100,000 Euros for Digital Fellowships

Innovations in Digital University Teaching

Prof. Jeanette Orlowsky from the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering and Dr. Lukas Wojarski from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
© Aliona Kardash​/​TU Dort­mund


Promoting innovative approaches in digital university teaching is the goal of the funding program "Fellowships for Innovations in Digital University Teaching - digiFellows", which the TU Dortmund University announced university-wide with the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW NRW) and in cooperation with the Digital University NRW (DH.NRW). Now the two winning projects have been announced.

The first funded project is called "Materialcaching - learning app for structured self-study". Prof. Jeanette Orlowsky from the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering and Dr. Lukas Wojarski from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are developing an app that sends their students on a search for materials and their manufacturing routes in the Ruhr region. The principle is similar to "geocaching," a popular pastime in which people search for small objects with coordinates or by GPS location, just like a treasure hunt.

Prof. Orlowsky and Dr. Wojarski's students work together in small groups of two to four people. First, they learn about the materials, for example steel, concrete or glass, in the course. By answering technical questions correctly in the app, they receive clues to the coordinates of the site they are looking for. They visit the site, solve further tasks on the spot and document their find with photos. One of the "material caching" locations, for example, is the blast furnace of the Meiderich iron and steel works in the Duisburg-Nord landscape park. During the visit, students learn interesting facts about steel production.

"Material caching allows participants to experience directly how materials are actually used in practice," says Prof. Orlowsky. Dr. Wojarski adds, "With the interactive game-based learning, i.e. the playful transfer of knowledge, we motivate the students in a very special way." The team that is the first to visit nine material caching sites will be rewarded with a small prize.

Portfolio work in digital form

Dr. Nina Göddertz from the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Educational Research is devoting her project "ePortfolios - Personal Learning Environment and Innovative Examination Format" to the digitalization of portfolio work in the social pedagogy teaching degree program. Portfolio work is an integral part of teacher training in social pedagogy at TU Dortmund University and is anchored here in both the Bachelor's and Master's programs. The portfolio to be compiled by the students in the Bachelor's degree consists of subject-related tasks as well as systematic and theory-guided (self-)reflection exercises from two seminars and a lecture.

Dr. Göddertz now wants to digitize this portfolio work as part of the fellowship for the social pedagogy teaching degree program. "I see particular added value here for students, because the ePortfolio allows students to integrate photos, audios or videos in addition to purely text-based content," says Dr. Göddertz. In addition, the ePortfolio enables direct and process-accompanying feedback from the teachers and fellow students and promotes the students' media competence.

Funding of both projects

Both projects are funded by the "digiFellows" program with 50,000 euros each. The program aims to promote the development and testing of digitally supported teaching and examination formats with the consistent use of digital technologies at TU Dortmund University. The projects are funded for one year. Further Digital Fellowships are to be awarded in 2022 and 2023.