- When designing and conducting teaching, including counselling, supervision and examination, take into account that the time, space, technical and emotional resources of students may be limited. If applicable, also make clear your own personal constraints
- Students with children have to provide full-time childcare (sometimes also homeschooling) parallel to their studies and have only limited control of time and scheduling.
- Students who care for relatives must reckon with the lack or absence of outpatient nursing services or caregivers at any moment
- Many students find themselves in a concrete financial emergency due to the loss of side jobs.
- For many students, the use of digital tools poses an additional risk of discrimination, as the University of Göttingen usually does not yet offer the possibility to participate in courses with self-chosen names.
- International students are particularly affected because delays in their studies and financial difficulties can have consequences in terms of residence law, they are confronted with language barriers and sometimes do not have an undisturbed workplace in their residential environment.
- Some students with disabilities or chronic illnesses can benefit from digital teaching formats (e.g. time-independent usability), while for others new barriers arise for attending courses or successfully completing studies and exams.
- The rapid translation of teaching into online or digital formats may increase existing discrimination risks.
1. Design teaching & learning flexible / asynchronous
Make sure that students can participate in courses (asynchronous formats) as flexibly as possible. If you use live formats, make your contribution available as a recording to those students who were unable to attend. Allow longer processing times for academic and examination papers.
2. Orient student workload equivalent to the classroom event
Ideally, a virtual course should not be more time-consuming than the same course in attendance - for you as a teacher and for students. If possible, use tools and formats that require little training.
3. Obtain information on the legal framework
In the course of your curriculum planning
, find out about your scope of action as a teacher
, for example regarding questions of dealing with disruptions or incidents of discrimination
in virtual teaching.
You will find contact persons in your faculties, in the Department of University Didactics, in the Department of Public Relations and in the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Office.
For legal aspects, please contact the Department of Science Law and Support Foundation. Acute incidents are recorded by the Emergency and Fault Reporting Centre at 39-1171.
For attendance courses, you will find a presentation by the Department of Law and Foundation: Scope and Application of Domestic Law
. (Geltungsbereich und Anwendung des Hausrechts (in German)
4. Information on complaint procedures and focal points
5. Conscious decisions for tools and their features
Decide before the event which tools you want to use and what features they should have. If possible, deactivate those features that you do not need.
The more communication channels (auditory, visual, text-based...) are available, the better students can participate according to their preferred learning approaches.
With the number of communication channels, however, the risk that they may be misused increases, e.g. by posting abusive messages in public or private chats, showing inappropriate images and symbols in avatars, in video backgrounds, on whiteboards or on shared screens, and making unauthorized recordings or screenshots (see below).
It is worthwhile to consider the risks and possibilities
offered by each tool in advance and to adapt it to your own needs, abilities and, if applicable, moderation resources.
Information on the different tools
How to deal with faults
6. Transparent handling of working methods and technology
Keep in mind that video formats can affect the privacy of students
. Therefore, make sure within the scope of your possibilities that digital rooms are used as non-discriminatory as possible, e.g. by informing students at the beginning of their studies about the possibility of switching off sound and cameras. If it is necessary to participate with the camera and sound switched on, communicate why this is relevant for teaching or why it is necessary.
Always make it clear which parts of a course are to be recorded and which are not. Recording is only allowed by teachers
, and only if all those who have been recorded are informed about the recording and its use
and have actively given their consent
(this should be documented). The consent can be withdrawn at any time. Always proceed according to the principle of data minimization
: Data that is not collected in the first place cannot be misused.
and answers to frequent legal questions
Rights in image and sound recordings
(pdf in German) or here
, data protection in Zoom for teachers: Datenschutz in Zoom (Lehrende)
(pdf in German) and for studentsDatenschutz in Zoom (Studierende)
(pdf in German) , both can be found on the " Web/Videoconferencing"
page of the Digital Learning and Teaching team (in German).
Please also note the paper „Einsatz von Videoconferencing in der Lehre und bei Gremien“
(Use of videoconferencing in teaching and committees – pdf in German), 08.05.2020).
7. Develop „netiquette“ or Code of Conduct
You can develop an Code of Conduct and prepare it yourself and/or work on it together with the students. Here you can record the wishes and expectations of all participants regarding the course and its atmosphere, how they want to communicate with each other, how they want to deal with conflicts and heated discussions, and which basic conditions you want to set in your course for successful communication and protection against discrimination.
8. Show approachability
Respond as sensitively as possible to inquiries, requests and fears of students whose situation in the current situation represents a particular hardship, and signal to them that your responsiveness, even for questions that otherwise play no role in the teaching context.
This can be done in advance, e.g. on the learning platform page of the course or by e-mail, for example by using phrases such as "Please tell me what I as a teacher should know before the course. Make sure and communicate that you will treat the received information confidentially or in which cases you want or need to call in support from superiors or colleagues. Many students feel "perceived" and activated by your responsiveness, so that they will subsequently seek and propose solutions themselves.
9. Consider emotional stress
Please bear in mind that the concern for relatives, one's own membership of a risk group and financial hardship, increased (e.g. racist) experiences of discrimination or even fear of discrimination and violence in the family or residential environment can represent an immense emotional burden for students. Please keep the situation of international students in mind.
10. References to compensation of disadvantages, finding individual solutions
At the beginning of the course, proactively point out the possibility of compensating of disadvantages
in general and early on. To this end, communicate your working and examination methods and the performance requirements at an early stage (information on this: " Compensation of disadvantages application for examinations and examination prerequisite "
Make sure that students who belong to the so-called risk group
can protect themselves without being forced to explain their situation.
In order to enable students in special situations and students belonging to the so-called risk group to participate in your course, offer alternative forms of participation, service provision
as well as consulting hours possibilities
and proactively point them out. Design teaching materials (documents
, web offers
) (all in German) as barrier-free as possible (see below).
For those students with disabilities who currently do not have access to (student) assistants or interpreters, please search for individual solutions
. These students in particular have the obligation to advance their studies due to the requirements of funding agencies.
11. Barrier-free design of learning materials
Handouts of he University of Göttingen:
Further information and links
- The Competence Center Digital Accessibility is since March 2020 the first university unit to be recognised as a BITV-Test test centre. It offers well-prepared information for various target groups (teachers, web developers, administrative staff, external parties). (in German)
- Dr. Maike Gattermann-Kasper (Coordination of the interests of students with disabilities or chronic diseases) and Franziska Nitsche (Equal Opportunities Office), both from the University of Hamburg, have developed a checklist for a "Diversity-aware planning of digital events”(“Diversitätssensible Planung von digitalen Veranstaltungen”). (in German) .
- A Webtutorial (in German) of the University of Rostock shows, how teaching materials in the programs Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Acrobat Pro can be designed barrier-free.
- e-teaching.org (Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media) also provides information about barrier-free e-learning (especially learning management system, examinations) in the context of didactic design.(in German)
- Einfach für Alle, the service of Aktion Mensch for a barrier-free Internet, offers numerous articles and instructions for the implementation of barrier-free documents as well as for the conception, design & technology of barrier-free web offers. (in German)
12. Consider limited technical and spatial infrastructure
Remember that not all students have an optimally equipped workstation at home.
Keep in mind that students may not have the necessary technical infrastructure (network connection, terminal equipment, computer capacity, operating systems, printers) and digital skills for certain tools and formats. Make sure that the tools used are as accessible as possible and do not require any special skills. Ask the Office of the Dean of Studies about possible solutions for tools that are not available.
13. Exchange and develop solutions together
Share your experiences, questions, problems and suggestions for solutions with your university and other teachers and exchange your ideas. Make your need for clarification and requests for support visible to your superiors. Only in this way can changes be initiated at a supra-individual level.
And finally: Have the courage to be imperfect!
- Heinke, Christian; Shnayien, Mary; Sprenger, Florian; Wippich, Uwe: Lehre unter besonderen Bedingungen. Leitfaden zur temporären Umstellung der Lehre auf Online-Formate (in German)
- Hunter, Daniel; Rewa, Jeanne: Leading Groups Online. A down and dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings and events during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Training for Change - Online Training Tools
- „Please do a bad job of putting your courses online“, Fox Barrett, Rebekka (2020)
- Solidarsemester 2020: Studentischer Forderungskatalog zur Lage der Hochschulen (in German)