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Winter Semester 2020/2021 – Studying and Teaching at Freie Universität Berlin

News from Jun 19, 2020

Freie Universität Berlin has been in close contact with the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and the other universities and colleges of Berlin. Together, they have decided on some common guidelines for the upcoming winter semester 2020/2021 regarding how to conduct teaching and allow students to pursue their studies. Berlin’s universities and colleges issued a collective press release, which you can find here (in German).

Right now, no one knows for sure what to expect next with the pandemic. It is very likely that the upcoming winter semester will also take place under somewhat unusual conditions. The factors that will affect the precise planning for winter semester courses at Freie Universität Berlin are difficult to determine; for example, the state of Berlin might still issue further health and safety measures.

The main goal is to provide students with a comprehensive selection of winter semester courses, while at the same time making sure that the health and safety of all university members are not jeopardized. Current plans focus on a combination of on-site and remote courses:

  • Freie Universität Berlin is dedicated to being an on-campus university. It will continue to be a place that students, instructors, and employees can experience in person. Conversations, sharing ideas, collaborative projects, a sense of community, and communication on site are fundamental aspects of university life – this is especially true for teaching. It is very important to the university management and all those involved in the planning process to make it possible for people to return to Freie Universität’s campus, albeit under special conditions.
  • Building on experiences from the summer semester, we will continue to use digital and other educational formats in our curriculum. These alternative formats provide a certain stability for teachers and students who need to be able to plan for the future. At the same time, these tools also make it possible for us to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The majority of courses that will tentatively be held in person on campus involve courses for incoming and graduating students, courses or assessments that simply cannot be conducted remotely, as well as teaching in small groups. We are also keenly aware that international students and exchange students at Freie Universität are facing unique challenges and require special attention.

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