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Digitalisation of teaching at HSBA

Since March, studying and teaching at HSBA Hamburg School of Business Administration has been mainly digital - with success. But the long-term strategy is clear: HSBA remains a face-to-face university where digital elements will play an important role in improving the learning and teaching situation. We talked to our HSBA Didactics Officer Prof. Dr. Peter Scholz about how this might look like.

Last summer, the digitalisation project was launched under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Peter Scholz, Professor of Business Administration with a focus on Banking and Didactics Officer at HSBA. This  project basically deals with how digital learning and teaching at HSBA can be integrated into the curricula in a meaningful way, even after the Corona pandemic. Blended learning combines traditional classroom lessons with lesssons that use computer technology and may be given over the internet. 

"Thanks to the already existing IT infrastructure, we were able to switch to online teaching immediately at the beginning of the pandemic - and our students also attested to a relatively smooth transition. But of course there is still a lot of room for improvement and that is exactly what the whole university is working on," Prof. Dr. Peter Scholz explains. "We want to give students a real perspective in the long term. I have already developed some ideas for a prototype in which I combined the best of both worlds - online and presence."  


Professor Scholz is working on developing a concept for a course with quantitative content that optimally combines self-study and attendance times as well as online formats in terms of didactics and content. The teaching should be as varied as possible in order to encourage and challenge students in the best possible way, even in virtual mode. This is because online tools such as videos or quizzes can be ideally used for the preparation of face-to-face formats: The essential part of the face-to-face sessions can then be used for the really exciting content: Impulse lectures, discussions or the analysis of current cases from practice.   


Which digital formats are (not) suitable for self-study and online teaching?   

For self-study, ideally recurring formats such as introductory events that convey basic knowledge can be well prepared digitally - in the form of videos for example. Basic knowledge means content that students can easily teach and memorise themselves.   

Online tests and quizzes are also a good way to test and determine the students' knowledge. Teachers can thus see exactly where there is still need for explanation and decide which content needs to be dealt with in more detail in the classroom or during the live online lecture (targeted teaching). Furthermore, with the help of this format, teachers can see whether the way in which knowledge was imparted was clear and understandable or whether it needs to be readjusted. Online quizzes increase motivation and an incentive system (bonuses) can also be integrated.   

When designing partial elements of a lecture that can be held online, other standards must be applied. In order to achieve lively student participation and create a motivating learning atmosphere, pull formats such as short question rounds, group tasks or, in general, formats in which the majority is involved have proven successful. Teacher-centered teaching or open questions to the entire group, on the other hand, are only suitable to a very limited extent and present both students and teachers with a particular challenge.  

The prototype developed by Prof. Dr. Peter Scholz has already been successfully tested with smaller study groups in the Master's area and is particularly suitable for mathematical-statistical subjects. Now Professor Scholz will review his concept to see to what extent it can be adapted to larger groups in Bachelor's degree programmes and contribute further ideas and concepts. Prof. Dr. Peter Scholz has been HSBA's Didactics Officer since 2018