Digital education: University libraries are migrating to the Internet

When young people talk about their everyday student life today, it doesn’t take much and older graduates from the family, parents or even grandparents generation begin to report, half compassionately, half nostalgically, about how different it was back then. A university course without towers of books on the library table, coffee stains on the seminar paper or contested copy templates? For many of them, that seems hard to imagine. And if so, then as a bland infusion of her own student days.

But the digital has long left its mark on everyday university life, even before the pandemic ceased operations and the university libraries had to close for the time being. For years, lecturers have been publishing their lecture and seminar plans, PowerPoint slides and scripts, as well as the obligatory seminar reading, almost exclusively digitally on learning platforms such as Moodle. The provisions of the new copyright law that came into force in 2018 allow longer works to be made available in full in excerpts of up to 15 percent and shorter works of up to 25 pages of text as well as individual articles from scientific journals and out-of-print works.

Even before the pandemic, these digital offers were the only source to get their teaching and learning material, especially for Bachelor students who have to master a large number of events and exams. At the end of the semester, the lecture notes and notes were summarized, evaporated and memorized. There is seldom time and leisure for more extensive literature research.

Even text discussions and group work are completely digital

As virtual course rooms in which students and lecturers can interact with each other, Moodle and Co. have so far been little used. The pandemic has changed that. In addition to the synchronous study in regular video conferences, lecturers can integrate formats of asynchronous learning into their teaching, for example through grammar fill-in-the-blank in the language course or arithmetic tasks in the statistics tutorial. This allows lecturers to rate weekly submissions and hold final exams online. Some teachers even save themselves the weekly Zoom conference and shift text discussions and group work completely to collaborative text editors such as Etherpad.



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