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Coronavirus – Update: Planning winter semester 2020/21

Important aspects for the upcoming semester.

COVID19-Update 9.7.2020

The examination situation requires a lot of coordination. The last few months have been an example of the excellent cooperation between the different departments of our university.

From a current perspective, it is not possible to predict what the situation will be like in the winter semester 2020. It is a fact that distance rules and hygiene measures will still have to be observed and that tightening of the measures can come into force again at any time.

These circumstances make it necessary to plan the winter semester 2020 with foresight. At the current time, we are assuming that the maximum available lecture hall capacity will be half that of the previous year.

The following aspects must be taken into account:

  • In order to give new students a good start into university life at TU Wien, we want to give them the opportunity to attend as many course units as possible in classroom format.
  • Distance Learning will also be necessary in the winter semester
  • Not all courses can be completed in a pure distance learning format, at least parts of them must be held in presence.
  • Some courses can only be held in attendance (e.g. laboratory exercises).
  • Examinations, especially large examination dates, must be offered in attendance if no online examination is possible or useful.

This results in the following concept for the implementation of the winter semester 2020:

  • All courses that can be completed in a Distance Learning Format are to be converted to this effect. Support for the creation of teaching videos as well as for the rescheduling of courses will be provided centrally. Recordings via Lecture Tube are already possible in summer.
    A catalogue of concepts (flipped classroom, online arithmetic exercises, etc.) will be made available by the end of July at the latest and training and support will be offered. There will be a separate mailing for this.
  • Blended learning formats are recommended for courses that require a part in attendance. A concept catalogue will also be developed and supported in its implementation.
  • Courses from the 1st semester of the Bachelor's programme should be largely conducted in attendance, especially in the first weeks. In order to compensate for the reduced lecture hall capacities, parallel rooms can be booked, if necessary, to which transfer is made. As support for the conception, e.g. to enable the interaction with the first-year students, concrete concepts as well as best practice examples will be presented and support will be provided for the implementation.
  • The decision which further courses will be held in attendance is the responsibility of the respective deans of studies.
  • In order to also take into account the problem of necessary cleaning and disinfection between appointments with changing groups, the system of semester lecture halls, where students have to change rooms less frequently, will be condensed for the bachelor's teaching, in consultation with the timetable coordinators of the respective fields of study. This means, however, that the rooms in which courses are held will change in part this winter semester.
  • Examinations will continue to be coordinated and processed according to the current concept - the lecture hall capacities will be adjusted according to the requirements.

I would like to thank you all for your commitment during the summer semester 2020. Within a very short period of time, you have transformed teaching at TU Wien into distance learning formats, as far as this was possible, and thus enabled our students to continue to attend courses and take exams. Thank you for your great support and understanding.

Kurt Matyas and the Distance Learning Team