1,511 of the current students hold a foreign passport and the majority of these will be watching online lectures from their home countries. For 50 of them, this is their first regular semester on their programme with the University of Passau. This takes the overall percentage of international students at the university to approximately 12.9 per cent, compared to 8.2 per cent in the summer semester of 2019. 104 nations are being represented among the university’s students this semester.
As a result of the enforced changes, preparations for the online teaching are now in full swing – and are going well. The University of Passau is providing both students and lecturers with comprehensive support for their work with digital formats by making specialised online handouts and aids for continuing professional development available to them. A crisis team called ‘Study and Teaching’ has been specially created and has seen students and lecturers from every faculty dedicate their time to dealing with technical didactic issues to enable the transition to e-teaching to take place as smoothly as possible and, in particular, to ensure any data security and data protection issues are given the critical consideration they require. All the faculties have been able to prepare well over 90 per cent of their courses for delivery online.
University President Ulrich Bartosch said: ‘It’s impressive how extensively our teaching has been able to be converted to the virtual format. Everyone involved has worked together extremely well. We will now monitor the online delivery carefully and will be able to provide advice on the use of such options again in the future based on the experience we gain here. Conventional teaching where students attend in person will definitely return to being the norm, however, and hopefully soon.’
When students will be able to attend lectures in person at the Passau campus again has yet to be determined, as have any measures regarding how such lectures will be held. Professor Bartosch said, ‘We will wait for the government to announce decisions concerning that and are monitoring the situation very carefully.’ He added that the university was prepared for various scenarios, including the possibility of the entire semester having to be conducted online.
The student figures currently available for the start of the semester are provisional. Overviews of student numbers, nationalities and federal states of origin will be made available on the Facts and Figures webpage.
The University publishes information on current developments resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic at www.uni-passau.de/en/coronavirus.