E-Learning Activities and Digital Lecturing at Bergische Universität Wuppertal

The Bergische Universität Wuppertal (BUW) is involved in many projects in the field of
digitisation. A central point of contact in the field of digitisation and technology is the Centre for Information and Media Processing (ZIM). The ZIM provides centralised technical and didactic support for teachers and students. The “Bergische Universität: Network digitisation and teaching” (BU:NDLE) project has created contact persons for support in the individual faculties, who are specically geared to providing advice on digitisation in teaching. In addition, there are individual chairs that deal extensively with digitisation and teaching both in everyday life and in the university and school educational context, e.g. the VR/AR laboratory. In the following, the ZIM, the BU:NDLE project, and the tools supported by ZIM are presented.


The Centre for Information and Media Processing (ZIM) was created in 2006 from the merger of the Audiovisual Media Centre (AVMZ) and the University Computing Centre (HRZ). The merger of the two centres was motivated by the increasing digitization of all media and networking of all areas. Since then, ZIM has been the first point of contact for university accounts, equipment rental, software licenses, servers, clouds and e-learning. In addition, ZIM provides a user and media office where new didactic concepts can be designed and tested. ZIM manages and maintains the e-examination rooms, which are equipped with a total of 150 seats. A total of 300 students can be tested in two runs in one go. The ZIM also organizes workshops for further education at regular intervals. The workshops either deal with individual tools, e.g. Moodle, or with teaching scenarios in which digital aids are used. Furthermore, ZIM has its own e-learning team, which assists with questions of didactic as well as technical nature and also accompanies the projects of the teachers on request.

The University of Wuppertal launched the project “Bergische Universität : Network Digitisation and Teaching (BU:NDLE)” in 2018. This project focuses on consulting in the field of digitisation in teaching and learning, as media skills are becoming increasingly important due to rapid development. For the project, one person was employed for each faculty, who is familiar with e-learning scenarios and didactic issues. In order to guarantee the quality of the consultations, each collaborating person completes the “Digital Instructor” certicate. In addition to advising lecturers and students, the interlocking of ZIM and the lecturers is another aspect of the project. This is because ZIM is a central service and, unlike the BUNDLE staff, does not specialise in the subject-specic diculties in teaching the individual subject cultures.

Moodle is an online platform. The platform can be used by every enrolled student as well as all teachers. The login data provided by ZIM is used for login. The organisation is based on courses, whereby the courses are created on request of the teachers at the ZIM. The courses are again sorted by faculties and their structure, thus a clear structure is provided. The organisation of an individual Moodle course is the sole responsibility of the persons responsible for the course. These persons have both freedom in the organisation of the course, e.g. the choice of the method of enrolment for the students in the course, and freedom in the content. The variety of possibilities in the design of the course ranges from simply uploading files to the integration of tests, submissions and assessments to complete e-learning courses. Moodle can also integrate other digital media, such as Adobe Connect. For a tabular overview of the different ways of using Moodle, see the Table 1.

Table1Another service is the Audience Response System ARSnova. The system is free of charge and web-based. The Audience Response System is used to create sessions, where each session has its own eight-digit ID number and QR code. In a session you have either the role of the teacher or the learner, where it is not specied that a teacher is a teacher because students can also create a session. The design of a session is manifold, it ranges from querying the level of knowledge to obtaining feedback and the possibility of evaluation. Table 2 lists the various question functions and the corresponding didactic scenarios of use in the form of embroidery points. The participation in a session by the learners is anonymous. A distinction is mainly made between single-case and multi-case sessions. A single-case session contains only one of the design options, e.g. only knowledge level queries, whereas a multi-case session can use any combination of the design options. After the participants have taken part in the session, the instructor can access the statistical evaluation of all answers. Access to the evaluations on the part of the learners is only possible with the teacher’s permission.

Table2The electronic course planner (ELP) is a web-based tool to organize your own teaching. This tool was developed at the BUW in cooperation with other universities. The focus is on the planning of teaching. During planning, the content of the teaching can be directly linked to the didactic concept of “Constructive Alignment“. Thus, an improved overview of the taxonomy of one’s own teaching can be achieved. Furthermore, ELP also offers the possibility to upload materials, to record possible exam tasks and to record the reflection of the planning after the execution. In ELP’s database for digital tools you can find a short description, as well as information about possible costs and terms of use. In addition, an event can be shared, exported and other events can be imported.

Etherpad is a web-based editor program with chat function. To create a Pad, the main page is called and a Pad name is assigned. The sharing of the pad is done by forwarding the URL of the pad. No further login is required, so you have to respect the privacy policy when using Etherpad. The written text is highlighted in color, so that it is possible to track who wrote/modified something on an IP basis. With this editor it is therefore possible to create, format, split and export texts, as well as to track changes. An important point here is that Pads that remain unused for 180 days are automatically deleted. Etherpad can be integrated into Moodle, so no linking is required.

The ZIM has three examination rooms with a total of 150 workstations that can be used for e-examinations. This means that a total of 300 students can take an e-examination in two sessions of 150 people each. In order to be able to conduct an e-examination in a legally valid manner, an additional passage must be included in the examination regulations. For the LPlus system used for e-examinations an extra account is required, which can be applied for at ZIM. LPlus offers the possibility for several teachers with an LPlus account to create questions for an exam at the same time, but it is also possible to correct them at the same time. In order to get to know the procedure and handling of an e-exam before an exam, ZIM offers central test exams. The advantage of e-exams is the automatic evaluation of solutions in the context of multiple choice questions as well as the integration of additional software for the exam, e.g. compilers.

The web-based tool Mahara is developed for the design of e-portfolios. Any person with a university account can create a portfolio. Further media, e.g. pictures, can be integrated into it. Mahara is therefore very well suited for creating a seminar performance, the preparation of scientic articles, as well as for summarizing topics. A further positive aspect is the integration into Moodle, whereby the submitted portfolio can be credited as a course achievement.

Sciebo is a free cloud storage service operated by 22 universities in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The data is only stored on servers in NRW, which means that Sciebo complies with current data protection guidelines. After a one-time registration, access to Sciebo is granted either via client or web interface, the login data used is the BUW login data. The storage capacity depends on the position of a person, a collaborating person of the university has the possibility to increase his storage capacity from 30 GB to 500 GB by himself. The stored data can be shared with other people. The other person receives the right to view, change and save data. The other person can also be an external person, who then does not use his own storage capacity. The storage owned by the BUW belonging person who has shared the data with him is used. In addition, for the purpose of scientic work in working groups or institutions, you can apply for project boxes whose storage capacity can be increased up to 2 TB.

There are two different types of instructional videos, one is the lecture recording and the other is the learning/teaching video. The characteristic of the lecture recording is that normally no additional effort is needed to record the video. This variant allows students who are unable to attend the lecture to participate, e.g. by streaming. However, possible slip-ups are also recorded, but if no livestream is selected, these can be cut out in a post-processing session. Due to their length and their extensive content, lecture recordings are generally not as suitable as teaching videos, as these only cover a specic problem in 2-10 minutes. When creating learning/teaching videos, additional time is required for the conception, recording and post-processing. ZIM offers technical, didactic and spatial assistance for both types of instructional videos. For the recording of lectures there is a permanently installed system in 3 lecture halls. ZIM takes care of the recording and uploading to the corresponding website “Mediasite”, where a post-processing of the video is possible.

The recorded videos, whether lecture recordings or learning videos, can be uploaded to Mediasite. Each video is associated with exactly one person as owner, who can manage the rights and edit the video alone. To access this video, the owner must log in. This prevents third parties from viewing the video unless it has been explicitly shared. Thus Mediasite provides a secure environment for managing and editing videos. Mediasite provides a variety of options for editing videos, from simply cutting the video to including comprehension questions before the video continues playing. The finished video can then be directly integrated into the Moodle course.

With Rocket.Chat the University of Wuppertal has its own chat. It is recommended to use the chat either via web interface or via app. There are 3 different chat categories, the public, private and 1-1 channels. The login is done with the university account.

GitLab is a Development and IT-Operations System (DevOps), i.e. a site for developing,
editing and testing code. GitLab allows you to collaborate with multiple people and create public and private directories. There are two major differences to its competitor GitHub. One difference is the limitation, because GitLab does not limit the number of private and public directories, nor the number of co-workers in private directories. The other difference is in the way editing rights are handled. In GitHub, there are only “read” and “write” permissions, where against GitLab works with authentication levels by position. The big disadvantage to GitHub, however, is that it is less widely used, although it is used by major companies including NASA, Bayer, and Goldman Sachs.

LimeSurvey is a web-based survey tool, whereby the focus here, in contrast to ARSnova, is on the creation and implementation of digital scientific surveys. To get access to this tool, an extra account must be applied for at ZIM. The application can also be made by a student, e.g. in the context of a data collection for the final thesis. The advantage of LimeSurvey is on the one hand the compliance with data protection guidelines, since the server is located in NRW, and on the other hand many digital additional functions, e.g. time measurement when answering questions, as well as direct graphical evaluations for choice questions.

Anna Clevenhaus (BU:NDLE team, BUW)