Digital teaching and learning
The ZHAW encourages digitally supported teaching, learning and testing. We use a variety of e-learning tools and platforms in our teaching in didactically sensible and flexible ways. The Blended Learning Unit facilitates digital teaching throughout the university and offers consulting, training courses and support in close cooperation with experts in the ZHAW Schools.
Digitally enhanced learning is a core component of the academic programmes and continuing education courses at the ZHAW. It helps to make subject matter more accessible, allows more flexibility with regard to when and where students learn and incorporates digital tools relevant to the professional world into tertiary education. Online teaching and learning supplement face-to-face teaching when appropriate or necessary and have become all but essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To best support our students’ learning, the ZHAW provides both lecturers and students with a wide range of digital tools – from basic learning management systems and collaboration platforms through to safe exam browsers.
Our lecturers do not have to navigate these tools on their own: the Blended Learning Unit offers training and advice to all those interested in the areas of media and e-learning didactics and provides support for e-learning apps and tools. Individual ZHAW Schools also have their own e-learning experts to provide on-site advice and support.
On the “Digitale Lehre” portal (in German), we have assembled numerous resources for lecturers: instructions and scenarios for the use of tools and platforms, didactic tips for e-learning as well as other aids on topics such as digital exams and open educational resources (OER). Students can find information about the ZHAW infrastructure available to them on the “Digitales Lernen” portal (in German).
The Blended Learning unit offers a variety of courses and workshops (information in German only) at no charge to ZHAW lecturers as part of the university’s internal training programme, which since the COVID-19 pandemic is usually in the form of webinars. The courses are oriented to the current needs of ZHAW lecturers and cover technical as well as didactic topics.
Our blog “Lehren und Lernen” (in German) provides a glimpse into the innovative teaching and learning practices and activities at the ZHAW. The entries, which are of interest to educational enthusiasts everywhere, are authored by employees and students from our university. They write about what they have done and learned during their professional activities or studies and what has inspired them. Academic Affairs has the editorial responsibility for the blog.
Blended Learning stands for a didactically appropriate combination of face-to-face and online teaching. In the physical classroom, the advantages of face-to-face social interactions can be exploited, while the learning process is supported with the targeted use of digital tools during online teaching. This can include the use of learning videos and quizzes as well as interactive elements such as participating in forums or collaborating on digital whiteboards.
Moodle (in German) is the learning management system at the ZHAW. It is our main e-learning tool for making educational material and activities available to students. An international community is constantly working on further developments of Moodle as an open source platform. Moodle offers a wide range of functionalities that go beyond teaching and didactics, such as in the areas of classroom management and online examinations. The learning platform also has interfaces to other systems and tools at our university.
On our e-portfolio platform Mahara (SWITCHportfolio), the focus is on our students and their learning processes. With Mahara you can document, reflect on and present your gains in competence either individually or collaboratively: Mahara offers a secure environment in which you can easily create web pages or electronic portfolios. Their content and appearance can be designed to meet various objectives, supplemented with digital media and shared with lecturers, colleagues or anyone else.
Various tools are available at the ZHAW to allow people to work together during a video conference or provide synchronous online teaching in the form of webinars. They have been a core component of many degree programmes and continuing education courses. Possible scenarios and functionalities of the tools available for preparing webinars can be found (in German) on the “Digitale Lehre” portal.