Digitization Strategy for the Summer Term 2020

16/04/2020
Digitalization of the lectures Copyright: Pixabay  

The Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building E3D is currently making every effort to use digital media to prepare all courses taking place in the summer term of 2020 and to provide attractive concepts for students so that not a single course has to be cancelled.

At present, individual formats are being put together according to the needs and sizes of the events, which started on April, 6th 2020.

  • The moodle learning room for the bachelor's subject Building Physics is currently being converted to pure online teaching. In addition to the typical functions, such as links to further literature and standards or the announcement area, a lot of new content has been and is being developed. Four forums for questions concerning lecture, exercise, tutorial and general are maintained. In compact information videos the functions of the learning room, the contents of the lecture as well as information about tutorials and the exam are explained (online since 01.04.). The scope of the e-tests has been or will be expanded considerably (online since 01.04.). They now include theory questions in addition to the already expanded arithmetical tasks. The teaching concept of the lecture and the exercises will be changed to videos, since due to the high number of participants (currently more than 700 students), live streams are not possible. An effort plan and an upload plan will inform the students about the contents to be learned, the proposed time horizon of the work and the teaching materials that will follow soon. The production of videos for lectures and lecture exercises requires a lot of time for preparation, post-processing and the actual recording, which far exceeds the effort for face-to-face lectures and exercises. For example, all slides for the lecture exercises have to be completely re-produced. The lecture notes were also revised. The lectures are made available in the form of audio slides with lengths of 10 to 40 minutes. The subdivision into smaller sections is intended to support the students in their self-study. In addition to the introductory lecture on the topic of building physics, the first four chapters on the topic of heating will be available to students on April, 15th. Half of the videos consist of new recordings and half of recordings from the last semester. Even before the unofficial start of the semester on 20.04., the students will therefore have access to learning content. In the videos of the lecture exercise, which will start soon (from 20.02.), preliminary calculations and explanations will be made using slides and other documents in accordance with the teaching concept of the attendance exercises. The exercise books for the contents of the first third of the semester (exercise and tutorial) have been uploaded for this purpose (online since 01.04.). Students are therefore free to decide when they want to work on the contents. This semester the tutorials will be held in small groups of 5 students online in web conferences (20min length). For this purpose, the possibility to register for more than 70 groups per week has been established. Each group is supervised by a tutor, to whom you can send your own solutions in advance for checking. All in all, the extensive and labour-intensive conversion of the teaching content to digital formats enables a similar learning experience to that of attendance study. From the perspective of the lecturers, there is no disadvantage for the students.
  • In the master subject Building Performance Simulation a hybrid method is used, which consists of video streams and zoom live event. During the registered lecture time, the digital recording of the lecture, which was previously made with Camtasia and is also available in Moodle, is played and questions can be asked interactively at any time via chat or audio, which are then immediately answered to deepen the understanding. The exercise is also conducted digitally and divided into small break-out groups, which are supervised by tutors and research assistants. 3 Moodle forums for lectures, exercises and homework allow asynchronous exchange between students and teachers.
  • In the master subject Energy Monitoring and Effects on Indoor Climate, slides of the lecture are created and provided as short video units (about 15-20 minutes), usually three for each replaced lecture date. Students' questions are collected in the Moodle Forum during the course of the respective lecture week and dealt with in the following week, either as a supplementary slidecast or - if desired after discussion and live exchange - in the form of a zoom meeting. If the entire semester is to take place online (which we assume as a precautionary measure according to the current state of affairs), the exercises on comfort surveys and data analysis will also be replaced by video tutorials.
  • A great challenge is the institute's practical course "Construction and Geotechnics", which will be digitized in agreement with the three institutes involved. Each of the three partial internships has a slightly individual schedule and the students will be informed about the schedule in the introductory event on 27.04.2020 from 13:00 to 14:30 and in Moodle continuously. Basically, a hybrid procedure is used, which consists of videos and a live zoom event.
  • The master subject Building Construction Design and the bachelor subject In Touch with Business: Presentation and Discussion will take place fully online this semester. For more information please refer to the responsible institute, which is the Institute of Structural Concrete for the subject Building Construction Design and the Chair of Geotechnical Engineering for the subject In Touch with Business: Presentation and Discussion.

Detailed information on the digital methods can be found by students at any time on the corresponding Moodle pages of our event after registration in RWTHOnline. We are looking forward to all comments and suggestions for improvement and will be happy to answer any further questions.