“It will be a little adventure”

Joy, tension and also worry: How students and lecturers see the start of the semester in presence:

Friedrich Baltzer is studying transportation at the Technical University of Berlin.

In a week, the ninth semester at the TU Berlin will begin – and thus the first in three semesters in which events can be held regularly on campus. What I’m particularly looking forward to is the little adventure on 18. October, when I go to a lecture at the university for the first time.

I really missed running into each other in the corridors of the TU, spontaneously exchanging ideas or going to the lectures to meet. These short, spontaneous interactions in particular have been neglected in the past few years.

But I also look at the start of the semester with a little worry and tension. The question arises as to whether the start in presence is not a bit premature and how any infections are dealt with. If a lecture takes place in person and someone who has contact with an infected person has to be quarantined, how does the person get to the lecture if it is not recorded?

However, the pandemic has shown that universities to be able to function largely from the home office – even if there were a few starting difficulties everywhere. I therefore very much hope that we can continue to combine the advantages of both worlds in the future. Last semester, for example, a lecturer announced that he would make his lectures hybrid in the future so that they could be heard from home and in the lecture hall.

Friedrich Baltzer.

Friedrich Baltzer. Photo: Private

Jan Eickelberg is Professor of Civil Law, Commercial and Corporate Law at the University of Economics and Law Berlin.

I am very much looking forward to the fact that there will soon be a direct and immediate exchange between the students and me and above all between the students in the courses will come. Because if we have learned one thing in the Corona era, it is that a university is a space for exchange, for discussions and for mutual learning and not just a mere collection of courses.

The findings I would like to integrate my own learning results from online teaching into the upcoming face-to-face teaching. Finally, numerous digital elements can also be used in the lecture hall. I have produced many interactive videos, recorded interviews with practitioners, tried out various digital tools and let my students encourage me to start a podcast.

In the last few semesters I have also become aware of how classroom teaching should be valued very much. I would like to focus again on what is particularly important for the students to gain competence: interaction, discussion and dialogue instead of monologue. which are then discussed and discussed in the classroom teaching. In addition, we experienced a real team spirit between teachers and students during the online semester. It is precisely with this that we will certainly be able to guarantee on-site security and comply with the relevant rules. I trust in the common sense of all concerned.

Jan Eickelberg.

Jan Eickelberg. Photo: Marc Garner

Dijana Kolak is starting her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication science as well as political science at the Free University of Berlin.

Already during my graduation 18 it was foreseeable that no ordinary course would start would be imminent. So I felt all the more confirmed in my decision to do a voluntary social year first before throwing myself into university life. I heard from other students that the last two semesters were horror.

Now the universities had a year to try out digital learning formats. That’s why my expectations for the coming winter semester are high.

Sitting next to other new students at the central introductory event, walking around the campus – that was really nice. In doing so, I realized that I am now starting to study. Before that, it was a bureaucratic process. With the Campuscard in hand and surrounded by many people, it became a bit more real.

As soon as the number of infections should increase, I hope that the Free University of Berlin will rely on the 2G regulation. And of course I hope that as much as possible will take place in presence. As a first year, it is important for me to get to know my fellow students and to exchange ideas with them. This works best face to face – albeit with a mask.

Dijana Kolak.

Dijana Kolak. Photo: Maximilian Csali

Stefan Schöch is a research fellow at the Institute for Catholic Theology at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

I took over my current position as a research assistant in April. Like many of the students, I am not yet familiar with the classroom teaching. But I imagine it to be much easier, especially when it comes to interaction. This also applies to the preparation for the seminars. The online teaching was quite time-consuming for me. On-site lessons will become more spontaneous again, there will be more direct exchange.

Because in church history, too, the focus is on practical work on the material object – usually reading and discussing texts together. Even the best online formats do not turn out to be barrier-free. I am therefore happy when the discussion culture revives in presence. My courses mainly concern students in their first and second semesters. That is why special emphasis is placed on holding these events in person.

Hopefully, the HU guidelines will enable safe work in presence. By and large, this is a broad regulation that applies and is checked by teachers and security staff. There is also a number of participants. At the still young Central Institute for Catholic Theology, however, this is less relevant – we are currently only about twelve participants in my seminar.

Stefan Schöch.

Stefan Schöch. Photo: Private

Charlotte Westphal is studying fashion design at the University of Applied Sciences for Technology and economics.

First of all, I am very pleased that this semester will again mainly take place in face-to-face teaching. My course is very much geared towards practical work, and I also chose my university because of its equipment and machines. That has suffered a lot from the pandemic for the last year and a half.

Like many of my fellow students: inside, I also left the standard period of study because we couldn’t study properly in the “corona semesters”. But online teaching also had something good: I really liked the flexibility and agility. I would like the theoretical content to continue to be conveyed in this way, if possible.

With a view to the coming semester, it is still unusual to soon be back with many people in the limited space of the studios work. Of course, the university has developed a hygiene concept. However, I have the feeling that this concept relies very much on the sincerity and initiative of each individual student.

Clear controls of the test or vaccination certificates, for example via QR codes at the building entrances, would make me queasy calm down more.

Charlotte Westphal.

Charlotte Westphal. Foro: Private

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