University of Mannheim: Funding of millions for the expansion of digital university teaching at the University of Mannheim

The pandemic-induced ad-hoc switch to online teaching last year showed that there is great potential for digital teaching formats at German universities. However, the implementation of innovative formats is often delayed due to a lack of resources. The call for tenders “Strengthening university teaching through digitization” by the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching comes into play at this point: the foundation will support the expansion of digitization at German universities with 300 million euros over the next three years. From August 1, 2021, a total of 115 individual and 24 joint applications will be funded. The University of Mannheim is receiving a total of almost 3.3 million euros for the project “Enabling innovation and promoting transfer: Structures for digital university teaching (InnoMA) ”as well as for the joint project“ Partnership for innovative e-exams. Project network of the universities in Baden-Württemberg “(PePP).

“We are very pleased that our previous commitment to extensive online courses as well as our diverse ideas for future use are honored”, says Prof. Dr. Angelika Storrer, Vice Rector for Studies, Teaching and Equal Opportunities at the University of Mannheim. “With the help of the funding, we can advance the digitization of teaching at the University of Mannheim and offer our students new and innovative formats.” The Department of University Didactics and eLearning (HDZ) is responsible for the implementation of the two projects at the university.

Enabling innovation and promoting transfer: Structures for digital university teaching (InnoMA)
The University of Mannheim is receiving around 2.7 million euros for the InnoMA project to expand existing digital teaching formats and establish new ones. As part of the project, a development fund with a volume of 1.1 million euros is being set up. The fund is intended to give teachers the freedom to use digital innovations. You can apply for up to 75,000 euros per project from the fund over the next three years. When applying, the teachers commit themselves to an accompanying evaluation of the teaching project by the Center for Teacher Training and Educational Innovation (ZLBI). They receive support in the implementation from the HDZ and the university IT, among other things in the form of regular exchange and information events. Financed from the fund from autumn /In the winter semester, in addition to web-based, hybrid learning environments, there is also a digital learning question system for individual learning and online workshops. “With the rest of the funding, we are hiring more employees for digital support and training. We will also digitally equip or retrofit the lecture halls at the university and purchase new equipment, for example for online events, ”says Melanie Klinger, head of the HDZ.

Partnership for innovative e-exams. Project network of the universities of Baden-Württemberg (PePP)
In the joint proposal PePP, which is led by the University of Freiburg, innovative formats for electronic exams are to be worked out. The aim is to develop previously unused potentials of electronic exams for teachers and learners, to make existing experience with e-exams available to all universities in Baden-Württemberg and to translate successful approaches into sustainable solutions. In addition, legal questions and possible difficulties with regard to, for example, equal opportunities, inclusion and acceptance are reflected on. The University of Mannheim will receive around 600,000 euros for the implementation.

Foundation innovation in higher education
, the foundation of innovation, founded in 2020 in higher education has to allow the goal innovations in the field of teaching and learning in higher education as well as to strengthen and continuously renewing ability of higher education as a whole. The Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching is a trust foundation sponsored by the non-profit Toepfer Foundation gGmbH. All funds for funding, program, organization and administration are made available by the federal and state governments.

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