Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

Newsletters by the Dean's office

Information on winter semester 2020/21 (Newsletter by the President, 17.09.2020)

Dear colleagues,

The winter semester 2020/21 is only a few weeks away. The first orientation  events will start in mid-October. Lectures will begin on 2 November.

Preparations are currently underway at both central and decentralized levels  to offer more on-campus teaching without compromising on infection  protection. At the same time, we are monitoring the development of the  pandemic at the local, national and international level in close cooperation  with the health authorities and the University Medical Service in order to  be able to react quickly, if necessary. In constructive discussions with our  Staff Council in recent weeks, we have succeeded in clarifying important  parameters for the coming months. In the following, I would like to briefly  inform you about these conditions:

On-campus teaching and infection protection

As you know, we want to offer significantly more courses taught on campus.

Direct contact with the teaching staff, but also with fellow students, is  indispensable, especially for first-year students, and for international  students as well. At the same time, we must do everything possible to  prevent the University of Tübingen from turning into an infection hotspot at  the start of the lecture period. We have developed a comprehensive hygiene  concept for the university buildings in order to reduce the risk of  infection to a minimum. We will ensure strict adherence to safety distances  and regular ventilation and will introduce a university-wide mask  requirement. We will also intensify cleaning and disinfection.

However, this concept can only work if all members of the university are  also aware of their responsibility outside the university buildings and act  accordingly. Recent experiences have shown that it is enough for a few  people to disregard the everyday rules of handling the coronavirus to cause  protection concepts to fail. In the coming weeks and months, it is above all  our behavior in the private sphere that will play the most decisive role. I  would like to ask all teaching staff to make this clear to their students  again and again.

Allow me to make one more comment on the subject of on-campus presence: We  should all aim to offer students the best possible lectures and classes  despite difficult conditions. In this regards, digital teaching formats will  continue to play an important role in the coming winter semester.

Nevertheless, even those who teach in online formats must be present in  Tübingen during the lecture period. Students and colleagues alike can expect  that the teaching staff in particular will fulfil their entire range of  tasks and obligations on site.

Teaching and learning on Saturdays

As you know, our concept for a partial return to on-campus teaching in the  winter semester includes the option of also using Saturdays for teaching  classes. The university management and the Staff Council have now agreed  that the following aspects will be observed:

  •  On Saturdays, mainly block courses will be offered. Thus, the weekends  will remain largely free of courses for teachers and students as usual.
  •  Work on Saturdays is by mutual agreement only.
  •  The respective superiors are requested to consider family tasks of their  employees who are working on Saturdays, as well as voluntary work or further  training.
  •  Despite work on Saturdays, a five-day working week will be observed. It  will be ensured that the employees concerned have two days off in a row,  unless the employees themselves wish to arrange this in a different way.
  •  If these conditions are not observed, those affected can turn to the  following contact persons: The Vice-president for Academic Affairs, the  Executive Vice-president, the respective deans, the head of the Student  Affairs division or the Human Resources section. In addition, employees are  free to turn to the Staff Council.
  •  If students experience problems with on-campus teaching, especially with  courses on Saturdays, please refer them to the Student Counseling Service.

Home-office/ working from home

The extensive regulations for working from home that were introduced during  the lockdown phase have expired at the beginning of August. Nevertheless,  there might always be situations in which it is appropriate and sensible to  work from home, e.g. when an employee or a person in their household shows  the typical symptoms of COVID-19 and is suspected to have an infection. In  this case, the person concerned should stay at home as a precaution until  the suspected infection is clarified by a medical examination. Such a  precautionary measure serves the protection of all university members.

In this case, employees are nevertheless obliged to do their work from home,  provided that the respective technical and organizational requirements are  met. This type of case-by-case work from home can be done on an hourly or  daily basis and can last up to four weeks at a time. Those affected should  contact their respective superior and discuss the expected scope and content  of work done from home. Employees can then submit an application for “case-  by-case work from home” (Fallweise Arbeit von zu Hause), which is forwarded  to the Human Resources section after approval by the superior. The  respective agreements and forms can be found at https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/128093#c893047 (intranet-login required).

In addition, employees who work in areas where flexitime applies have the  option to log in to the electronic time recording system online when working  at home or teleworking and record their hours worked there directly. This  requires a VPN connection to the university network from home, which all  employees can set up themselves. For instructions, please refer to the IT  center’s webpage https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/2178

Staff outings and Christmas parties

There’s more to life at the university than research, teaching and office  work. For many of us, the social exchange with colleagues is very important  as well. Given this fact, I fully understand your enquiries whether staff  outings are now permitted again or whether team Christmas party can be  planned this year. Even though it’s hard for me to say this, I must ask all  of you to refrain from joint social activities for the time being. The virus  does not forgive negligence, and we cannot afford to have entire work groups  or departments fall ill or be sent into quarantine due to individual cases  of infection.

The state of Baden-Württemberg will soon publish a special corona directive  for the universities. We will inform you about its content and effects on  our university in the coming week.

We all don't know what the coming fall and winter will bring. However, I  think the phase that lies behind us has clearly shown that the greatest  strength of the University of Tübingen’s members is their willingness for  dedicated involvement and cooperation. This Tübingen spirit, combined with a  high degree of flexibility in the face of rapidly changing challenges, has  got us through the last few months very well. Please keep up this attitude!

We will surely need it again next semester. Many thanks for your  extraordinary commitment!

Yours sincerely,

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler
(President)

Update on teaching in the winter semester 2020 (23.07.2020)

Dear colleagues, dear all,

In the last few days we have received a number of enquiries about attendance versus online teaching in the coming winter semester 2020/21. The reason for this was the Rector's letter of 17.07.2020  on the subject of "Preparation for the winter semester 2020/21", which gives presence teaching in the coming semester a slightly higher priority than the faculty's previous plans.

We would like to provide you with the following information:

  • The faculty is keeping to the planning status of the end of June: attendance lectures are to be held mainly for Bachelor first semesters and partially for Master first semesters.
  • In addition to this, individual (small) courses can be held live and in person where it seems didactically appropriate. These courses should preferably be held in non-centrally administered rooms of the institutes (while maintaining the hygiene concept and distance regulations). If necessary, we can still accommodate individual events in the centrally allocated slots/rooms. We will coordinate this with the institutes in the next few days.
  • Events with more than 50 participants should always be held online and asynchronously.
  • As described in the mail from the Rectorate, all attendance events and all online events that are only synchronous (Note: you should always keep a recording for asynchronous use in ILIAS) should be carried out in 60-minute slots, regardless of whether they take place in centrally administered rooms or in the institutes' premises.

Regarding the allocation of slots in centrally administered rooms, we kindly ask you to be patient for a few more days. We will distribute the centrally allocated slots among the institutes. Further planning will then be carried out decentrally at the institutes.

We have also received an enquiry on the subject of shared seminars and the effect on teaching load. We would like to inform you that the planned 2 SWS of teaching hours will remain. If attendance courses have to be split, this can be credited to the teacher’s teaching load, but the additional teaching input must be created by deleting electives, etc. We therefore ask you to give preference to online teaching in case of doubt.

If you have any questions, please contact studiendekanatspam prevention@wiso.uni-tuebingen.de.

With best regards

Josef Schmid

Teaching in the Winter semester (15.07.2020)

Dear colleagues, dear all,

planning for WiSe 20/21 is underway and fundamental university-wide decisions have been made. These will also be communicated centrally, but probably not before the end of the week. Therefore, the dean's office decided to send around this notice ahead:

The aim of these decisions is to - under the conditions of scarce space and health care/risk minimization - organize a mix of online and face-to-face classes in such a way that teaching in the next semester can be delivered successfully. When teaching "on campus/in person", it is vital to always adhere to the safety regulations (especially 1.5 m distance, breaks to ventilate the room, names of participants must be recorded for each session).

To comply with these conditions and with the Rectorate’s specifications, the following must be adhered to in the view of the Dean's Office:

  • All (!) lectures/events with more than 50 participants must take place online - ideally asynchronously or, in case of synchronicity, with an asynchronous option.
  • Seminars/tutorials etc., especially for first-year students and other important interactive events can be held primarily live and in person. The overall number of rooms we will require based on the room requests that have been made to the Dean's Office or the School of Business and Economics in June has been approved. To cope with the total volume of room requests, rooms will be allocated in one-hour time slots (60 min each) and teaching will be held Monday to Friday from 08-21 and on Saturday from 08-18.
  • Within the framework of the regular report on the amount of time spent teaching (Deputatsmeldung), it is assumed that 60 minutes spent teaching (as per the new time slots) will be increased through additional online offers (consultation, exercises, reading etc.) in the equivalent of 30 minutes to correspond to the usual teaching load of 2 SWS.
  • The following time slots are set: 08-09, 09:30-10:30, 11-12, 12:30-13:30, 14-15, 15:30-16:30, 17-18, 18:30-19:30, 20-21.
  • Following these time slots there will be 30-minute breaks during which the rooms will need to be ventilated thoroughly.
  • This rhythm is also mandatory for synchronous online lectures and for courses that are taking place in decentralized rooms. In this way, coordination problems should be reduced throughout the university and changes between courses (even across faculties) should theoretically be possible. Course planning that has already taken place must therefore be adapted to the new time slots.
  • At the request of the Rectorate, the Central Administration will hopefully allocate the reported time slots to the faculties as soon as possible. The Dean's Office will then forward the allocation to the school and institutes based on the indicated room requirements.
  • In the School of Business and Economics, the time slots will be allocated to courses taking place live/in person by the Dean's Office based on the preferences that have been indicated. In the Department of Social Sciences the quota of rooms will be assigned to the institutes for allocation as the course planning is decentralized.
  • Should individual lecturers be prevented from teaching at the allocated time slot due to care-taker obligations, they should please contact the respective person responsible for (decentralized) course planning directly so the conflict may be resolved. It is also possible for lecturers to switch time slots.
  • The necessary planning implies that the information in the Alma course catalogue published today is provisional. It is advisable to include a note on the intended course format for the winter semester as well as on the provisional nature of the time slots for on site courses (this has already been included for the School of Business and Economics). Please make sure you keep your entries in ALMA up to date!
  • Courses in English-taught Master's programs or with many international participants will take place online (and asynchronously).
  • The remaining (i.e. very small) courses can also be held as face-to-face courses at one-hour intervals (see above for the time slots), depending on the availability of decentralized rooms. Please note that due to the 1.5 m distance rule, space requirements are high. The lecturers or organizers are liable for compliance with the safety regulations. Permission to hold the event live/in person is not (no longer) required for these events (Status today).
  • Excursions and the teaching of sports practice are exempted from this regulation. For all these events, application to and approval by the Rector is required.
  • For PC labs the above rule applies (time slots as specified above, distance) as far as weekly events are concerned. We are currently trying to obtain additional licenses for STATA.
  • It remains that online teaching is more predictable, especially in case new restrictions should be implemented (e.g. in the context of a potential second wave of infection). Please consider an exit strategy when planning face-to-face events.
  • Kindly ensure that your entries in ALMA are kept up to date (although the course catalogue is not yet available).

Thank you for your immense effort invested in teaching!

Best wishes,

Josef Schmid (Dean), Taiga Brahm (Dean of Studies), Colin Cramer (Dean of Studies)

Please find the hygiene concept of the university here: https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/university/information-on-the-corona-virus/  

Information by the Dean before Easter (09.04.2020)

Dear colleagues,

we are near Easter, Corona continues to rage and the information situation for the university is still often unclear.

I assume that we will not yet be able to start presence teaching on April, 20th. and that we should prepare ourselves for the fact that we can/must deliver online teaching by mid-May. If necessary, the online events that have already been prepared beyond that date can still be continued by lecturers when we resume presence.  This means that there will not be any problems with extra work or teaching duties. There may be exceptions for (individual) exams and small events, but the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts has not yet announced any such exceptions. What is fairly certain, however, is that lectures in the winter semester will not begin until November 1.

ZDV has now bought a large number of Zoom licenses (edu; for up to 300 participants) and we have registered the orderers there. Therefore all users will receive a registration email soon. But there are cases of sickness in ZDV too and technically this is not easy to implement. But it is coming! So please do not order zoom licenses anymore. The faculty will not refund them. Zoom has - I have been pointed to this several times in the meantime - some problems regarding data protection, but the purchase has been agreed with the data protection department and can be "tamed" by careful use and appropriate settings. The use is always voluntary. Alternatively another platform can be used. ILIAS is also being massively expanded at the moment. But also here the mentioned problems and the promise that everything will be up and running by April 20th at the latest apply.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that the form of the supplementary exam (Nachklausur) from the previous winter term cannot simply be changed  freely. It must be in the same form as the main exam! Therefore we currently assume that these exams will take place during the semester (probably during the holidays at Whitsun, June 1st to 7th).  Exchange students are excluded from this rule (they may be provided for in the way that is necessary and reasonable). 
We have already announced that the forms of examination can be made more flexible for the summer term that is now beginning. Please inform the Examinations Office by sending a short e-mail for your courses.

Please keep checking our and the university websites. We will do our best to update and supplement them.

Best regards and stay healthy

Josef Schmid, Dean

And another tip: If you don't have a camera at home, you don't have to buy an expensive one, but can use your smartphone for it with the DroidCam app. This unfortunately doesn’t work with “Rundum Sorglos” PCs.

Further information on digital teaching from the dean's office (02.04.2020)

Dear lecturers,

We would like to give you a few more important notes and information regarding the conversion of your courses to digital teaching:

ALMA

The summer semester will begin without any attendance contacts. Students must first be informed RAPIDLY WHEN their course starts and later WHERE they can find the digital course offerings in the learning platforms. Please make sure that this information is successively posted on ALMA with appropriate course links.

ILIAS

It has already been recommended that the e-learning offers should be consistently provided by ILIAS. Under the following link a "How to for digital teaching" was posted: https://ovidius.uni-tuebingen.de/ilias3/goto.php?target=cat_2368738

There you will find brief instructions on the tools for VIDEO RECORDING as well as on further tools for digital teaching under the keywords PROVIDE CONTENT, COMMUNICATE, COORDINATE AND ORGANISE, LEARN and TEST.

At the moment an open cast streaming infrastructure behind ILIAS is being built. With this asynchronous streaming-on-demand service, the anticipated large number of videos or screen casts/records should be able to run under reasonable conditions of use.  Therefore the ILIAS representatives urgently request not to upload any pre-produced films to Ilias at this time and to wait for the start of Open Cast.  Please check www.elp.uni-tuebingen.de/lehre from time to time.

Synchronous and asynchronous formats

Synchronous communication via video conference offers great potential for communication between seminar participants. Since the quality of the Internet connection of all participants may not be guaranteed, we ask you to ensure that students also can follow the course of lectures without participating in a video conference in such a way that successful participation is possible. Recordings and screencasts can be used for this purpose. Lectures that are streamed can, for example, also be made available offline for a certain time.

WEBEX and ZOOM

For synchronous formats WEBEX represents a free (and better data protection) alternative to ZOOM. A campus license is available for this. Please contact webex-admin@zdv.uni-tuebingen.de if you want to apply for an account. Or enter "password forgotten" during registration, wait for the mail with reset and enter a new password. Nevertheless we have ordered a considerable amount of licenses for Zoom.

Please also note the e-learning portal of the university for digital teaching in the summer semester 2020: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/174591

The university has established a central portal for digital teaching here. There you will find further valuable information on the digitalisation of the various teaching formats. Please check regularly. Also on our website https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/174567

We would like to thank you for the effort you have made to familiarise yourself with digital teaching at such short notice and to get your teaching off the ground under these uncertain conditions.

Best regards

Josef Schmid, Dean
Taiga Brahm & Colin Cramer, Deans of Studies

Information on teaching and exams (25.03.2020)

Dear colleagues and students of the WiSo-Faculty,

The current crisis situation presents us with immense challenges for the coming months. The aim of this letter is to send out the signal that we are doing everything possible to provide online/remote teaching in order to enable our students to earn a sufficient amount of ECTS-credits.

I am optimistic because many members of our teaching staff are currently exploring options to teach under the difficult conditions that prevail out of their own volition. We are making every effort to support and coordinate this process in the Dean's Office and, if necessary, to take pragmatic decisions with regard to formal regulations.

According to the Corona Ordinance of the state in the version of 22 March 2020, the legal situation is such that all forms of study at the universities are suspended until 19 April 2020. However, online offers are exempted from this regulation - and explicitly encouraged by the faculty. There is a danger that the closure phase will be extended and that alternatives will become even more important.

Changes to course offers should always be announced via alma, where you are welcome to refer to the pages of the department that offer more detailed information. So please send a short info text to those who maintain alma in the respective institute/subject.

Voluntary individual exams that are conducted online are also a possibility. (In case of technical problems, the exam will be cancelled without consequences for the examinee).

Due to the closure and suspension of the university, the libraries and due to supervision tasks, the deadlines for submission of term papers or BA/MA theses will be extended. If the submission date of the paper lies within the period from 16.3. to 20.4.2020, as a rule the processing time will be extended by five weeks without the need for submitting a request. This also applies if the processing time started before 16.3. and the submission date is after 20.4.2020. (If necessary, the deadlines will be extended accordingly in case of further closures).

As always, individual applications for an extension of the deadline in the case of special situations can be submitted in addition to these general extensions in the usual manner via the Examination Office / Examination Committee. Correction is of course facilitated if the papers are submitted earlier. Papers can be handed in via e-mail. In the case of final papers (Abschlussarbeiten, MA theses), the regulation to submit a printed version remains in effect.

We currently have no solution for examinations in large courses / mass-examinations. Regulations for state examinations are made by the responsible authorities.

The following considerations should be taken into account as a framework for the large number of online course offers that will be necessary:

  1. it will not be possible to provide interactive / live content for 27,000 students in the livestream for reasons of network capacity. We can only implement an emergency programme, which means that we cannot expect all of our course offers in the summer semester will meet our usually high standards when it comes to online teaching. Therefore, we ask you to use recordings as far as possible and to only synchronize parts of the digital content to conserve network capacity and make the content accessible to all students. E-mail and telephone should also be used for feedback as they are considered more stable.
  2. it is important to optimise offers so that students may acquire the ECTS they need. This is more conceivable in lecture formats than with courses that incorporate interactive elements. Since practice courses are not conceivable without in-presence session, the theoretical parts of courses should be offered in advance while the practice courses should be held later during the semester, ideally in a condensed format.
  3. if necessary, also fall back on the "good old" textbook as an online version or order additional textbooks if this is helpful.
  4. regulations in the module handbooks (e.g. for examination formats) should be handled as flexibly as possible in this emergency situation and in the best interest of students.

We are currently setting up a page in the dean's office with tips for online teaching: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/174567, see also https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/174405.

At the same time, we are putting you in contact with staff that has experience with teaching in digital formats. They will be available as mentors if necessary. For some large lectures there is also the possibility of recording with TIMMS. If you need this, please contact Sabine Dann at studiendekanat@wiso.uni-tuebingen.de.

Please note that the situation is still changing rapidly and keep yourself - and us - informed. Please also pay attention to the more detailed newsletters and online information.

United we can achieve a lot. Let us try our best!

Best regards

Prof. Dr. Josef Schmid, Dean
Deanery of the WiSo-Faculty
07071-2072992 dekanat@wiso.uni-tuebingen.de 

PS: Due to the different regulations and study conditions, this information is provided at faculty level.

Online teaching in times of Corona

Letter of the Vice Deans of Academic Affairs as of March 16, 2020:

Dear lecturers of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences,

in Baden-Württemberg, the Ministry of Science has decided to suspend teaching in attendance until April 20, 2020. Further developments are dynamic and unpredictable. As a consequence, we would like to share our thoughts today on how we might be able to continue teaching at our faculty in an efficient way, even under the assumption that it will not be possible to continue teaching in class beyond this date. Therefore, we would like to present some possibilities of how you could run your lectures and seminars in the summer semester using digital technologies even without the physical presence of all participants.

For examinations in the winter semester, the currently communicated rules of the University of Tübingen apply (see https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/172005). These exams are based on voluntary participation on the part of the students; a withdrawal is possible in a simplified way by e-mail (for further information see https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/120435 and https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/129098). This information status is also subject to change at any time.

As of today, the start of the attendance courses is postponed by one week, i.e. in the first week of lectures it is advisable to address the students via online teaching (see here). Compact seminars are not available until April 20, 2020 and should be converted to online teaching if possible. For the summer semester, please also consider alternative forms of examination (e.g. formative assessment) where possible - even beyond the information in the module handbook - in order to be able to guarantee examinations for students.

Regulations of the university, the state or federal government or on a European level are above these faculty-internal recommendations and must be observed as soon as they are announced. We kindly ask you to help us to ensure that students and colleagues react to the changed conditions of our teaching activities in a serious, but calm and committed manner.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will inform you - as soon as possible - about a changed situation, unless other instances of the university inform you accordingly.

With best wishes for these special days and kind regards,

Taiga Brahm and Colin Cramer