Minister Svenja Schulze Visits RWTH Aachen

16/12/2014
Copyright: Andreas Schmitter  

As part of her tour of the NRW universities under the motto of "Successful Study,“ Science Minister Svenja Schulze visited RWTH Aachen University. The head of the AStA Student Union, Raphael Kiesel, and the Vice-Rector for Teaching, Aloys Krieg, reported on current activities at RWTH in the arena of teaching and learning; subsequently, the minister discussed the presented initiatives in individual conversations with project representatives.

Blended Learning

In 2014, RWTH Aachen started the largest self-funded teaching methods initiative at a university nationally. Its “blended learning” approach offers a mix between face-to-face classroom teaching and media-supported learning, including electronic exams, “direct feedback” opportunities in lectures, and flipped classrooms, a more interactive form of learning where students watch lectures online and use the time in class to discuss course content with instructors. According to Aloys Krieg, first experiences show that students consider the new methods profitable, as it makes their everyday study activities more flexible and effective.

Kiesel provided the minister with an overview of AStA-coordinated measures that seek to make it easier for beginning students to enter into university life and succeed in the early stages of their studies. The supervision and guidance of younger students by experienced student tutors, for example, is a success. Student tutors meet with their mentees in the induction events, and subsequent activities such as welcome lectures, the city rallye, and guided tours make it possible for first-term students to get to know both the University and fellow students.

Aachen Mentoring Model

During their studies, students receive support through the Aachen Mentoring Model. As part of the mentoring program established in 2011, students are matched with experienced mentors who offer advice and assistance. By now, there are more than 40 mentors which assist students in planning their studies and preparing for exams. Mentoring is available for all students, but the program is primarily targeted at both excellent students and those with a distinct lack of credit points. In the final discussion, Minister Schulze came to a very positive conclusion: “The academic success of students is an indicator of the quality of the university. With its mentoring model, RWTH Aachen is at the forefront in advancing teaching and learning and facilitating student success.”