Distance Learning: Mastering Examinations

JKU faculty member Mag. Dr. Sabine Reisinger has been able to successfully implement an online strategy with the students.

What do you find are some of the major challenges working from home?

During the past few weeks, the biggest challenge for me was moving entire in-person classrooms into online classrooms. Although the formats are similar, they require different concepts and processes in order to remain interesting and exciting for both educators and students. At the beginning, I completely underestimated the amount of work involved.

However this week we were able to conduct the first set of online exams for the Strategy course. This was as challenging for me as it was for many students. For this reason, we also offered tutorials. In this regard, we would like to thank our dedicated and committed study assistants as well as the many helpful JKU staff at IT and in the MUSSS team. They made it possible for 309 students to take their first exam in Strategy on time this week. THANK YOU!

How well does communication with students work during and outside of class?

Using Zoom, we transferred all of our classes into a virtual classroom where students (some via image, some only with sound, but everyone with name tags) meets for class. Just as in the classroom, students can ask questions, take part in discussions, and express their opinions. My observations have been that group discussions are particularly intensive during the breakout sessions in which students work on hands-on assignments in small groups.

Outside of class, communication takes place as before via Moodle and e-mail. At the moment, however, we are providing much more information and in more detail than before. Why? Many topics are new or different, the online format for a class needs more structure and clarification, and most people’s information needs are higher because of the current pandemic.

How do you motivate students to actively take part in online courses?

Short keynotes on exam-relevant topics with subsequent discussion work in an online format as well as interesting assignments in small groups and hands-on, real-world examples. If the group is large, co-hosts (co-moderators) are a plus in order to hold discussions with all of the students in small groups. For me personally, one of Zoom’s greatest features is that during a classroom session, all of the students wear name tags.

What do you miss most about the JKU campus?

The JKU campus itself, the pond, the buildings, the people. What I miss most is direct interaction with the people at the JKU. Chance encounters in the hall, short exchanges at lunch, and just a friendly ‘good morning’!

Are you looking forward to things getting back to normal on campus again?

Everyone wants to "get back to normal", and so do I. However, according to the experts, it will be a new "normal" for all of us. We have a unique opportunity to change and redesign many things. We can use what we have learned during the pandemic to make "normal operations" better than they were before. I am already looking forward to it.