International Collaboration @ the FernUniversität

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Digitally Competent Educators

People: Prof. Dr. Eva Cendon, Magda Zarebski (Chair of Continuing Education & Teaching and Learning)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): Continuing Education & Teaching and Learning,

M.A. e-Education



Partners: Open University of the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Anadolu Universitesi (Turkey), Universidade Aberta (Portugal)

Short description: The E-SLP Digitally Competent Educators aims to develop and foster educators' digital pedagogic competence in teaching and learning at all levels of education. The European Short Learning Programme (E-SLP) is a project about Short Learning Programmes (SLPs) on a European level for continuous professional development and lifelong learning, which consist of courses with a common subject focusing on specific needs in society. The E-SLP can be completed with a certificate and can be part of larger degrees as well. This project is about developing, piloting and evaluating an E-SLP in cooperation with the Open University of the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) (lead), Universidade Aberta (Portugal) und Anadolu Universitesi (Turkey). The central framework for this E-SLP constitutes the Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu), published by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. Digitally Competent Educators comprises three 5 ECTS modules at different competence levels with a duration of eight weeks each.

Tools employed: Finnish Moodle as learning environment, participants' discussion and exchange in collaborating web conference tool and live chat, presentations and feedback in forum. Additionally e-Portfolio (self-regulated) and applications/tools to be tested during module.

Key Experience: “I find it very exciting to build a module from scratch, try to imagine what could have the best results fostering digital competence and engaging students. One the other hand, it is also challenging to consider the appropriate workload and use internationally accessible material (OER). I am very curious for the participants’ feedback on the pilot!”

Instructional Design: Creating an Educational Media Product

People: Cathrin Vogel, Noëlle Diegel (Chair of Instructional Technology & Media)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): M.A. Bildung und Medien: eEducation, educational science



Partners: Open Universiteit (Netherlands); Open University of the University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Short description: Students of three different study programmes in Educational Science collaboratively developed a mobile learning scenario based on theories and models of educational design. They realized this design in a mobile learning application. Small groups of a maximum of five students were built by mixing students internationally. In these groups an initial idea for an educational media product was conceived to then develop the theoretical foundation, design, implementation and evaluation. The course ended with a final online presentation of the results.

Facilitation was provided by fixed tutors for each group as well as fixed tutors for every theme they had to go through. Tasks were formulated by the use of Salmon’s ‘e-tivities’ to help students in structuring their group work as well as to clarify expectations and ways of feedback (Vogel, Diegel, Firssova, Kananen, Stracke, & Brouns, 2019).

Tools employed: Moodle, H5P, Collaborate/ Adobe Connect

Key experience: “The students appreciated the possibility to work internationally and collaboratively. A focus has to be on providing a solid base for students to work together, since not all students know Moodle. The structure of the course has to be clear regarding overall learning goals. Regarding the instructors, it is important to align instructional strategies and goals. Communication is an important part of creating a successful course.”

Forgotten Histories

People: Prof. Dr. Felicitas Schmieder (Chair of History and Presence of Pre-modern Europe)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): Medieval (premodern) History, M.A. Geschichte Europas: Epochen, Umbrüche, Verflechtungen, PhD

ECTS (intended): ¼ module (1 module = 15 ECTS)


Partners: UNED (Spain), Prof. Ana Echevarria Arsuaga

Short description: History students are permanently confronted with different readings of “the same” history, with different approaches to problems that at first glance seem similar in different cultures. Very often, the different viewpoint from other countries or cultural groups can legitimately be characterized as “forgotten history” because we usually work in one, mostly national, tradition only. The seminar is a hybrid research seminar. Face-to-face and online seminars with meetings in both countries constitute the blended learning design of the course, and a working period in between of 6 months for student groups to prepare conference panels (to be enlarged to more countries) is included.

Tools employed: Open Moodle platforms, Centres/ Regional centers of the participating universities, Adobe Connect (potentially)

Duration (so far): Seminar in two parts, connected by a working period between them. Two parts, each one week (six days), first in Regensburg and half a year later in Avíla

Key experience: “Discovery of unexpected complimentary facets of different national perspectives on history. Important experience for students to communicate in a foreign language (English) on an academic level.”

Participation and Environment

People: Prof. Dr. Annette E. Töller, Dr. Thomas Vogelpohl, Dr. Marie-Sophie Heinelt, Dr. Daniela Perbandt (Chair of Political Science III: Policy Analysis & Environmental Policy)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): M.A. Governance

ECTS: 3 (equivalent to an on-campus seminar)


Partners: Dr. Sandra Sofia Ferreira da Silva Caeiro, Dr. Paula Bacelar Nicolau; Universidade Aberta (Portugal)

Short description: The potential benefits of public participation to enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of environmental governance have been highlighted in different theoretical approaches. Because of these positive expectations, public participation has become a fundamental feature of several environmental policy-making processes. Yet, after decades of research and practice in participatory environmental governance, it remains unclear how and under what conditions public participation can actually raise the quality of environmental governance. In the course of the seminar, students become acquainted with different theoretical approaches of public participation. Based on this theoretical background, international student groups transfer their theoretical knowledge to a case study from the field of environmental policy and present their results during Adobe Connect sessions. Due to different expectations of German and Portuguese students, we offer a synchronous and an asynchronous learning path.

Tools employed: LMS=Moodle (open Moodle platform); virtual meetings=Adobe Connect; activities in Moodle: questionnaires (pre and post); upload of self-presentation videos; quizzes and tests; mini-lectures (videos) and case choice; upload of small essay for asynchronous students

Duration: 13 weeks; from mid-April to mid-July

Key experience: “The course structure is very complex due to different expectations of German and Portuguese students, which requires very good skills of the tutors in Moodle and Adobe Connect. The course is structured in different activity phases. During each phase, students have to do different activities (reading script; watching mini-lectures…). This structure helps students a lot to keep track of the course and its requirements.”


Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

An Introduction to Modern Scheduling Algorithms

People: Prof. Dr. Lars Mönch (Chair of Enterprise-wide Software Systems)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): Information Systems, Computer Science, Industrial Engineering/ B.Sc., M.Sc. programs



Partners: Prof. Dr. John W. Fowler, Arizona State University (USA), Dept. of Supply Chain Management, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering

Short description: An introduction into modern deterministic scheduling algorithms is provided for students in information systems and computer science at the FernUniversität in Hagen and Industrial Engineering students at Arizona State University. Scheduling knowledge is an important asset for engineering and computer science students due to the increasing importance of automation. A special emphasis is given to the efficient solution based on metaheuristics. Case studies taken from semiconductor manufacturing and healthcare are provided.

Tools employed: Moodle, Adobe Connect

Describe your experience in one to two sentences: Preparing teaching material in a collaborative way is more difficult and challenging than expected in the beginning.

International Virtual Laboratory on Information Security (IVLIS)

People: Prof. Dr. Jörg Keller, Dr. Wojciech Mazurczyk, M.Sc. Andreas Schaffhauser (Chair of Parallelism & VLSI)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): M.Sc. Informatics

ECTS: 10


Partners: Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), CNR Italy, Università Genua (Italy)

Short description: Information security is an important field within computer science, which is also relevant for everyday life. Besides theoretical and conceptual knowledge, students also need hands-on knowledge of how to install, configure and administrate the tools of the trade like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, etc. To this end, the Chair of Parallelism and VLSI of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science offers a lab on information security with 5 lab stations corresponding to the selected tools. Instead of using physical machines, the lab is virtual, i.e. uses virtual machines (which eases set-back in the event of misconfiguration) and allows working from home which also already (in principle) enables use by other, remote parties. As information security is a field in constant change, lab stations -- in order to be up-to-date and attractive for students -- must be updated frequently and new lab stations must be offered if needed. The latter can be very labor-intensive, in particular if expertise in special sub-fields is not at hand.

The project partners (TU Warsaw, ISSIA/CNR Genova) possess this expertise in the field of multimedia security (e.g. Voice-over-IP) and information hiding (e.g. covert channels) and are willing to contribute one such new lab station from each partner. Yet, it is necessary to integrate them into the existing lab infrastructure. At the same time, the project partners are interested in getting access to the existing lab stations in order to also offer a similar lab, either in times when the infrastructure is not in use by the FernUni lab, or in a joint lab course. To achieve this, the existing lab stations will have to be translated into the English language. At the same time, they can be updated to the latest versions of standards and tools. Finally, if the partners are to offer labs of their own, an English manual for teaching personnel must be provided.

The project enables FernUni students to get access to further relevant tools of information security, which could not be provided without the contribution from the international partners. At the same time, a joint lab course with mixed student groups from the partners enriches the student experience with respect to language and cultural issues, which is only seldom possible in distance education.

Tools employed: Virtual Laboratory Platform Version, 3 developed since 2005

Key experience: “International Collaboration in Teaching extends focus for lecturers and students, which is great. The main challenge is not technology but overcoming organizational barriers.”


Faculty of Psychology

Cognitive Psychology for Multimedia Learning

People: Prof. Dr. Robert Gaschler, Dr. Fang Zhao (Chair of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Motivation, Emotion)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): B.Sc. Psychology



Partners: Open University of the University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Short description: Multimedia is everywhere: whether you are looking at the schedule screens at a railway station or reading news with pictures. It has changed education significantly. This course on Cognitive Psychology for Multimedia Learning is an asynchronous Open Moodle course with 10 video lectures (e.g., data graphs, games, comics). Students have access to bonus materials like interviews and keynote talks of famous international psychologists, e.g. from Germany, Sweden, and Finland. Moreover, students can have a hands-on experience with current computer-administered cognitive psychological experiments (based on JavaScript) and Shiny apps to visually explore psychological theories in interactive graphs.

Tools employed: JavaScript, R Shiny


Faculty of Business Administration and Economics

Knowledge Management

People: Prof. Dr. Stefan Smolnik, Olivia Hornung, Simone Barkam (Chair of Business Information Systems)

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): B.Sc. & M.Sc. Business Informatics, B.Sc. & M.Sc. Business Administration and Economics

ECTS: 10


Partners: Different guest lecturers each semester, including professors from San Diego State University, University of Nevada Reno (USA) and McGill University (Canada)

Short description: This course on organizational knowledge management as well as all study materials and supervision is in English. Additionally, we offer one virtual guest lecture by a renowned English-speaking knowledge management expert per semester.

Tools employed: paper-based course units, Moodle, Adobe Connect

Key experience: “We had great feedback by students who really appreciate the holistic experience in English, starting with the kick-off session and ending with the exam. The virtual guest lecture held by a native speaker is also much attended by students as well as other interested students who have not attended English guest lectures before.”


Faculty of Law

LLM/LLB Modules in Public International Law

People: Neil Graffin, Olga Jurasz, Gleider Hernandez, Wendy Guns, Juan J. Garcia Blesa, Dmytro Koval, Carmen Quesada, Marjan Ajevstki, Fernando Val, Yury Safoklov, Ulrike Schellberg,

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): Law/LLM & LLB

ECTS: 10


Partners: Open Universiteit (Netherlands), Open University (United Kingdom), UNED (Spain), University of Kiev-Mahyla Academy (Ukraine)

Short description: The purpose of this module is to acquaint students with the basic notions and practical tasks of public international lawyering. Additionally, it helps students get prepared to actively participate in module 2 (moot court summer school).

Learning goals:

After taking this course students will be able to produce plausible solutions to basic problems of Public International Law by using in a technically correct manner the language of the discipline. This involves the following:

1. Critical understanding of basic international legal problems;

2. Identification of relevant international legal rules and their position in domestic law;

3. Legal nature, rights, and duties of international legal persons;

4. Identification and application of legal procedures relevant to a specific case.

Along with these general learning goals, students will get further acquainted with specific tasks relevant to legal work such as search and use of primary sources of PIL, search of literature, legal argumentation practice and advocacy skills through online dialogical presentations and debates, teamwork through collaborative learning, etc.

Key experience: “Sometimes it is necessary to insist on team members getting acquainted with the project plan so that everybody is on the same page. It is good to have big names in the team but never underestimate the challenge they pose to good project management."

EDELNet LLM & LLB Summer Schools (SLPs)

People: Nils Szuka, Huub Spoormans, Pablo de Diego, Karl August von Sachsen, Martin von Hadel, Eva Domínguez, Donald Hellegers, Juan J. Garcia Blesa, Michiel van Oosterzee, Dimitris Melissas, Victoria Atance, Sebastian Piecha, Wilma Dreissen, José Nunez, Edwin van Wechem, Vanessa Jiménez

Academic Field/Degree Program(s): Law/LLB & LLM

ECTS: 10


Partners: Open Universiteit (Netherlands), Open University (United Kingdom), UNED (Spain)

Short description: Short learning programs on private international law and comparative criminal law and procedure. The programmes are based on the concepts of blended learning and student-oriented teaching. A one week face-to-face phase is preceded by three months of online learning. The face-to-face part is structured around a moot court for the LLM SLPs and law-making simulations for the LLB SLP. The online element provides students with contents that help them prepare for the face-to-face phase through videos and texts.

Tools employed: Moodle, Adobe Connect

Key experience: “To develop a good international team you need time and dedication.”

International | 16.10.2020