DAAD published recently an article about German Jordanian University (GJU) Online Teaching ,the Vice President for International Affairs Prof. Dr. Ralf Roßkopf highlighted how GJU switched to online teaching to make teaching possible. To read the full article in German Language, click here.
“The crisis, which is an opportunity. The Corona pandemic has a strict ban on going out in Jordan. The German Jordanian University (GJU) reacted quickly to this and completely switched its technical and language courses to online teaching. Prof. Dr. Ralf Roßkopf, Vice President for International Affairs at the GJU explains how this works.
"When the Jordanian government imposed the exit ban in mid-March, we were faced with a completely new challenge: we had to offer the entire event curriculum digitally from one day to the next," reports Prof. Dr. Ralf Roßkopf, who has been working at the GJU in Amman since August 2019. “That was only possible with an enormous team spirit and commitment for pioneering. Administration and teachers quickly got to grips with the new digital tools and learning platforms and accepted the suboptimal conditions in this time of crisis. All that is important is a clear attitude at the management level and the willingness of all teachers to get involved in new things. The GJU did a great job here. ”
Language courses 100 percent digital
At the GJU, about 270 full-time teachers teach a total of 4,500 students in subjects such as economics, engineering, medical technology, architecture, social sciences, or languages. The GJU is one of the foreign universities that is funded within the framework of transnational education (TNB) with funds from the Federal Government (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Federal Foreign Office and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and cooperates with German universities. German universities are present worldwide with transnational educational offers at 65 locations in 36 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
In the case of the GJU, the main partner is the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal. Roßkopf himself comes from the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, where he was previously Vice President for Studies, Teaching and Continuing Education; in Amman, the lawyer is now Vice President for International Affairs. In addition to the Turkish-German University with around 65 lecturers and three courses, the university has the largest German-language center outside of the Federal Republic.
All GJU bachelor students learn German and spend a semester at one of 120 partner universities as well as an internship semester in a German company. Teaching at GJU is designed for classroom teaching. But now the language courses are also 100 percent digital. How well that works is one of the most pleasant surprises, according to Roßkopf.
Difficult technical conditions
“The students accepted the digital offers well. The participation rate is very high, even though the technical conditions are difficult, ”says Roßkopf. Quite a few students only have smartphones and no laptops, or they have to share them with other family members. Depending on the region, the data lines are often unstable, the mobile data sometimes cannot be loaded due to the curfew, and working conditions at home are rarely ideal. “Many students, especially those with a refugee background, have little space to study because they live with their families in a confined space. Nevertheless, the feedback is very positive. "
Online teaching makes you tired
Roßkopf has discovered another phenomenon: Online teaching makes students tired. There are reasons for this: “Attention is higher than in seminar classes. The students are more focused, but they put more effort into following the teaching and doing the exercises independently. We have to learn to understand this situation. ”Due to the acute crisis situation, the university cannot yet provide ideal didactical and methodological answers. It is a fact: “The current online teaching often only serves to convey knowledge. In addition, however, the students must be instructed to learn independently how to use knowledge. "
A boost for online teaching
The current crisis is also an opportunity, says Roßkopf: "We are now learning to use digital tools for online teaching better. That will give her a huge boost. Digital teaching will soon become a mass phenomenon. The GJU is making a clear statement amid the crisis and has decided to profile in teaching online. However, we will have to develop the applied teaching differently. In the future, we will have to better instruct students on how to acquire knowledge using structured materials, regardless of time and location, and how to practice using the knowledge they have acquired as part of digital exercises. The online face-to-face events then serve to question, deepen and exchange - also on a human level, because there is simply no personal contact between the seminar events - especially in times of crisis."
Make teaching possible
All those involved - students and lecturers at the GJU - are now finding their way around the situation. There is no alternative to this: the semester will be counted. The Ministry of Education and the university management agree on this. "That's why online teaching is taken very seriously," says the German lawyer. The semester exams will take place in mid-June. If the grades are not as expected, the students have the option of receiving a grade of “passed” or not “passed” instead of the grade. Roßkopf thinks it's good: "Because the example of the GJU shows that teaching can be made possible even with suboptimal conditions.”