Learning in times of pandemic: Creating digital spaces for exchange

2020-03-23 At the Professional School, digital teaching has long been common practice in many areas - in times of pandemic with the necessary physical distance, the importance of digital learning opportunities increases immensely. This week, the new free online training series "Leuphana Home Sessions" will be launched.

This Thursday, 26 March 2020, a new digital continuing education series will start with a lecture by Prof. Dr. Jörg Philipp Terhechte on the topic ‘Do we need a new constitution?’ On two set days a week, Mondays and Thursdays at 3 pm, renowned lecturers from Leuphana will present topics from areas such as philosophy, law, theology, digital change, culture or gender. The 10 to 15 minute lectures will be available via live-stream. After the lecture, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat and to exchange ideas with the respective lecturer. All lectures will be recorded and then made available online for download. Information on the programme and on technical requirements can be found online on the website of the series


The new series is organised by the team of the Leuphana Professional School. Prof. Dr. Jörg Philipp Terhechte, head of the Professional School, talks about the new project and current challenges in an interview.

Professor Terhechte, what prompted launching the new lecture series?

First of all, our current priority at the Professional School is, of course, to ensure that our more than 1,200 students can continue their studies as smoothly as possible, without any delay or extended study periods - a task which we are well prepared for. The Professional School has extensive expertise in working with digital learning formats. After the complete conversion to virtual collaboration, our motivated team is currently actively involved in many working groups to create good alternatives for our students and teachers. At the same time, we are using this expertise in digital teaching to support Leuphana in creating appropriate digital learning formats for all of its more than 9,000 students .

However, we also have a social responsibility and must think outside the box: Many, especially older people, are currently confined to isolation at home. Leisure activities and social contacts are no longer available and by no means do all of them have the necessary employment or meaningful educational opportunities to cope with the situation. We do have the necessary expertise to create digital spaces for exchange and to initiate opportunities for people to make meaningful use of their time. In cooperation with many Leuphana divisions, which in the past have already developed attendance-based series of events on similar topics, we have therefore prepared a colourful programme. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, this will provide many people with an opportunity to further their education and to exchange ideas in a chat from within their own four walls.
Will the Professional School provide any additional continuing education opportunities?

Since we are currently converting the classroom-based sessions of our regular study programme to digital formats, there are of course also more opportunities for a taster course. In addition to attending the Leuphana Home Sessions, interested persons have the opportunity to participate in digital learning formats of the respective extra-occupational study courses at suitable times, free of charge and without obligation.
Those who are interested can even join our courses of study as guest students during the current semester. Depending on your preferences, there are various options: whether Leuphana Home Sessions, non-binding taster studies to explore the curriculum of our extra-occupational courses or even a spontaneous jump-start into further education studies.


What risks and challenges do you currently expect for the regular continuing education programme at the Professional School?
We must all be aware that compromises will have to be made in the near future. Many of our students at the Professional School explicitly wish to study on-site and now have to adjust to the fact that physical presence is not possible. At the same time, of course, the essential component of our attendance courses will remain: The personal exchange of all participants is at the heart of our digital learning formats as well. In addition, contact persons and lecturers remain available and support is provided. Services and assistance will not be reduced, they will simply be organised differently.

I would like to encourage you to consciously appreciate this as an opportunity, despite any setbacks. Perhaps the current standstill in many areas has left you with new free time capacities and it comes in handy that you can dedicate this time to your further education now and do not have to wait until classroom teaching is permitted again at some point. The switch to digital teaching is also a challenge for some teachers, so I am all the more pleased about the reports from our courses of study that there is a lot of positive feedback here and a great motivation for teachers to take on these challenges.

It is a great exciting task that we are tackling together and through which the Professional School is initiating many new impulses and developments. I warmly invite you all to accompany us on this path and to take advantage of our new digital services.
Jörg Philipp Terhechte, Professor für Öffentliches Recht, Europa- und Völkerrecht sowie Regulierungs- und Kartellrecht und Vizepräsident der Leuphana. ©Leuphana/Patrizia Jäger
Jörg Philipp Terhechte, Professor für Öffentliches Recht, Europa- und Völkerrecht sowie Regulierungs- und Kartellrecht und Vizepräsident der Leuphana.