The Kepler Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

The Johannes Kepler University Linz aims to build new standards in education by continuously improving and increasing the visibility of excellence.

The JKU is pleased to introduce the Kepler Awards in recognition of outstanding education and teaching. The awards have been created to support higher educational standards, inspire the integration of new technologies in the classroom, and drive excellence in education. The awards supplement existing quality criteria, such as the Ars Docendi (state award for Excellence in Teaching at Austria's public universities, universites of applied sciences, private universitieds, and teacher colleges).


The JKU Rectorate is pleased to announce a call for the annual Kepler Award for Teaching Innovation, the Kepler Award for Excellence in Digital Teaching, and the new Kepler Award for Feedback Culture and Continuous Improvement.


The courses selected by a jury of experts (see: "Jury and Presenting the Awards") also represent a proposal by the JKU Rectorate for the Ars Docendi, a state award for excellence in teaching at Austria's public universities, universities of applied sciences, private universities, and teacher colleges as offered by the Austrian Ministry of Science, Education & Research. However, the Rectorate may opt to include other courses in its proposal to the Ministry of Science, Education & Research. The Ars Docendi, opens an external URL in a new window for the respective year is generally announced in December; nominations can be submitted by the beginning of March of the following year. The Ars Docendi is awarded in the categories of learning outcome-oriented education and examination methods, teaching and digital transformation, collaborative forms of education and scholarly work, research-related and/or arts-based education, and improving the quality of teaching as well as learnability.

Category of Innovative Education – Kepler Award for Teaching Innovation

The General Concept and Criteria

The Kepler Awards for Innovative Teaching will be presented in recognition of highly innovative courses, particularly in regard to overall concept and/or key educational components. In particular, these courses follow the lines of the criteria equivalent to the Ars Docendi:

Innovative university didactics can be defined differently in each subject area and is conveyed, for example, by the use of new educational concepts, teaching methods and learning outcome orientation. The educational concept supports interdisciplinary skills and qualifications.

Student-centered teaching takes different educational backgrounds and levels of education into account as well as the learning and study conditions for an increasingly heterogeneous student body stemming from various walks of life. Students are not only actively involved in creating and implementing courses, they are also actively encouraged to acquire individual skills. The educational concept includes inclusion aspects as well as raising awareness about social inequalities and their impact.

Educators base their pedagogical concept on pre-defined competence profiles and learning goals as well as learning outcomes. The lessons are based on a structured, competence-oriented concept that students can understand at all times. Special emphasis can be placed on combining theory and real-world applications of the content that has been taught, meaning that the educational concept demonstrates correlations between scientific/academic theories and methods and professional, real-world applications.

The course complies with the principles as outlined in the Bologna Agreement (for example, workload, a competence-oriented design when it comes to creating learning modules), and incorporates international findings and developments (internationalisation@home), encouraging students to look beyond their own horizons and think outside-of-the-box.

The award will be presented to two courses.


Category Digital Education – Kepler Award for Excellence in Digital Teaching

The General Concept and Criteria

Entries must contain elements of the following in order to qualify and be considered:

The following criteria should distinguish nominated courses from those nominated for the Kepler Award for Teaching Innovation:

  • The course is characterized by its innovative organizational focus (not content) on "digital teaching", "e-Learning", "blended learning" and/or "remote learning".
  • As the course is organized digitally, students who work full-time or part-time can complete the course.
  • The course's digital technologies can also be transferred to other courses.
  • The learning requirements extend beyond mere knowledge transfer and are characterized by teaching digital, creative, critical and/or problem-oriented thinking.
  • The course's learning objectives and the form of grading are coordinated in synch and in line with the curriculum's qualification profile.
  • The course extends beyond a "a teacher-centered lecture" and encourages active participation and learning.
  • During the semester, students regularly receive proactive feedback about their learning progress from course administrators.
  • The course's evaluation criteria are fair and transparent.
  • All of the course information is available and up-to-date in the JKU course catalog.

Note regarding lectures: Even though it is more difficult for lectures to meet this criteria, we are actively encouraging nominations for lectures. The criteria will be taken into account when evaluating the nomination.

The award will be presented to one course.


The Improved Teaching Category - The Kepler Award for Feedback Culture and Continuous Improvement

The General Concept and Criteria 

The following criteria should distinguish submitted nominations from those for the Kepler Award for Teaching Innovation:

  • The educational concept over the past few semesters should demonstrate having evolved and progressed.
  • The use of (eventually more than one) feedback sources.
  • The extent & quality of communication regarding feedback and improvement.
  • The extent & quality of attention to feedback and implementing corresponding and pertinent changes.

One course will be presented with the award.



Courses eligible to be nominated must have been held for two semesters preceding the call for proposals and must be mandatory in the regular curriculum (source curriculum).

Please submit teaching award nominations by e-mail to: by December 1, 2022. The proposal must include:

  • The category (Kepler Award for Teaching Innovation, Kepler Award for Excellence in Digital Teaching, or Kepler Award for Feedback Culture and Continuous Improvements) for which the proposal is being submitted
  • The course title and course number at the JKU
  • The name of the course instructor
  • The semester the course was held
  • The reason for submission - 3 to 5 supporting points and arguments, max. 1000 characters


Those authorized to submit nominations include:

  • Students, via the JKU Austrian Student Union and its sub-organizations (students can submit proposals to the Student Union, which can then submit the nominations; a maximum of three courses per major may be nominated in this manner).
  • JKU faculty members who would like to submit their own course for awards consideration
  • JKU faculty members who would like to submit a colleague's course for awards consideration
  • Institute Heads
  • Studies Commission Chairpersons
  • Subject-Area Spokespersons
  • Deans

If a third party would like to nominate a course for the award, the course instructor must agree beforehand. The course instructor will be asked to provide the jury with the required course information.

The Jury and Selecting the Award Recipients

Once the Vice-Rectorate for Academic Affairs conducts a formal preliminary review to check for completeness, a jury of experts consisting of one Senate member per curia, two representatives from the JKU Austrian Student Union, and two representatives from each faculty (including the School of Education) will review all of the submissions and select the award recipients; the Vice-Rectorate for Academic Affairs will then state the reasons for selection.

The Senate, the JKU Austrian Student Union, the faculties, and the School of Education are required to announce the selected jury members to the Vice-Rectorate for Academic Affairs by no later than December 1, 2022.

The awards are endowed with € 500 in prize money and will be presented as part of a joint awards ceremony.


Category Student Award - Kepler Student Award for Excellent Teaching

Core Idea and Criteria

The winner of this category will receive an award based on the best student course evaluation. The results from the final overall evaluation in which the students rate the course as a whole in one question will be considered. If the results are identical, the course with the highest percentage response will be selected. Due to the difficulty of comparison, one course per faculty and a course at the School of Education will be eligible to win an award in this category.


There is no call as the results are directly available and will be referenced accordingly.


Similar to the call, separate submissions are unnecessary. Courses that were held during the last two semesters prior to the call's publication have received sufficient student response for statistical evaluation and are a part the program's regular curriculum (source curriculum).


The Jury and Presenting the Award

A panel of experts is not required to select a winner in this category. The information was collected by the Department of Quality Management and the formal selection will be carried out by the Vice-Rectorate for Academic Affairs and students. The awards are endowed with € 500 in prize money and will be presented to the recipient during a scheduled awards ceremony.