Senate putting over EUR 15 million towards digital teaching

Funds to boost digitalisation in state colleges, universities and libraries across Hamburg
18 August 2020
Students at HafenCity University

The senate has earmarked over EUR 15.4 million to boost digital instruction and infrastructure at Hamburg’s state Universities, the Medical Faculty of the University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE) and the State and University Library Hamburg (SUB) in 2020, a press release said Tuesday (August 11, 2020). The entire teaching modus had been forced to go digital swiftly due to the corona pandemic. Universities and libraries have expanded their digital infrastructure, made several licences and digital material available as well as developing new digital means of instruction. The funds compensate the institutions for expenses incurred and should help fund other required measures. Hopes are now high that the investment will expand digital instruction across Hamburg in the long-term.

Pandemic driving digitisation 

"Our universities have done a great job in recent months under difficult conditions and have expanded their digital teaching offers. This requires flexibility, creativity and great commitment from students and teachers alike," said Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research and Equality. "At the same time, we have the opportunity to take another big step forward in the expansion of digital teaching. Although attendance or face-to-face events can be held in the winter semester wherever possible subject to contact and hygiene regulations, there will still be many digital teaching opportunities."

Mobile workplaces and expanding IT infrastructure

The University of Hamburg has invested in platforms for digitalised instruction and content to supplement e-exams while the University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) has invested in mobile workstations and new equipment e.g. cameras, headsets for digital courses. Interactive videos and simulations of laboratory situations are being produced increasingly for teaching purposes. Many universities have expanded their computing capacities and backup systems to cope with and save the increased volume of digital data. The TU Hamburg and HafenCity University will be among those likely to  benefit from the senate's funds.

Digitalisation on demand

The Hamburg State and University Library (SUB) has EUR 2.7 million at its disposal. However, the restrictions imposed by the corona pandemic limited the use of its materials during the summer term and prompted SUB to launch an inter-university "digitalisation on demand" service to make literature available. Investments were made in new electronic textbooks and digital research literature to expand the library’s online offers. SUB has also added a reservation section to its  website.