Studying in Times of Corona

Winter Semester 2020/2021

For the Winter Semester 2020/2021 we are planning to implement a blended learning concept. This will entail an intelligent mix of online offerings and on-site teachings for all study programs. Of course, on-site teaching is subject to future infection rates and a further easing of infection control regulations. We are taking all these concerns into consideration when creating our implementation plan and they are part of the reason why we will be taking a blended approach to the next semester. Read more here.

Relevant information on modules and courses, teaching formats, examinations and more

The lecture period for the winter semester 2020/2021 is from 2 November 2020 until 12 February 2021. The start date has been extended to provide a hybrid and well-organized semester.

We ask that you register for courses, as usual, via TUMonline from 1 October 2020 (or as specified in TUMonline). For the offer of the elective modules, please check your curricular support in TUMonline, which lists all courses that will take place. We ask for your understanding, that not all planned courses are suitable for digital teaching and therefore a few planned courses were cancelled. For help in navigating TUMonline, please check our manual on course planning and scheduling.

During the summer semester 2019/2020, to the best of their ability and with exemplary support from ProLehre Media and Didactics, all members of TUM teaching staff have prepared synchronous and asynchronous online courses using electronic resources. We will do everything we can to ensure that our mutual collaboration and interactive exchange with the help of electronic teaching formats runs smoothly this winter semester too. Please support our lecturers by actively participating in chats, quizzes and synchronous sessions, as well as by thoughtful engagement with the material provided to you in the form of video sequences.

Each lecturer decided individually, how his or her class is structured and which teaching format suits the course best. Your central sources of information are Moodle and TUMonline for each course. Many courses will use Lecturio recordings combined with other teaching formats; others will be streamed live or will be prepared in advance and made available in video format via Moodle. Information on exercises and tutorials are given under the respective module in TUMonline.

All courses of the TUM School of Management with a limited number of places, for example (Advanced) Seminars, (Advanced) Topics and other limited courses, were distributed here. Free capacities will be assigned by the respective chairs. Information on the procedure are provided in the course description under Course Criteria & Registration. Please contact the chair only, if there is no information given on the distribution of free places in the course description.

Handing in your thesis

Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to hand in your thesis personally. Therefore, the following rules apply until further notice:

The thesis is submitted digitally to grademanagement@wi.tum.de. The digital submission is considered as submission date on time.

Please remember: The declaration of authorship must also be signed in this version – a digital signature is sufficient! In addition, please fill out the permission to view the thesis form and send it with your work.

Important: The digital submission does not replace the submission of the 3 printed copies. It is fine if the printed versions arrive at TUM School of Management after the official submission date. However, we advise you to make the delivery within two weeks, latest.

Please send them to us by post. Feel free to use the address label in our download area.

TUM School of Management

Grademanagement

Arcisstr. 21

80333 München

You can also hand in your thesis at the main gate. However, out of consideration for our colleagues, we would like to ask you not to do so.

General information regarding the final thesis as well as all necessary forms are available under the caption “FINAL THESIS” in the download area of ​​our homepage.

Extension of the thesis’ deadline

If you have experienced delays in the completion of your thesis due to the current restrictions, please contact your Examination Board via pruefungsausschuss@wi.tum.de.

Please submit a covering statement to the Examination Board explaining the grounds for your extension (guidelines: English/German). In addition, please fill out this form (English/German) and have it signed by an authorized person at your supervising Chair (usually Chair holder). This is to confirm that he\she is in agreement with the reasons you give and your proposed new submission date.

Due to current restrictions, all necessary forms may be signed and submitted digitally.

We ask all students of the Bachelor and Master in Management & Technology in Munich with a specialization in technology to register in TUMonline for the respective courses. More information on the teaching format will be given in TUMonline and Moodle.

More information from the respective faculties can be found here:

All information regarding taking a leave of absence can be found here.

Making full use of the creative potential of students to develop innovations for dynamic, future-oriented teaching – that is the goal of the TUM Future Learning Initiative (TFLI).

Numerous students have developed ideas, worked out proposals in teams or individually and found creative solutions for improvements in studies and teaching. 13 contributions made it to the final.

 

 

Due to the current situation, we have decided to cancel our Student Visiting Hours. Instead, we offer consultations via phone or, if necessary, online. You can find our contact details and the times of phone consultation here.

Please note that TUM will remain closed to the general public until further notice.

Due to the current restrictions in university operations, we currently cannot make any statement as to whether it will be possible to move to Germany and start a degree program in the winter semester 2020/21. As already mentioned TUM is currently planning a “hybrid winter semester” in which we combine digital teaching formats with face-to-face instruction. For our study programs, it is generally possible to start your studies online. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to take the exams online. Please keep in mind the regulations of the study progress (can be found in your program-specific academic and examination regulations, downloadable here.

If you are not sure whether you can make it to Munich in time, you may consider to postpone your study start. You can find more information here.

For our incoming exchange students the TUM Global & Alumni office has collected some answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning the Coronavirus situation. Please find a summary with that information here.

University Library in Munich:  The digital services are fully accessible, on-site services in our branch libraries are being gradually expanded. Workspaces at the university library can now be used provided you register in advance.

LIV in Heilbronn: Find more information here.

The TUM Language Center will offer online courses in 17 languages and other services. Find more information here. If you are an international student and interested in learning German as a Foreign Language click here.

IMPORTANT NOTE

It is of the utmost importance to us to protect you and the public in these extraordinary times. Please note that you must contact krisenstab-coronavirus@tum.de with a brief description of the circumstances and, where applicable, the contact details of the person in question in the following cases:

  • Cases of infection and suspected infection (persons with symptoms, especially involving previous contact with infected persons or return from risk areas)
  • Contact persons of confirmed COVID-19 patients
  • People returning from a risk area
  • People in quarantine (including after travel)
  • Persons, who are not allowed to travel home from abroad due to safety regulations
  • Employees having to remain at home to care for their children who are no longer permitted to attend childcare facilities or schools due to a possible infection with COVID-19

(Please check accuracy on the TUM info page.)

We wish you and your families continued health and hope to see you all safe and sound in the near future.

Studying from home

COVID-19 presents us all with new challenges. Thus, we would like to offer support to help you get along well during the summer semester, despite the changed circumstances.

Meet fellow students & alumni with “Mystery Coffee” 

Is this your first semester at TUM? Are you new to the city? Or are you just looking to meet new people, but can’t leave your home because of Corona?

We’re excited to introduce “Mystery Matching”!

Mystery Matching is a simple online tool to meet new students from the TUM School of Management, even in times of online teaching. You can easily meet fellow students from your study program, students from other TUM programs or get in touch with exchange students. Sign up now and use your TUM E-Mail address.

For the Campus Munich: https://tum-som.mysteryminds.com/

To Straubing students: You can join the Munich students and use the link above.

For the Campus Heilbronn: https://tum-heilbronn.mysteryminds.com/

Collection of helpful counselling services

ProLehre: Studyskills

Are you wondering how online learning from home can actually work well? The Learning Competence Team at ProLehre | Media and Didactics has put together a collection of helpful tips for successful online learning – from workplace design to time management. In addition, you can access a virtual workshop and several consulting services.

TUM4Health

Do you sometimes ask yourself how you are supposed to get through your studies “healthy”? On the pages of the student health management system TUM4Health, you will find not only information on exercise and nutrition, but also hints and advice from students for students in times of Corona.

Boosting your mental strength for studying

Would you like to receive further training in the area of personality development & self-management? All workshops in the area of self-competence and TUM4Mind are available to you in virtual form, combining input by experienced trainers with interactive exchange within the group.

Academic Coaching

Do you need continuous support during the semester, e.g. to improve your handling of high performance requirements or to get a grip on chronic procrastination behavior? You can choose between individual advice and group settings for learning and examination coaching.

Psychotherapeutic and Psychosocial Advisory Service

Do you need support with regard to mental challenges or study-related problems? The Psychotherapeutic and Psychosocial Counseling Office of the Munich Student Union is available for individual telephone counseling sessions. In addition, the Munich Student Union offers a variety of other services, such as general and social counseling.

Student Council TUM SOM

The Student Council TUM SOM cares about you! Do you have questions regarding your studies, you would like to ask fellow students? Do you have concerns or some suggestions for improvement? Or do you have some cool stories to tell about your stay-at-home time? – feel free to shoot us a mail at corona@tum-som.com .

Stay updated about ongoing studies, Student Council activities, upcoming events and some fun stories – our Instagram Channel @fstumsom delivers new content every week!

What does your studying from home look like? Tell us your story!

We were curious about your experiences during these few weeks of remote studying and digital teaching, which is why, together with TUM Management Alumni e.V. we created a contest for you to share your experience!⁠ Thank you for sharing your stories with us – it surely wasn’t easy to make a decision! Here are the winners:

1st place

A creative photo production by Kiran Singaram Krishnan, Master in Management student:

“As we have moved to digital teaching, I have been missing attending lectures, and being on campus lately. TUM has one of the best in class infrastructure and robust facilities for students. The TUM logo, in general, is mesmerizing and a treat to the eyes with its blue background. I believe that perspectives are important for a photographer. In this context, to keep me close to University, I recreated the TUM logo with light, using my camera and a technique called long-exposure. Trying to stay connected to the TUM and keeping myself motivated is what inspired me to take this picture.”

2nd place

A video journal by Talayeh Shahbazi, student at TUM Campus Heilbronn:

“I believe that a student’s study life is not separated from her personal life, and that they affect each other. I made a video about my whole life during Corona lockdown as an international student in Germany.”

3rd place 

An inspiring essay by Djelleza Hoti, Bachelor in Management & Technology student:

“I decided to participate with a story written regarding the situation we are facing and how it has impacted our lives as students: “Adapting to change”.

As I dive deep in my thoughts, I turn back in time to a few months ago. I remember I was on my way home after having my Spanish intensive course at TUM, one along with two others I decided to attend during my semester break. As I was aligning my thoughts to how I would get best prepared for a French exam I would have by the end of that week, I saw a notification pop up on my phone screen, it was an email referring to the fact that no teaching activities of any kind nor any examinations would be taking place at TUM and sadly due to the Corona situation nobody knew about the time limit it would have. I guess that as we ended the chapter of the winter semester on campus, the summer one wouldn’t follow, at least not on campus and not with the same methods. We as students developed a great network throughout the first semester, we had no idea that all the summer plans scheduled with friends after long hours of study at the library, would not take place. We had so many touchpoints to go through all the semester, as international students we planned on visiting many beautiful places around Munich, apparently the world had other plans for us. As the end of April approached we did start our summer semester, but as a complete different experience from the one we had previously, we were informed that everything would be delivered online: lectures, homework, tutorials, Q&As and different workshops that would enable us to keep the interest and curiosity going. One of the most important advices that was emphasized to us was how much of a big role would self-study play on our success, the time invested in grasping these amazing opportunities and avoidance of procrastination would result in something that I do refer as, the one time that students have been given the opportunity to spend a great part of their day studying and getting the results they always aimed on having. I remember that during my first semester after getting back home I felt tired and exhausted from the many transport vehicles I had to take, I of course spent time gathering my energy back together, my sleep schedule wasn’t great since I had to wake much earlier to attend on time my morning lectures, this semester was the all opposite of it, it allowed me to have my own schedule, to plan my day based on how much productivity I would have if I would follow all the steps set to myself, I aligned subjects daily and put breaks in between that would make the whole procedure with no monotony included. To be honest, I did not expect that every subject would be so well structured, it allows you to stop in the middle of the lecture and reflect upon what was just mentioned and if you took in the information in the right way, there are many quizzes uploaded weekly which are very useful for self-evaluation and finding out where you might still be lacking. Of course, you can feel the absence of the library, lecture halls, the beautiful view that Munich has in itself, but I think that this is the time to sacrifice that part so that we can have everything as it was as soon as possible.

Zoom calls are really a thing now, it makes you stay in touch with the outside world even though locked inside. Things started slowly falling into place, I hope that the world will find its peace in the chaos created, I hope that everyone who experienced unexpected events in their lives will find the will to continue stronger than ever before, I feel like these series of events gave us a fundamental lesson, never take for granted what you have in your hands, never take for granted the time you spend with your family and friends, as they might not be next to you the next time you open your eyes, life is a gift and deserves to be treated as such. Next time appreciate the coffee break you have at campus, small conversations before attending a lecture, appreciate a walk you have through the woods, appreciate the story a book tells, appreciate art delivered to you by different channels as they are what build us and make us go through stages of life like this. I know that all students are struggling to keep up with studies at the same time they are delivered, be thankful that during those hard times nowadays there are many platforms that enable the delivery of knowledge, take some breaks when needed, take the required precautions when going outside, we showed that by cooperating we can flatten the curve. Let’s show that with hard work we can achieve the same results, let’s prepare for the day we will get back to campus, meet all our friends, professors, our beloved library and many places that play a significant role in our study life. Motivation and ambitious goals are what make us appreciate these opportunities, experiencing online studying was surely an amazing path to follow, having encouragement from different sources and articles makes me feel that we developed some new part in us during this period, some did discover a new talent, some gained new knowledge, some improved their skills, some acquired a new one, it’s all about how you handle the time given to you, it’s still okay if as a student you engaged only in studying, it’s okay to even take a break and get in touch with your own thoughts, this time is a challenge for everyone but we’re going to overcome it, until then stay safe and keep going with whatever sets your soul on fire, we are all in this together !

Former biathlete Laura Dahlmeier: From the slopes to the lecture hall

Laura Dahlmeier enrolled at TUM in autumn of last year, and her rifle and skis are currently not in use. The former world-class biathlete is a student of Sports Science in her second semester – and, like everyone else, she can only study digitally at the moment.  How she is dealing with the current situation and how she likes her studies you can read here.

How our Students are Persevering in the Face of Corona

Markus, Bachelor student in Management & Technology with specialization in Renewable Resources at TUM Campus Straubing.

It took me a while to figure out how to live with a bare minimum of social contacts (especially since my flatmate is currently living with her parents). I now have more time than ever to read, listen to podcasts and reflect on myself, and I enjoy it. Of course there are ups and downs over the course of week (which I fix by calling someone, followed by a nightly session of silly Netflix shows), but I´ve found my balance. By meditating and exercising I feel energized and motivated every day. I realized that the combination of fresh air, nature (which there is plenty in Straubing), activity and healthy eating is essential for me. Although I feel perfect, I´m looking forward to seeing everyone again.”

Imelda, Bachelor student in Management & Technology in Munich, tries to keep a healthy work-study-life balance.

“Being at home all day has made it challenging for me and, I’d say, for almost everyone around the world. During this unusual time, I am trying to maintain a schedule where I fit in my job, my project studies and my online courses as part of the new summer semester. I spend the day working on my computer alternating between work, studying, research, online meetings, and video calling with my friends and family. Maintaining a normal and healthy routine is also important, that is why I try to add yoga and some exercise into my schedule.”

Ece, Bachelor student in Management & Technology in Munich, tries to adapt herself to a new routine.

“I believe that one of the hardest things to do these days is to keep yourself motivated. I have determined goals for myself such as doing workout each day and eating healthy in order to keep myself fit. Other than that, I aim to invest time for my project studies. Besides that, I am also trying to enjoy my free time as much as I can. My family and I went to our summer house in a small city next to Istanbul. There we have a beautiful garden with the view of sea walk. Since me and my brother are studying in Munich, we can’t see our parents very often, due to that we are now trying to spend as much time as possible with them.”

Sebastian has recently completed his Bachelor’s in Management & Technology in Munich and bridges the time between his studies and career start by supporting a hop farmer in his home town.

“The current situation puts many farmers in a very difficult situation, as they can only carry out their work to a very limited extent without the help of foreign aid workers. My professional start as a consultant was postponed due to Corona, so me and two other students decided to help out regional farmers. Therefore, we are currently working in the hop gardens to guarantee the supply of our regional beer.”

Brittany, Masters student in Sustainable Resource Management at the Weihenstephan TUM Campus focuses on her mental health. 

 “I am a very social person, so not being able to be active and around lots of other people has been hard for me. I try to stay mentally healthy by focusing on creating a daily schedule and task list. I like to start my day by working out, working a few hours online for my student job, and then studying for exams. I end my day by video chatting with one of my friends or family members.”

Lina, Bachelor student in Management & Technology at the TUM Campus Heilbronn supports her local supermarket.

“At the moment I am keeping myself fit with many different workouts that are available on YouTube. I have also started learning Spanish, especially because for students, Babbel offers a free one-month trial right now. Besides, I am helping out at our supermarket in town, filling the shelves and helping at the cash register. Right now, our support is needed.”

Lenny, Bachelor in Management & Technology student at the Heilbronn campus helps his neighbor with her grocery shopping.

“I enjoy the nice weather in our garden and have started playing the piano again. I cook and bake a lot, so boredom disappears. I now meet my friends via FaceTime, instead of meeting them personally. Once a week I go shopping for my neighbor, who belongs to the risk group due to her previous illness, so that she doesn’t have to worry about possible infection when going to the supermarket. Especially during this time, we should pay attention to our fellow human beings and help them where possible.”

Arif, Master in Management student at the TUM Campus Heilbronn tries to keep his social contacts to a minimum.

“Right now I spend most of my time on a project study about the medical technology industry, which I am doing together with four other fellow students. Because of the contact ban, we don’t meet in person as usual, but do so virtually. Additionally, my work for Prof. Förderer’s Chair for Innovation & Digitalization is now only done via home office. At the moment, we have to minimize the risk of infection as much as possible.”

What has changed in your everyday life? How does your study from home look like? Where do you get involved to help?

Send us your story via facing-corona@wi.tum.de or share your story and pictures with us on Instagram! Tag @tum.school.of.management in your post with the hashtag #facingcoronatogether

VIRTUAL STUDYING AND ONLINE LEARNING

Tim Langendörfer, Master in Management and Innovation student

Hands-On Innovation from a Distance: How Master in Management & Innovation Students Made an Impact During their Practical Phase

Applying your newly acquired academic knowledge to a real-life business problem is always a challenge. Throw in the fact that, due to the worldwide spread of Covid-19, Master students at the TUM School of Management had to get accustomed to their temporary employers, colleagues, tasks, internal company structures, measures and goals entirely remotely during their 2020 practical phase – this challenge reached a new degree of difficulty this past semester. Nevertheless, guided by their Professor Dr. Elisabeth Müller, Program Managers at the TUM School of Management as well as their company supervisors, our students not only exceeded expectations under these unprecedented circumstances, but furthermore managed to make a real impact.

“One of the most essential aspects of our project work was: getting everybody on the same page“, Tim Langendörfer reminisces, who recently spent a couple of weeks focused on solving managerial problems at Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG in the department Product Management & Marketing for Indoor Products. As part of his Master in Management and Innovation at the TUM School of Management, Tim and his fellow students were given the chance to deep-dive into a real-life business context. Ultimately, this came down to conducting scientific research, determining the right methodological approach and developing a strategy including recommended actions for the company management. Specifically: developing a marketing and communication concept for Kärcher in the growing market for cleaning robots.

Needless to say, that wasn’t easy at first. “A big challenge certainly was not being able to visit Kärcher and the supporting team on site due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Instead, we conducted the whole project work virtually and via online communication solutions. That kind of digital workaround was completely new for everyone in the team“, Tim admits. Thanks to the academic program’s practice-oriented approach, the team’s overall commitment as well as the guidance provided by Kärcher, Tim and his project partner Soham were able to make the transition quickly anyways. “Initially, we were introduced to the most important people from the Kärcher robotics team and were provided with all the important materials we needed. Through the group interviews, we were then able to gather a lot of valuable information for working on the objective questions. Plus, there were weekly feedback meetings to ensure a mutual knowledge exchange. And although we were not able to be on site due to the ongoing contact restrictions, we were welcomed with open arms and received continuous support as well as information from the Kärcher team that was helpful in dealing with the specific problems assigned to us.”

Petra Kowald supervised the project on behalf of Kärcher

Petra Kowald from the department of Product Management and Marketing for Window Cleaning & Robotics at Kärcher shared Tim’s appreciation for the mutually fruitful collaboration: “I was very happy with the holistic approach the students used to come to their final recommendation in regards to how Kärcher should shape their robotic communication strategy“, she summarizes. “Both students were very motivated, focused and managed to handle their tasks responsibly, independently and without needing a lot of support or guidance.“ When asked about the long term usability of the conducted measures, Petra Kowald had this to say: “What really impressed me was the very comprehensive and holistic competitor analysis that Tim and Soham did. It was extremely broad and detailed and included all relevant topics of the analyzed competitors. Going forward, I’m sure this analysis will not only be used in regards to this project and the direct connection to the market entry of the next robot product line but for all future projects – at least as a template for future competitor analyses.“

Feedback like that, of course, acknowledges the students’ ambition to make a notable contribution during their practical phase. Without being able to go through the company’s usual onboarding process, staying in close (virtual) contact with their professor, Dr. Elisabeth Müller, was all the more important in order to achieve results like that. “I always ensure that each project work results in well-drafted managerial implications. Each student team is adding value to companies by suggesting steps that build on the analysis. Part of the managerial implications is also to discuss pros and cons of different solutions and to compare them“, she explains and adds: “My role is also to support students when methodological questions come up – for example concerning the design of a survey or about which management tool best to apply. In the end, I want to make sure that students are not overambitious and may have trouble meeting the deadline because of that. Also, for many teams the initial approach does not work out. Therefore, it is very important to stay flexible and be prepared to change plans in the first weeks of the project.“

Image: Kärcher

How did that work out for our students at Kärcher? When evaluating the process as well as the team’s recommended actions, Prof. Dr. Müller was more than happy with the results: “I was impressed with what they were able to achieve in the limited amount of time. They did an amazing job in exploring a topic that was new for them and in applying a rigorous analysis to the given challenge. Also, I was really pleased that the collaboration between Kärcher and our students provided benefits for both sides and was generally perceived as a very enjoyable experience”. When talking to Petra Kowald from Kärcher, it became clear that for her and her colleagues it was enriching to obtain an outside view. The reason for that is simple: “Because students are not aware of all internal restrictions, they can think more freely. As soon as someone with an outside-perspective starts asking questions about “why” we do something in a certain way, that pushes you to take off the “Kärcher-glasses” and evaluate things in a broader context. So when Tim and Soham imposed those questions, they enabled us to see our project and the robotic picture from a different angle.”

(Virtual) Guest Lecture for the Bachelor’s in Management and Technology

Even with the preventative measures taken to contain the spread of the Corona virus, the “Economics 2 – Macroeconomics” course for the Bachelor’s in Management and Technology still had to be moved online. An important part of the course, which has been held for years now, is a guest lecture by Franz Josef Benedikt, President of the Central Administration of the Deutsche Bundesbank in Bavaria. In order to make this annual highlight possible for students this past semester, a group of research assistants from the Chair of Economics of Innovation (Prof. Hanna Hottenrott) followed the invitation of the Deutsche Bundesbank to record the guest lecture at its Bavarian headquarters in the heart of Munich.

In his lecture, Franz Josef Benedikt focused on the (macro-)economic consequences of the Corona crisis and the effects of the protective measures on the national and international economic area. In addition to the fiscal policy measures taken by the Federal Government, such as the “Economic Stimulus and Crisis Management Package”, he presented the monetary policy reactions of the European Central Bank (ECB) in particular. The ECB has injected more than EUR 1.6 trillion in liquidity into the market with the “Asset Purchase Programme” (APP) and the “Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme” (PEPP). Mr. Benedikt stated, unequivocally, that the aim is to strengthen the financial sector to the extent necessary to enable a successful economic upswing after the lockdown.

Despite the virtual and asynchronous format of the lecture, students were able to actively contribute to the final part of the course. They had the opportunity to submit questions in advance, which were then answered in detail by Franz Josef Benedikt, thus providing the students with further interesting aspects of current economic processes and offering highly interesting insights into the operations of the Bundesbank.

During the guest lecture, Franz Josef Benedikt awarded the Deutsche Bundesbank Special Prize to Julie Delzant, alumni of the TUM School of Management, for her outstanding final thesis on “Financial Market Regulation Against the Background of Climate Policy Goals”. In her master’s thesis, supervised by Christoph Gschnaidtner and Professor Frhr. von Weizsäcker, the winner of the €2.000 award examined the effects of regulatory privileges granted to European banks in their lending and investment activities in climate-friendly areas.

Masters in Management & Innovation goes Virtual

Due to the Coronavirus, TUM School of Management is currently working in a very limited capacity. The University Presidium made this decision in order to take all necessary measures to slow down the spread of the virus. In light of these restrictions, our students and professors were able to think creatively to complete their courses ontime. 

Even though our Munich students were excited to finish their last lectures and our Heilbronn students were looking forward to their “International Management & Intercultural Collaboration I” module, all remaining lectures had to be canceled. This could have negatively impacted our Master in Management & Innovation programs in both Heilbronn and Munich. Instead, by using their creativity and critical-thinking skills, our students and professors were able to persevere and complete their modules.

Over the past two months, our Munich students worked in tandem with various companies to further develop their projects. They were to conclude their third and final semester with a presentation in their “Personal & Leadership Development” module. As presenting within a classroom was no longer an option, Prof. Holger Patzelt decided to move their course online. Our students mastered the challenge of presenting their projects via Lifesize, with flying colours! Even though some of the workshops planned for the module “Personal & Leadership Development” will be temporarily postponed, students are now ready to start writing their final thesis!

Our Heilbronn students were also able to continue their scheduled module online. TUM School of Management was able to offer the 2-week module, “International Management & Intercultural Collaboration I”, almost without interruption as Prof. Dr. Philip Maume (TUM) and Prof. Dr. Waldemar Pförtsch were able to easily pivot to digital teaching via Microsoft Teams. Lila Logistic AG was even able to present their company visit virtually; allowing our students the opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the company. 

The shared commitment to excellence by everyone involved was overwhelming and inspiring. We would like to thank our students, professors and Lila Logistic AG for so much creativity and cohesion in the face of such adversity. 

Looking back at Summer Semester 2020 – New Formats and Innovative Tools

At the TUM School of Management, our students have coped quite well with the switch to digital learning formats for this past summer semester. How about our professors? How have they adapted to online teaching? What particular challenges came with the transition to online tools, and how did their lectures differ from their regular lectures on-site? We asked some of our professors.

Prof. Gunther Friedl: “The switch to online teaching was necessary to enable our students to continue their studies this past semester and I am proud that we were able to manage it so well”, says Prof. Gunther Friedl, Dean of the TUM School of Management. “Preparing for online lectures is much more time-consuming because we first had to familiarize ourselves with the technologies. In addition, completely different didactic concepts are required, which were uncharted territory for many of us.” Overall, Prof. Friedl looks back positively on the digital formats of the summer semester: “We have had quite excellent experiences with interactive online Q&A sessions. Students asked many more questions than during regular lectures and we sometimes went into depth much more than before”. As a tip for students to make the best possible use of the wide range of material offered, Prof. Friedl recommends: “This online semester offers material for exam preparation in an unprecedented variety. The decisive factors are planning and motivation. Because the usual rhythm is missing and because there are no interpersonal contacts, it is all the more important to plan your exam preparation well. Why not arrange a weekly jour fixe with two or three other students to discuss the current exam material? Such a jour fixe could also take place in the beer garden.”

In conclusion, Prof. Friedl gives a brief outlook on the coming winter semester: “As the length of online teaching increases, it becomes more and more clear how important onsite formats are. The creative exchange of ideas and spontaneous inspiration works much better in classroom teaching. We must now bring the best of both worlds together and offer our students a learning environment that combines virtual teaching and face-to-face teaching.”

Prof. Sebastian Goerg: All in all, Prof. Goerg also thinks that the switch to digital teaching has worked well. And he is confident about blended learning formats in the future, “We have learned a lot these past few months. This will help us in the coming semesters, either to continue offering some content digitally or to expand our classroom lectures with digital content. We were already able to demonstrate some direct advantages this semester. Prof. Hottenrott and I gave the VWL II – Macroeconomics lecture together across campus boundaries. This gives the students a little more variety in their lectures and it becomes clear how, across all locations, we work together well in the department.” However, he describes: “The direct interaction that would take place in the lecture now has to take place differently. That is possible, but it must be planned from the beginning and communicated clearly. If someone approaches me after a lecture on campus, it is easier to identify and clarify the problem right away”. He therefore adapted his classes to further attention and interaction: “In my smaller course, I always had a somewhat funny beginning in my videos, so that each week students felt like watching the next video. In another seminar, we advised all the groups individually via Zoom. At the end, we had a big video conference where each group presented their research questions and designs as well as their results. In other words, pretty much the same as virtual science conferences.” In order to now prepare for exams, Prof. Goerg has some tips: “A general problem in revising the material before exams is that you only look at the materials instead of actively dealing with them. This temptation is probably even greater with the additional materials in digital teaching. Only looking at the recordings of the lecture parts again is not enough. You have to be able to take notes yourself, summarize it in your own words, do your own calculations, and understand and reproduce arguments and trains of thought. In doing so, it helps me to work things up in the classic analog way with pen and paper. The nice thing about it is that you can sit in the sun without a computer to learn for the exam.”

Prof. Hanna Hottenrott: “Even though the content of the lecture was comparable to previous years, we have adapted the structure quite a bit. We discussed best practices within the team and then clearly assigned tasks. There was a person in charge for Moodle and someone for technical aspects. The exercises in German and English were recorded by dedicated team members and there were also colleagues explicitly responsible for the Q&A videos. The questions in the lecture forums were answered directly by us professors and we coordinated everything cross-campus”, says Prof. Hottenrott. “The preparation for online lectures differs in that we consider carefully which examples we want to give and how long we want to talk about a specific topic. The lecture is therefore much less spontaneous and requires more precise planning.” As her lecture and exercise sessions were asynchronous, questions were collected in a forum and then either answered directly, or in the next Q&A video. This had the advantage that – compared to a regular lecture – there was more time to prepare a detailed answer. Prof. Hottenrott emphasizes some more of the advantages that she noticed: “A clear advantage of the instructional videos was that we were able to build up to difficult concepts slowly. The notes and additions we made on the slides during the recording were later still available to everyone. The students also found the reference to current topics, i.e. the current crisis, and the links to interesting and useful sources in the forums very useful.” Hanna Hottenrott and her colleagues offered several quizzes on lecture topics during the semester to ensure that students did not put off exam preparation for too long, but rather spread out the material throughout the semester. “Binge-watching shortly before the exam would be fatal, because that would mean lots of hours of video material”, she says. In addition, she prepared a short mock exam in which students could familiarize themselves with the details of a digital exam.

Prof. Alexander Hübner: “My concern was that the students could continue their studies this semester without any significant loss of quality. Digital teaching offers options to bridge the certainly difficult time as best as possible”, says Prof. Hübner. However, “digital teaching lacks direct interaction, so you can’t use the same slides as you would in a regular lecture.” For his lectures, Prof. Hübner therefore used short, asynchronous videos with cloze texts and exercises to encourage attention. In addition, there was a weekly quiz with bonus points and an online Q&A session for the students. Further, he says, he now includes more videos, e.g. from companies, in order to incorporate some impressions from practice. Overall, the student feedback has been positive, especially on the tailor-made videos for the lectures. Good are cloze texts and the calculations in videos, so that students have to actively participate and take notes. This increases attention, as noted by his students. “We have weekly quizzes in Moodle with bonus points and students have to answer questions about the video lecture and the exercises. This is where students that continuously put in work are rewarded,” he says.