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Symposium: Distancing Design Education – Teaching in times of Social Distancing

The beginning of the 2020 summer semester established online teaching in a very short time and brought a digitalisation push for many German universities. On the one hand, this is a great opportunity, but at the same time it poses a particular challenge for creative study courses.

Time for a first conclusion: What does the digital summer semester mean for lecturers, students and the entire university? How does a digital campus feeling come up at all? And how will design seminars with a face mask and 2-metre distance work in future?

To discuss these topics, Prof. Michael Jonas invited to the Distancing Design Education Symposium. 17 professors and lecturers from seven German universities and from Zhuhai in China came together on May 22 for a virtual conference.

The most important and most discussed question for all present: How can a didactic concept be established with video chats and which digital tools can additionally support this? But also questions about data protection were part of the conference. Which digital tools can be used safely and how do you deal with private insights?

Prof. Dr. Stefan Waller observes, for example: “It makes a difference whether someone wears sweatpants or not. You can tell – even if you can’t see them in the frame”.

Overall, the participants found that they are currently having similar experiences. Regardless of whether they are in Zhuhai, Munich or Hamburg. They share not only the challenges but also the positive observations. “Communication via online tools has a positive effect on the students’ concentration and the quality of their work. Many of us can imagine to teach more online in the future”, concludes the host.

By clicking on the “Leave meeting” button at the end of the evening, the exchange was far from over. Thanks to a dedicated slack channel, professors and lecturers can keep up to date until the symposium enters its second round in the winter semester.