Current information on teaching at PLUS: Distance learning throughout summer semester

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The Vice Rector for Academic Affairs reiterates that the summer semester will be completed exclusively in a distance learning format.

Dear teachers, students and colleagues,

It has now been a year since we made the switch to distance learning due to COVID-19. After optimistic attempts to allow at least partial attendance in the winter semester had to be discontinued, university teaching has been characterised almost entirely by online courses and examinations for the past 12 months. Unfortunately, the development of the COVID-19 situation does not leave much room for optimism, especially with the slow vaccination process.

As there have been many repeated requests, I must reiterate that the summer semester will be completed exclusively in a distance learning format. This means that only courses which cannot be held online will continue to be held in attendance. Should it be possible to return to the lecture halls in the second half of the semester due to the general framework conditions and with the help of compulsory tests, this can only be seen as an additional option. In any case, students must be able to complete courses online if they were started in this format. The same applies to examinations: these too must be offered online; dates for exams held in attendance can only be offered as an additional, voluntary option. This is because some students have not arranged accommodation in Salzburg for the duration of this semester, and with the current distance rules, only a fraction of the intended (and necessary) number of people can sit together in the lecture halls and seminar rooms. When and under which safety measures physical attendance will be possible again will be determined and communicated after consultation with the prevention team. In this context, I would like to draw your attention to our intranet pages, where you will find constantly updated Corona information as well as assistance with eLearning at the PLUS.

At the same time, we want and need to start looking towards the future. On the one hand, planning for the coming winter semester is already underway, and on the other hand, we also need to think about what to take away from last year’s experiences for the future of teaching at the PLUS.

For the winter semester , it can be assumed that classroom teaching will be possible again - albeit with restrictions. For example, we must expect that safe distancing rules will still have to be observed. It will therefore make sense to also hold some of the courses in the winter semester online, so that we have more flexibility in the use of the rooms. I would like to ask the departments and faculties to discuss and agree on which courses should be held in which format, because a categoric decision (e.g. for certain types of modules) is not very effective, in my opinion. The maximum enrolment figures set in the last winter semester should be used for planning. In any case, students can prepare themselves for classroom teaching (and thus attendance at the university) in the coming academic year.

We must also start to set out our course for after the pandemic. I would like to invite you to participate in the PLUS Zukunft Lehre project, in which we want to discuss ways of shaping university teaching in the future with teachers, students, administrative staff, service facilities and experts. You will receive more details on this after the Easter break.

Until then, I wish you a successful rest of semester!

Kind regards,

Martin Weichbold

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs

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