In the 2022 summer semester, on-campus courses will be the rule again at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) after three online semesters and one hybrid semester. According to the Federal Infection Protection Act, academic education operations are no longer subject to any restrictions. To support the return to routine studies, KIT will receive about EUR 2 million from a special funding program of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
“We are very happy that the coming summer semester will be a normal in-person semester again. The pandemic may have enhanced digitalization of academic education, but joint teaching and learning on campus are essential for the success of studies and the feeling of togetherness,” says Professor Alexander Wanner, KIT’s Vice-President for Higher Education and Academic Affairs. “In the past semesters, many teachers of KIT optimized existing teaching concepts on their own initiative with high commitment,” Wanner points out. “Direct exchange between teachers and students as well as among students during in-person courses, however, remains essential for the learning success and the students’ personal development.” The Vice-President adds that the e-learning share will be higher than before the pandemic, because many didactically valuable additional courses have been established. In the 2021/22 winter semester already were many in-person courses possible again after three online semesters at KIT. In addition, KIT introduced hybrid courses combining on-campus courses with online participation. For this purpose, 35 lecture halls of KIT were equipped with the corresponding technology. In spite of the effective infection protection regulations, in-person courses could be offered and all students could progress with their studies in this special situation again.
Since April 2, 2022, academic education operations at universities have no longer been subject to any restrictions imposed by the Federal Infection Protection Act. Now, the general Corona provisions of the State of Baden-Württemberg are valid. This means that there will no longer be any controls of proofs of vaccination, recovery or negative tests for on-campus courses and no obligation to wear masks in lecture halls and public spaces. In view of the current infection rate, however, KIT recommends continued observation of infection protection rules and to voluntarily wear masks during indoor courses, where distancing rules cannot be met. In this respect, the Executive Board appeals to the KIT members to show self-responsibility, mutual respect, and tolerance.
In case state parliament would declare entire Baden-Württemberg or Karlsruhe and the region a “hotspot,” stricter restrictions would result for universities again.
State-wide Funding Program for Universities to Accelerate Return to Normal
To ensure a good restart of studies for students after four online semesters and to help them remedy potential knowledge gaps, the State has launched a special funding program for its universities and academies. Funds in the total amount of EUR 28 million, of which KIT will receive about EUR 1.95 million, will be available to accelerate the return to normal. The additional funds of the Baden-Württemberg Science Ministry are intended to help universities develop offerings for students to master their specific problems resulting from the pandemic.
KIT Plans 146 Additional Measures
Under the program launched, all eleven KIT Departments and several central offices will make 146 additional offerings - 88 percent on-campus, eight percent hybrid, and four percent online courses and events. These offerings include additional coachings, tutorials, internships, learning cafés, and supervised learning spaces. They are aimed at supporting learning efforts and at enhancing networking of students for them to help themselves. Moreover, acquisition of key competencies shall be promoted.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.