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Studying and Teaching

“Back on campus” – that’s Freie Universität Berlin’s motto for the 2022 summer semester! After careful planning, the Covid-19 Task Force has updated the university’s health and safety regulations to ensure that studying and teaching can continue this summer semester. 

Guidelines for Studying and Teaching during the 2022 Summer Semester

On these pages you can learn more about the regulations that apply to studying at present, as well as which counseling and support services are available if you have any questions or are having a difficult time coping with the pandemic.

Vaccination Program for Students

Please get vaccinated, as this is our best course of action in containing the spread of Covid-19 and bringing an end to the pandemic. You can find up-to-date information on the vaccination program here.

Virtual and Hybrid Events

They can use Freie Universität’s E-Learning Platform for group work: The platform provides students with virtual rooms where they can work in groups or meet with others to study together. Project groups can set up a team in WebEx to easily message each other and carry out video calls. For more information, please see https://wikis.fu-berlin.de/display/webexwiki/Webex+Teams

Please contact studierendenWERK Berlin with questions or concerns related to this issue. The following website provides extensive information and FAQs related to financial support for students: https://www.stw.berlin/en/organisation/themen/corona-faq.html

 

“Hybrid teaching” is used to refer to learning situations made up of students taking part in classes on the Freie Universität Berlin campus while other students participate online “from home” at the same via Cisco Webex, our central video conference system. At Freie Universität Berlin, we have currently planned for and approved two scenarios in line with data protection regulations (A: Hybrid lectures in lecture halls with discussion/question round; B: Hybrid seminars in seminar rooms). You can find all the information you need and regulations at the following links (in German).

A code of conduct with rules for online courses has been put in place at Freie Universität Berlin. There are different support services available to you at Freie Universität and elsewhere in Berlin to which you can turn. These services are bound by strict confidentiality policies, and your identity can remain anonymous if you choose. If you are affected yourself or have witnessed incidents, or if you are an instructor and want to learn more about the topic, you can also contact the task force at Freie Universität Berlin dedicated to preventing sexualized harassment, discrimination, and violence: Arbeitsgruppe Gegen Sexualisierte Belästigung, Diskriminierung und Gewalt (SBDG). They also provide confidential consultations in English or German.

Generally speaking, the same rules apply regarding regular class participation whether a course takes place online or on site. These rules are set out in the degree program and examination regulations for each degree program and in Section 9 of Freie Universität Berlin’s framework regulations, the Rahmenstudien- und prüfungsordnung (RSPO).

However, it is possible that student attendance may not always be adequately documented and therefore cannot be reliably checked. If this is the case, the lack of documentation must not have negative consequences for the students who have taken the course. In particular, it must not lead to students being asked to participate more actively in the program than would normally be expected of them. The module description will indicate the level and kind of participation that can be expected of students. In cases where a student’s attendance at an online teaching session can be reliably ascertained, this can be taken as an indication of whether or not they have fulfilled the requirement for regular attendance. But if their attendance has to be checked retrospectively, it may involve considerable effort given that students do not always need to use their Freie Universität account to register for a course.

In light of the above, the examining board is entitled to decide that regular attendance in an online teaching program need not be monitored and that it can be assumed to have taken place without further checks. Such decisions, however, should be the exception rather than the rule and should only be taken in cases where regular attendance cannot be reliably ascertained and/or a retrospective check would involve disproportionate effort.

Studying with Children

If you are taking care of a young child or children, if you are caring for family members, or if you are working while studying, then you can request a leave of absence or change your official status to part-time student

A leave of absence or switching to part-time status might influence things like BAföG payments or scholarships. The Social Counseling Center through the Studierendenwerk Berlin can provide you with advice and support.

The Family Service office has set up a Wiki with information for students with children. The information provided there will be updated as needed. The Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling at Freie Universität Berlin also provides counseling and support concerning your studies or if you are in a stressful situation.

Dates, Deadlines, Advising

Please contact your examination office to find out how they are currently handling requests to view records. Generally speaking, there are two options. Either you will be allowed to view your records in person (usually at the examination office) while observing the university’s hygiene regulations (wearing a protective mask, keeping a safe distance, etc.), or your documents will be scanned and sent to you electronically.

In most cases, the scanned documents will be sent to your ZEDAT university email address. Exceptions can be made only if the examination office has no doubts as to the identity of the email recipient at the address provided based on sufficient documentation.

Freie Universität has done its best to make it possible for students to continue to complete coursework since the very start of the pandemic. Credits completed will count toward the completion of your degree requirements. The 2020 summer semester, 2020/2021 winter semester, 2021 summer semester and 2021/2021 winter semester will not, however, count against you in calculating your time to degree in your major. If, during the pandemic, students were not able to take all the courses they were supposed to or could not complete scheduled assessments, they will not face negative consequences due to the circumstances. This regulation no longer applies for the summer semester 2022. You can find more information about BAföG here.

The universities are taking precautions to ensure that regularly occurring important dates and deadlines will automatically be postponed for upcoming semesters. For technical reasons, however, the semester will still appear on students’ transcripts.

You can obtain a certificate confirming your individual time to degree by accessing the Student Records and Registration Office portal under https://studium.fu-berlin.de

Semesterticket

There are several locations available at Freie Universität where you can pick up and validate your CampusCard, which includes the VBB semester ticket for public transportation. Please visit the Student Records and Registration Office website to find out which locations are available and when they are open.

If your CampusCard has been lost or stolen, you can find information on the steps to take here.

Until you have replaced your CampusCard/VBB semester ticket, you must purchase other tickets if you want to use public transportation. Reimbursement for individual tickets is currently not an option, and a certificate of enrollment alone does not serve as a valid replacement ticket. You can find more information on this topic here (in German).

Term Papers, Examinations, Final Theses

The Berlin Higher Education Act (BerlHG) has been amended to include a provision (Section 126b) on how failed examinations are to be handled for a defined period of time. This states that if you fail an examination taken between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022, then this attempt will be considered null and void.

The state of Berlin is currently reviewing this arrangement with a view to the 2022 summer semester.

For the sake of fairness, the same applies to exams taken between March 15 and 31, 2020. If the date of the exam or the deadline for a written assignment falls between March 15, 2020 and March 31, 2022, the attempt will be considered null and void. The regulation also applies to any assessments that fall between March 15, 2020, and March 31, 2022, so long as there was at least one day of work or processing scheduled for the assessment during that period.

Section 126b of the Berlin Higher Education Act also applies to bachelor’s and master’s theses as well as university assessments within the scope of degree programs associated with state examinations (Staatsexamen), such as pharmacy and veterinary medicine, in cases where the assessment is a prerequisite for the state examination itself.

Examinations that receive a failing grade because the candidate has cheated are excluded from this regulation. Similarly, this regulation does not apply if a candidate fails to submit a written thesis or show up to an obligatory examination without just cause for said omission.

If you failed an examination after April 1, 2020, but have retaken the examination since then and passed, then this regulation does not apply to your situation.

The applicable information shall be removed from the Campus Management system. You don’t have to take action unless you need an up-to-date overview of your academic performance, e.g., for an application, before your records have been updated in the Campus Management system. In this case, please get in touch with the responsible examination office. All other cases will be processed gradually, depending on the office’s workload.

If you wish to register for a final thesis, please contact your degree program and examination office by email.

The rule regarding the time period for starting a second attempt for a final thesis, which stipulates it should begin no later than three months after the results of the first attempt have been announced, was suspended until June 30, 2021. If the results of your final thesis were announced before July 1, 2021, the time period for a second attempt starts on July 1.

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding state examination degree programs. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German.

You will receive an email letting you know that your certificate is ready, at which point you should send us your current mailing address. If possible, we will then send you your graduation documents by mail.

Freie Universität Berlin is planning to return to in-person examination formats for the 2022 summer semester. Practical exams, written exams, and oral exams may be conducted in person provided that the applicable hygiene and safety measures are observed. However, some examinations will still be conducted remotely.

If it is determined that an examination must be conducted in person by a student at a Freie Universität location, there are special rules that must be followed in order to protect the health of those involved and reduce the risk of infection for all university members. These rules state, for example, how far tables must be from each other, what you have to do when you enter and leave the examination room, cleaning procedures, etc. Students will be properly informed of these rules before the examination. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

For an overview, please refer to the white paper on rules established for examinations (in German).

If you wish to postpone the date of your exam, please get in touch with the examinations office for your subject by sending an email from your ZEDAT account.

If the examination date is not mandatory (“nicht bindender Prüfungstermin”), you have the right to withdraw at short notice without needing to give reasons. However, if the date of the examination is binding (“bindender Prüfungstermin”), then you can only withdraw with a compelling reason, and your formal application to withdraw must be submitted by the relevant deadline.

The choice to take an exam through a digital format is voluntary. Students must agree at the beginning of the exam that they consent to this testing format and promise that the work they submit is their own. Students who cannot or do not wish to take the exam under these conditions will not face any negative consequences.

If an examination cannot take place due to technical issues, or if a candidate has to stop during an exam because of technical problems, the examination attempt will not count against the student. A new examination will be prepared and held within an appropriate period of time.

Digital examinations are not substitute assessments; they count as regular assessments just like an in-person exam would. That means that once you have officially started a digital exam (including online written exams), you can only withdraw if there is a strong reason to do so.

For an overview, please refer to the white paper on rules established for examinations (in German). CeDiS has created a Wiki for instructors and students with information on digital examinations and assessments (E-Examination@Home).

Freie Universität Berlin is using more or less the same software for digital exams as it is for digital teaching, namely Cisco Webex and Blackboard.

In addition, “E-Examinations@Home” has been developed as a campus-wide resource for digital assessments conducted remotely. Other examination software includes LPLUS TestStudio, which Freie Universität had already been using in its E-Examination Centers (EECs). The software is, however, being hosted on the software company’s own servers at the moment. This allows students to take exams from home. To do so, all you need to do is install the Safe Exam Browser (SEB) on your computer together with Freie Universität Berlin’s configuration file. The Safe Exam Browser prevents users from accessing other applications while the examination is in progress and effectively prevents attempts to cheat. All applications currently being used for exams have undergone the appropriate data protection test procedures. The university does not use a proctoring or surveillance system to monitor testing.

CeDiS has created a Wiki for instructors and students with information on digital examinations and assessments (E-Examination@Home).

No, you do not. In the current situation, in-person examinations are voluntary. You will not be penalized if you decide not to participate. If you do not wish to attend an in-person exam, please contact the teaching staff and/or the examinations office responsible for conducting the exam. Please note that special rules apply to exams in subjects where the degree is also a professional qualification, such as law, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

Information for Freie Universität Students Studying Abroad or Planning a Stay Abroad

If you are doing an internship abroad through Erasmus+ or organized your own study abroad, e.g., through the PROMOS program, and have questions about the current situation, please contact the appropriate contact persons for your program in the Student Mobility Office or the Career Service Office: www.fu-berlin.de/studium/international

At the moment we are working under the assumption that many Erasmus+ exchanges planned for the academic year will be able to take place. But we also anticipate that many students will have to cancel or postpone their study abroad plans. If you have any concerns about studying abroad, then please get in touch with the central Erasmus+ team for outgoing students via email at outgoing-erasmus@fu-berlin.de.

Students who canceled their study abroad plans entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic should contact the central Erasmus+ team for outgoing students at outgoing-erasmus@fu-berlin.de if they incurred costs in preparation for a trip that they never took (for example, deposit payments for accommodations or travel expenses that were not refunded). We will evaluate each case individually to see if it is possible to reimburse some or all of the costs through the Erasmus+ program.

The central mobility team is already in contact with students who plan to participate in a direct exchange or the Erasmus+ weltweit program. They are doing their best to help students make their study abroad plans possible.

Please feel free to contact us by email if you have any questions at auslstud@fu-berlin.de or erasmusworld@fu-berlin.de

These programs are currently subject to restrictions. If you want to apply for PROMOS funding, you can find more information at www.fu-berlin.de/promos.

If you want to apply for an Erasmus internship abroad, you can find all the information you need at www.fu-berlin.de/erasmus-praktikum.

When making your plans please consult the German Federal Foreign Office’s travel warnings.

More information on the impact of travel warnings for internships and study abroad.

The German Federal Foreign Office has issued travel warnings related to Covid-19 for many countries and regions. The warnings caution against travel to certain regions if the purpose of travel is not completely necessary, such as tourist trips. Travel for study abroad programs or internships abroad, however, does not count as tourism.

If you have been accepted to a partner university, an internship abroad, or a language course/specialized course, or if you are planning on undertaking another type of self-organized trip abroad outside of an institutional framework as part of your studies (e.g., fieldwork, preparation for a thesis or research paper), you can decide to take part at your own risk.

Please be sure to read the country-specific advisories issued by the German Federal Foreign Office carefully, as there may be special conditions on travel to your destination (e.g., mandatory quarantine). These may entail additional costs. If you are a German citizen, please register to be on the crisis management list. The German Federal Foreign Office has announced that it will no longer be organizing emergency flights to repatriate German citizens if the situation further deteriorates. The costs for return flights, cancellation fees, etc. will have to be borne by the travelers themselves in such cases.

Certain study abroad scholarship programs might not be able to provide funding when travel warnings have been issued, for example, DAAD programs. If you were planning to study abroad with financial support, please contact the appropriate person in the Student Mobility Office or your scholarship sponsor to find out more about the current policies.

Please check the relevant country page on the German Federal Foreign Office website regularly to keep up to date with entry requirements for your destination country, bearing in mind that these can change on short notice.

Information for Exchange Students Studying at Freie Universität

Yes, you can! The university is currently planning on holding as many courses as possible on campus during the 2022 summer semester. However, there will still be a selection of courses being offered completely through digital formats. At this time, we are not planning on offering many hybrid options. The first day of classes is April 19, 2022, and classes end on July 23, 2022.

If you enroll in the 2022 summer semester, you can take online courses offered at Freie Universität without traveling to Germany. Please be aware that there will only be a limited number of online courses and that we cannot guarantee that you will be able to fulfill your course requirements for your home institution solely through online coursework. German language courses offered during the semester will only be taught in person.

Please inform the student mobility team for incoming students at incoming@fu-berlin.de as soon as possible before the beginning of the semester if you do not intend to travel. We do not recommend undertaking an entire semester online at Freie Universität Berlin.

If you were planning on studying abroad at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2022 summer semester, you are welcome to postpone your plans and come during the 2022/2023 winter semester.

Please let us know if you do wish to postpone by email at incoming@fu-berlin.de You should also inform your home institution and let them know that they need to nominate you again for the 2022/2023 winter semester.

Please be aware of the current obligations for quarantine and reporting if you are coming from a country designated as a risk area. You can find the current regulations here.

If you want to know the specific travel regulations for entry into Germany from your country, which vaccinations are considered valid in Germany, or similar information, please visit the following websites: 

If you are required to go into quarantine, you may not visit the campus of Freie Universität during that period. You may only take part in digital classes and online exams.

Students are now allowed to enter the country to commence their studies at a German university or for study-abroad stays. You must have an acceptance letter from your host university to show upon entry. You do not need to provide documentation stating that in-person coursework is necessary for your program since universities are now regularly offering a mix of online and on-site courses and exams. You can find more information on this topic here.

Social Welfare and Financial Aid

SoliFUnd: Financial support for Freie Universität students

Financial support is available for Freie Universität students thanks to a fundraising campaign launched by researchers at our university. Students can apply for an individual, one-time payment of 500 euros. Applications must be submitted online through the studierendenWERK BERLIN website: www.stw.berlin/solifund. Applications will be processed in the order received. 

The Social Welfare Packages (Sozialschutz-Pakete), put in place by the German Bundestag in March 2020, in May 2020 and in March 2021 aim to mitigate the economic impact of the coronoavirus epidemic on citizens.

The packages include provisions for self-employed individuals, small businesses, and one-person businesses, but also for families, retired people, and social services. The packages also include measures to make it easier for people to receive basic income and other support for securing their livelihood, including children’s allowances.

More information from the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has decided that students at all levels who are dependent on financial aid under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) should not suffer financial disadvantages if classes at their educational institution are temporarily canceled or the start of the semester is postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can find more information on this topic (in German) here: https://www.bmbf.de/de/karliczek-keine-nachteile-beim-bafoeg-wegen-corona-11122.html

Studierendenwerk Berlin recommends that students who cannot take their final examination (e.g., defense of a bachelor thesis) due to the pandemic and are therefore unable to complete their studies within the maximum funding period, should submit a new application for BAföG and present an extra statement explaining the reasons for needing to extend the maximum funding period. You can find the appropriate request form here: https://www.stw.berlin/assets/sw-berlin/BAf%C3%B6G%20Corona/Antrag_Verlaegerung_Foerderhoechstdauer.pdf

Support for Instructors

The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) is providing support for instructors as they adjust their lectures, seminars, and practice sessions. Support, suggestions, and instructions for the use of digital media and technologies in teaching and research, can be found here. You can contact the CeDiS team at digitale-lehre@fu-berlin.de.