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Top marks in evaluation of online teaching

In an online survey, lecturers and students of IMC Krems gave the university excellent grades for the switch to online teaching during the 2020 summer semester.

vlnr.: Ulrike Prommer (Geschäftsführerin), Karl Ennsfellner (Geschäftsführer), Michaela Sabathiel (Prokuristin), Manfred Pferzinger (Stv. Leiter des Kollegiums) und Martin Waiguny (Leiter des Kollegiums)

(from left to right) The university’s management team mastered the switch to online teaching superbly: Ulrike Prommer (CEO), Karl Ennsfellner (CEO), Michaela Sabathiel (authorised signatory), Manfred Pferzinger (Deputy Chairman of the Academic Board) and Martin Waiguny (Chairman of the Academic Board).

Excellent overall score of 1.65

On average, the respondents gave the university a grade of 1.65. With an overall mark of 1.5 among lecturers and 1.8 from students – on a scale of one to six – IMC Krems posted an outstanding result, achieving top marks.

Stakeholder surveys are held at regular intervals, as quality assurance and enhancements are a leading priority at the Krems-based university, with a view to implementing follow-on processes, drawing up corresponding measures and identifying potential improvements. This time around, IMC Krems lecturers and students were asked to give their views on the switch to online teaching due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The response rate was very high, with more than 40% of lecturers and students completing the survey, which covered the categories of service and tools, information and communication, teaching and examinations.

Service and tools

Lecturers and students gave excellent marks for the information they received regarding the technical prerequisites (such as a laptop, camera and microphone) for online teaching activities. Comprehensive guidance on the most commonly used tools and media (e.g. MS Teams, Forms, Canvas, etc.) was available, and the tools deployed were rated as very well suited to online teaching. A number of suggestions were also made for tools that could be used in future.

Information and communication

Both lecturers and students reported that they received sufficient information on the effects of Covid-19 on teaching operations. The changeover to online teaching was clearly explained. Students confirmed that lecturers were always easy to reach and they felt that they were well looked after and supported by the teaching staff.

Teaching

Unlike in the other categories, several respondents awarded a score of 2 for teaching. In view of the fact that all teaching activities were moved online in the space of three days, the university interpreted this as a positive endorsement of the steps taken. The result has been taken as a spur to implement improvements. For instance, an intensive training drive focusing on the topics of blended learning, digital assessment and higher education teaching methods was implemented before the start of the winter semester. With a view to highlighting ‘IMC digital best practice’, some lecturers shared their experiences of working with digital tools and teaching methods.

“We are seeing that the training measures have been well received by our lecturers, and they have been quick to integrate creative and innovative elements into their teaching. What’s more, the team spirit and willingness to provide mutual support – for instance, in our Ask a Colleague Forum – underlined the sense of cohesion among the academic staff at IMC Krems,” reported Academic Board Chairman Martin Waiguny.

The respondents were of the opinion that the rescheduling of courses worked well, and the methods used by lecturers were more than up to the job. The survey also showed that there was room for improvement regarding the length of teaching blocks as well as in the timing of breaks, and these findings have been adopted for the current winter semester.

Examinations

One of the biggest challenges to be overcome was the switch to the biz:Examiner online exam tool and other alternative forms of assessment. According to the lecturers and students who completed the survey, the technical implementation of assessments went smoothly on the whole, and the procedures for online examinations were well explained in advance.

Overall assessment

“By and large, the changeover to online teaching worked very well. All of the respondents said that they received sufficient support from IMC Krems at all times in connection with online teaching operations, and that was our top priority during lockdown. We’re proud that we were able to satisfy the expectations of academic staff and students so effectively in terms of ensuring the continued smooth operation of teaching activities,” commented IMC Krems CEO Ulrike Prommer.