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Students cope well with digital-teaching switch

Image: ymphotos, via Shutterstock.com

Study applauds efforts in higher education to adapt to online learning during pandemic

Germany’s students have largely adapted to the introduction of a digital spring-summer semester amid the coronavirus pandemic, a report has found.

A study by the DZHW, the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, questioned 30,000 students on how they coped with digital learning. A total of 86 per cent of respondents reported no or hardly any problems using the digital courses provided. Meanwhile, almost eight in 10 students said they had all the technology they needed to take part.

About two-thirds of students welcomed the flexibility afforded by the now formats. The same number said they were satisfied with the ways in which exams were handled through online technology.

However, most students missed the personal contact and exchange of ideas offered by in-person teaching, with 80 per cent saying they would like to interact more with fellow students and 63 per cent wanting more contact with teachers.

The past semester has presented special challenges, said science minister Anja Karliczek, whose ministry funded the survey. “I am therefore particularly pleased that students in the summer semester 2020 did not think about dropping out of their studies more often than in recent years,” she said.

About half of the respondents said they would like the duration of their degrees to be extended, following a German-wide lockdown from March to June this year. One in four students said they had experienced course cancellations without substitutions, but only 6 per cent said that more than half of their courses had not taken place.

Karliczek commended Germany’s universities for achieving “extraordinary things” during the past few months.