to and guided by applicable legal provisions when making decisions with regard to on-site courses. Based on current provisions, the responsible University units have developed hygiene concepts that clearly indicate the extent to which on-site courses can be offered. Please also refer to the General Handout for On-site Courses in "save-operations" mode and the corresponding circular 79/2020.

The following rules apply until further notice:

Number of participants

The maximum number of participants per course generally depends on room size and airing conditions. This semester, the maximum number of persons allowed to be in a single room is 50 persons (including teaching staff). For smaller rooms, this number decreases respectively.

The University of Bonn’s Occupational Safety Unit calculated the maximum number of persons (up to 50 persons!) for all lecture halls with fixed seating and created binding seating plans; these were made available to the deans of studies.

For seminar rooms without fixed seating, the following serves as a guide: Size of the room in m² divided by 4 m² = maximum number of persons allowed (including teaching staff). This means that a maximum of 10 persons are allowed in a room of 40 m². Currently each room displays information on size and calculated maximum number of allowed persons.

These restrictions make it clear that the University is not even close to being able to meet the demand for space for all events in winter semester. Bigger events in particular may therefore only be held online, in hybrid format or with alternating groups. 

Airing during on-site courses

All course rooms allow for sufficient airing. This will be done either automatically via a ventilation system or by manually leaving windows ajar and additionally opening doors. You will find all necessary information on airing at the entrance of each course room. After 30 minutes, the room must be thoroughly aired 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).

(Updated 11/02) Contact restrictions

Due to the rapidly increasing infection rates, the Corona Protection Ordinance currently only allows a maximum of 10 people from two households to meet in public. Please be sure to observe these regulations when visiting the university.

Hybrid teaching

To compensate for limitations regarding the number of participants in on-site courses, the University has equipped lecture halls with technology for hybrid teaching formats. In the winter semester, it will therefore be possible to livestream some on-site courses and integrate whiteboard notes into the stream. Mobile units were acquired for the various clusters. Please check with your degree program manager which rooms are equipped with mobile units and what the procedure for borrowing these is.

Online teaching

Hybridlehre

Without online teaching formats, successful completion of the upcoming winter semester would not be possible. To make the transition to this form of teaching easier, the University has extended the following support offers:

e-Campus courses
To support you in the process of preparing for and carrying out digital teaching, the eCampus team has compiled tips and instructions along with lots of useful information. You can also access the "Creating online courses" online tutorial on e-Campus at any time. During the Kickstart-Week taking place October 19 to October 23, you will receive lots of exciting information on the topic of online teaching.

BZH Qualifications
The Bonn Center for Higher Education offers comprehensive advice, support and services for key areas in teaching and studying. All information and contact details are available on the BZH web page.

Access to material

The pandemic brings special restrictions in particular to at-risk persons. Where events which require attendance are only held on site, alternative compensation options shall be offered to students who, due to existing medical conditions, are at risk of a severe development of COVID-19. A corresponding medical certificate must be provided by the student. Upon agreement with the responsible teacher, the examination board may stipulate that, instead of compulsory attendance, certain course work must be completed in order to be admitted to the examination.

Where possible, please offer hybrid teaching formats and/or make material available on e-Campus. This helps students in quarantine and international students who are unable to travel to Germany meet the module requirements.  

Linking of BASIS-courses on e-Campus

As the central linking of all BASIS-registered courses with e-Campus required a considerable amount of corrections in the past semester, as of this semester, responsibility for the linking process lies again with each teaching staff member. Please check with the relevant degree program managers if there are any administrators in your faculty who could help out with the linking of (several) courses.

e-Campus allows you to easily contact your students via email, provide documents and set up forums, etc. You can also upload PowerPoint slides with audio commentary. We would like to particularly encourage first-time users of e-Campus to make use of e-Campus support.

Please distribute further information on your courses as early as possible, also on the electronic course catalogue BASIS and other relevant websites. 

Live online courses/ ZOOM video conferencing system

To facilitate live online courses, the University of Bonn has purchased a great number of Zoom licenses which will complement already established services (Adobe Connect and DFNconf). These allow for holding interactive courses also in bigger groups. If you need support in creating teaching formats using Zoom, please refer to the designated e-Campus web page or contact the University of Bonn ZOOM support via email. Apart from streaming live classes, you can upload material to eCampus (see above) and further discuss these in supported forums, chats or during online consultation hours. On eCampus, you can find relevant instructions and tips.

Applying extensive data protection provisions when using ZOOM is a top priority for the University of Bonn. This includes adjusting numerous system features to our standards. In addition, our Data Protection Officer has issued recommendations for compliance with data protection provisions. These recommendations are continuously updated and adjusted to the current version of the application and service. By doing so, we aim at reducing the IT security and data protection risks associated with the use of Zoom as much as possible. At the same time, we are keeping up a close dialog with the federal and state governments as well as with other universities and higher education institutions in order to find alternative solutions for the future.

Respecting copyright

In light of recent events, the University and State Library Bonn (ULB) would like to point out the effective copyright law: If you would already like to prepare literature for the semester, § 60a of the Copyright Act (UrhG) applies, meaning that approximately 15% of a bigger piece (no upper limit) of literature and complete small pieces (25 pages maximum), pieces that are out of print and individual essays may be provided via eCampus. Many publishers and providers have extended the access to their electronic offers, often even for free. The ULB has compiled information on this.

Frequently asked questions

(Updated 11/03) How does the lack of on-site teaching affect my teaching load?

The crediting for the creation and supervision of multimedia offers as well as for virtually conducted courses must always be in accordance with the LVV (here: Section 4 Para. 6). In light of the exceptional circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic (validity of the "Corona Epidemic University Ordinance" in its current version), teaching hours can be counted as originally planned for on-site teaching.

(New 10/19) Where can I find the results of the student survey on digital teaching?

The results of the student survey can be found on the website of the Center for Evaluation and Methods of the University of Bonn.

(New 09/26) Am I obliged to omsite teaching?

No, there is no obligation to offer onsite teaching this semester. However, the current general conditions do allow face-to-face teaching under the conditions described above. You are free to choose whether you want to teach your course in class, online supported or as a hybrid course.

(New 06/29) Can scholarship holders be used for exam supervision and are they then insured?

In principle, scholarship holders can be used for the supervision of exams. Since they usually work "like employees", they are also insured. This is even more true if the scholarship holders are also otherwise involved in the normal work processes and their activities do not or only slightly differ from the activities of e.g. the employed doctoral students. This results from § 2 (2) SGB VII paragraph 2.

How can I transition to digital teaching in this semester?

The central platform for digital teaching and learning at the University of Bonn is eCampus. All courses listed in the digital course catalog BASIS have been automatically linked to the eCampus platform. On eCampus, you can contact your students, upload the requirements for successful course completion and provide materials and course units. The platform also provides extensive information and training options on digital teaching tools.

I have little experience with eCampus. How can I best approach this?

The eCampus team has already made extensive information on how to use the platform available online. In addition, regularly held webinars and trainings offer an initial overview of how to use the platform. The faculties offer specific support for their respective disciplines (e.g. for tutors). Please contact the respective degree program managers.

I am faced with planning and carrying out an online course for the first time. Where do I start? What do I need to keep in mind and where can I get some inspiration?

The Bonn Center for Higher Education (BZH) is a competent contact for all questions on designing courses. Ms. Siemens and Ms. Kehler will be happy to support you at [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]. Since April 9, 2020 the BZH has also been offering an eCampus course on basic didactics in online teaching, which is open to all University members. In addition, we highly recommend exchanging your digital teaching experiences with colleagues inside and outside the University.

Do I need to record online sessions and provide recordings online?

No, there is no obligation to do so. Should on-site teaching be resumed at some point during the semester, you will, however, need to make sure to provide sufficient digital material for students to individually work on course contents and pass the final examination even though they may–for whatever reason–not be able to participate in on-site courses. This does not automatically imply that you must record digital sessions.

Do I need to stick to the types of course work listed in the module guide or, respectively, the examination regulations or may I introduce types of course work that are more feasible in the current situation?

Introducing alternative forms of course work is generally possible. Please make sure to discuss such changes with the degree program coordinator in advance. All such changes must be approved by the examination board. It is imperative that the qualification objectives defined for the respective module are also achieved with the alternative forms of course work. Section 9.1 has provided all dean's offices with an extensive handout on the topic of examinations. The handout discusses all possible types of examination. Please make sure to involve the examination board when changing types of examination.

Am I obliged to offer digital teaching?

At this point, it is impossible to predict when the University will be able to resume on-site teaching. Therefore, offering digital courses is currently inevitable. These digital courses cannot and do not always need to be perfect at this point. The current situation is also a great chance for you to test new formats with your students.

I cannot carry out my courses this semester. Does this mean that I will need to offer more course units per week in the next semester?

As a rule, all courses should be carried out in the semester for which they were scheduled. Even in lab courses, some learning goals can be achieved using online material. If there is no way to carry out a course, the respective teaching load can be postponed to the next semester in accordance with Section 3 Para. 8 LVV (“Deputatskonten”). Such postponement of courses must be approved by the dean.

What are the consequences for students who cannot participate in digital teaching formats for technical or other reasons?

Students who cannot participate in online courses may apply for a semester on leave. When on leave, students cannot participate in examinations. Technical requirements for participating in digital teaching formats should be as low as possible so that the highest possible number of students can make use of digital offers.

How can I find out if my computer is fit for using Zoom?

Please find all information on system requirements at ZOOM-Website.

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