Regardless of all federal differences, at least one thing can be said: The pace at which universities are striving back to the progressively virus-free campus is not rash. Seminars have been taking place again in Baden-Württemberg since mid-May. As far as the incidence values allow, the easing should be expanded. In other countries such as Berlin or Hamburg, on the other hand, it looks as if the university administrations have to be pushed back onto the campus by the ministries or student initiatives. Peter-André Alt, President of the University Rectors' Conference, has promised a modest 30 percent attendance rate for the “hybrid semester” in winter. Up to forty percent of the seminars should be "streamed" anyway. There could be no return to the old forms of teaching.Why not? Because studying can no longer be a social place?
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One should certainly not forget that so far only a few students have been vaccinated and some have withdrawn to live with their parents.
But how can you explain that this is not an obstacle in Baden-Württemberg, while at the Technical University of Berlin, for example, the state government's plan to show presence this summer is being mocked by professors?
With regional fluctuations, the universities are continuing the picture that they presented during the pandemic.
While the voluntary self-exam during the Corona wedding could still be interpreted as an exemplary self-restraint by a scientifically thinking institution and a crash course in online teaching, it was eerie how humbly regulations were accepted that meant deep cuts for scientists and students.
The social component is fundamental
The University Rectors' Conference set the tone early on when it declared the pandemic an opportunity to switch to online teaching, in which Germany, as the Bertelsmann Foundation and other interest groups have been preaching for years, is "lagging far behind" - without ever knowing would have been what phenomenal advantages the online teaching now offers besides a few loosening game elements. You can use the pandemic to realize that the digital utopia in teaching has failed. The psychological consequences are well documented, and there is no need to research that it is not conducive to social cohesion when students complete their studies from the screen. This has not stopped online evangelists from differentiating their messages of salvation.
While digital methods in research and teaching are continuously being expanded, it has not yet been possible to convincingly demonstrate for teaching what the benefits of screen seminars actually consist of. The fact that digital aids are used for a face-to-face seminar is a matter of course, but does not replace the type of event itself. You can say that even for the lectures that are particularly criticized. Is it really nicer to “participate” in academic life only through the screen? Are beauty and life experience not categories of educational policy, or will they only become so when psychologists can prove that this creates motivation that also brings advantages in the world of work? At least in philosophically demanding subjects, studying means a shock-like expansion of reality.The children's room is not necessarily the starting point for this. And those who look forward to streaming sessions with Peter-André Alt will certainly also like plastic flowers.
The fact that universities are still so difficult to get going is due to known structural problems. During the pandemic, some pointed out that the overcrowded face-to-face seminars were not that far off either. However, this is not a question of online or offline, but a consequence of the poor supervision key. It's also not surprising that lecturers prefer to teach from the screen rather than spend their time on the ICE. This is where the well-known misalignments of university policy continue: the compulsion to move frequently, which is forced by the over-the-top project research, and the fact that teaching is of no use for an academic career. The overcrowded seminars are in turn the result of the political desire to smuggle more and more students through the universities at the expense of teaching quality.If the universities lose interest in themselves as a result, that is a warning sign.