Notes on teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021

Circular mail from the Vice-President of Academic Affairs

Dear colleagues,

With this circular mail I would like to inform you about the current situation regarding teaching in the winter semester. But first of all: thank you once again for your dedication, your willingness and your extraordinary efforts to provide excellent teaching in the summer semester. Many of you mastered this enormous challenge despite multiple demands. I know that this cannot be taken for granted. The sometimes overused word "solidarity" is very appropriate here: The University has shown a high commitment to knowledge and education, and this was only possible because of the solidarity of its members.

Hopefully, you can also use the time between semesters for recreation and regeneration. This is all the more important as the situation unfortunately remains imponderable and tense. As you know, we will not return to completely normal operations in the winter semester. –But we would like to give as many students as possible the chance of personal interaction with professors and fellow students while observing the relevant infection prevention measures. Therefore we will offer on-site courses wherever possible. To this end, the university time structure has been changed. The 60-minute rhythm set for the winter semester allows for a relatively high frequency of courses (we can accommodate many courses), but also serves to prevent hazards, because the risk of infection is reduced by frequent airing and the avoidance of overlong teaching units. This again requires great flexibility and the willingness to adapt to a new situation.

And now the good news: You can freely arrange the 30-minute digital phases that are to be added to each 60-minute unit of presence. If useful, you can also combine a number of 30-minute units into longer lessons.  The following link leads to first "hands on" information, but these are to be understood as suggestions and are not meant to be prescriptive (https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/182512): Of course it is up to you to decide how you want to design these digital phases. The other good news is that Saturdays and off-peak hours are rather not used. This means: Saturdays are still available mainly for block seminars and the off-peak hours from 8pm to 9pm are not in demand. Of course, providing flexible time slots does not change the fact that the total working time remains constant: Nobody has to provide more teaching overall.

Nevertheless, the rectorate is aware that we are asking a lot from you. The winter semester will not be an easy one. But we can already say that the only way to deal with the COVID‑19 pandemic is to show mutual consideration and understanding for each other, and to take joint responsibility for a successful winter semester - also in the knowledge that the further development of the pandemic may still strongly affect our current planning for the winter semester.
There is an opportunity in every crisis: In this case, the crisis is an opportunity for more mindfulness, for more cooperation between colleagues, for more awareness that teaching is not only an individual but also a collective task. Thank you for everything you have done in the past semester to make teaching as good as possible despite the difficult circumstances; thank you for your willingness to engage in new methods and unfamiliar circumstances; thank you for your extraordinary commitment. On behalf of the entire rectorate, I wish you a good and fruitful lecture-free period. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, need further information or want to give feedback.

Prof. Dr. Karin Amos
Vice-President of Academic Affairs