Professor Petra Morschheuser has developed an innovative teaching project and received a highly-endowed award for this. She sees a lot of potential for the future of teaching.
Professor Morschheuser, what is behind the WissFIT project?
WissFIT is an app that offers students the opportunity to easily deal with the topic of scientific work – in the practice phase, on the train, wherever and whenever.
How did you come up with the idea for this project?
During the on-site lecture> Introduction to scientific work <it became clear to me that the students did not only have heterogeneous learning histories, so some of the listeners knew the content – at least partially. It also became clear that the challenge for the students was to write a scientific exposé, which for most people was not easy and not yet. In the short lecture I had to decide, therefore, how I didactically structure the material so that there is time for students to work on an exposé. Therefore, the learning topics have been integrated in a Web Based Training (WBT), which have to be processed independently. From this division came out the idea, why only on the PC – why not on a smartphone or tablet?
Which weaknesses of conventional classroom teaching can be solved by your project?
The lecture was completely redesigned and combines different didactic forms: classroom teaching, teaching coach, WBT, learning by teaching (LDL) and group puzzle. The student is maneuvered from the consumptive learning attitude of the classical classroom lecture with an instructional lecture into an active role. That’s not always easy, especially in the first semester. Nevertheless, the students deal with a task at an early stage and explain their approach to their fellow students. This trains the structured approach. The WBT and WissFIT help to learn the learning content it needs (WBT) and to repeat it in a targeted manner – in small bites (WissFIT). These learning contents in the WBT and WissFIT are holistically selected and range from tools and tools, which means scientific work to strategies how to approach a work and, not to forget, the formalities including citation.
How do learning processes change in the context of e-learning concepts?
The learning processes of the students require more personal responsibility. You can then deal with the lecture, if individual scheduling offers the suitable place. However, this requires a high degree of self-competence, personal responsibility as well as good time and self-management. These competencies may be sharpened during the course of study.
Your micro-learning units consist of apps. What advantages in the learning process do they have?
First, this follows the trend of the times. Every student today has a smartphone or a tablet. On the other hand, everyone has an individual learning rhythm and can thus deal with the learning topic, then, if just the time or just the best individual time is to repeat or learn. And as we know, the constant repetition helps to remember content long term. In addition, we at the Cooperative State University have practical phases in which the students work in the companies. With WissFIT on the smartphone, the connection to the university remains. It does not need a large infrastructure, if you are looking for an info quickly, because you are currently writing the project work and no longer knows exactly how, for example, the citation was according to the Harvard method.
What hurdles do you see in the nationwide implementation of high-quality blended learning concepts in the European higher education landscape?
There are now several initiatives in Europe, thanks to which the teaching comes more to the fore. In most cases, they are initiatives of foundations or associations. Nevertheless, a university teacher is almost exclusively measured by the professional publications and research achievements he has. Therefore, it is understandable that the commitment will be focused on research. Furthermore, the allocation of credits is still unclear. Online support takes a lot of time. But so far, only parts of a classical Deputatsstunde be billed – more work and less pay , the frustrated in the long run and you return to the timely well calculable lecture.
What new perspectives open up for your project through the sponsorship award?
There are many other colleagues who are idealistic. This network motivates colleagues and me, because part of our free time is spent on these projects. The recognition in their own ranks is only occasionally felt, in part one is even mildly ridiculed. For some Fellows, this award is even a burden, because often dealing with “how can I teach well?” Goes along with> then you’re not a good Prof, because you research too little! <. And that is exactly what should change in Europe! Instead of constantly talking about great research funding, we should strive to promote teaching. After all, the students are our future human capital that we should best promote and challenge, and that requires good teaching. Social acceptance and altered perceptions are what make a good professor stand out – and that’s not just the number of publications in A-journals!