№ 58/2010 from Mar 12, 2010
Freie Universität Berlin has awarded prizes to outstanding and innovative e-learning projects of the last year. FU E-Learning Prizes, each endowed with the amount of 3,000 euros, were presented in three categories during the “GML² – Grundfragen Multimedialen Lehrens und Lernens” conference held by the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS). Prizes went to four initiatives from the disciplines of history and cultural studies, philosophy and humanities, mathematics and computer science, and business and economics. This broad spectrum of disciplines reflects how widespread the use of digital technologies and new media is at Freie Universität, as stated by Peter Lange, the university’s Director of Administration and Finance, during the award ceremony. Since 2003, the university’s internal e-learning support program has funded over 200 e-learning projects. The FU E-Learning Prizes were awarded for the fifth time.
Dr. Maximilian Benker’s team from the Art History Institute of Freie Universität was awarded in the “Sustainable Integration and Networking” category for their project “Art History and Its Changing Functions.” The multimedia online learning program is an integral part of the bachelor degree program in art history. It provides students with a well-founded overview of art history from the early Middle Ages to contemporary art with a focus on the function of art. The students use digital technologies to develop a foundation of knowledge for their further studies.
In the “Multimedia Learning Materials and Learning Environments” category, the e-learning steering committee selected two groups for equivalent prizes: the group headed by Prof. Dr. Miltos Pechlivanos from the Institute for Greek and Latin Languages and Literature for their project on “Modern Greek Language Acquisition” and the group headed by Prof. Dr. Raúl Rojas at the Institute of Computer Science for the development of “Multi-touch Learning Environments for Computer Science Instruction and Classroom Teaching.” In the latter project students can work with self-developed multi-touch enabled devices to learn new programming concepts and interaction paradigms. Thus the students learn theoretical foundations of the new technology while simultaneously experiencing direct practical relevance through project work.
As part of the Modern Greek project, students practice grammatical and syntactical skills through the central online learning platform of Freie Universität to improve their understanding of texts and oral speech. For this purpose multimedia learning resources are available as image, sound, and video files.
The team around Prof. Dr. Martin Gersch was selected as the best “Good Practice Example of Blended Learning Scenarios in Teaching.” This team from the competence area “Organization and Management” at the School of Business and Economics developed a three-course approach for completing the required courses in career preparation for students in the bachelor degree program. The series of courses progresses from a predominantly in-class course to one that is partly online and partly on campus to a virtual case study seminar. Through the three courses the students first learn the methodological foundations of business administration and later test them in an almost entirely virtual scenario with an international context.
In addition, the e-learning steering committee selected Prof. Dr. Volkhard Nordmeier and his team at the Department of Physics in special appreciation of their commitment to pregnant students and students with children in developing the project “Interactive Internship Experiments for a Family-friendly University.” The experiments are online and freely accessible, and make it possible, for example, for expectant or nursing mothers, to continue to participate in their studies without being present or having to deal with toxic compounds.
Katja Egli, Public Relations, Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS), Freie Universität Berlin
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