Digital Education – digital teaching and learning at the UoC
At the University of Cologne, there are various technical options for offering online courses. We are working with great commitment to create the framework conditions for successful digital lectures and seminars, and to support you with advice and assistance.
On this page, you will find an overview of the formats and tools currently available at the University of Cologne as well as instructions, tips and links – from low-threshold offers for short-term use to sophisticated digital teaching/learning scenarios with high added educational value.
Jan Eden, Head of Digital Education and Teaching, and I are always available to answer your questions and will be happy to refer you to the other experts and contacts.
Prof. Dr. Beatrix Busse
Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies at the University of Cologne
- Recording and providing videos
- Providing materials and exercises
- Video lectures and seminars (video conferences) - communication scenarios
- Collaborative working with digital whiteboards (Mural)
- Using and sharing open educational resources – OER
- Accessing digital teaching
- Advanced courses
- Participation of students (multipliers)
- Advice on working with open educational materials (OER)
Your comments and suggestions
Your feedback on the start of the digital semester is important to us. As teachers, what challenges and opportunities do you see in the transition to digital teaching? What is already working well, where is there room for improvement? Please let us know. We will compile your questions and topics as quickly as possible in a FAQ list and answer or try to clarify them. If you have any questions about technology and educational methods, please contact the support centres listed below.
Scenarios for digital teaching
The central learning management system ILIAS provides a comfortable introduction to digital teaching at the University of Cologne: In general, a corresponding ILIAS course is automatically created or all courses created in KLIPS 2.0. Registered students are transferred to the course and have access to the provided materials or ILIAS objects.
Synchronous as well as asynchronous formats can be used as a short-term replacement for classroom courses. At the moment, we recommend recording lectures and (teaching) videos and making them available through the opencast object in ILIAS.
Exchange with students can take place in virtual spaces as well as with other communication tools.
The University of Cologne also wants to make online studies possible for all students. Information on how to make digital teaching barrier-free is available on the web pages of the Servicezentrum Inklusion.
Recording and providing videos
With your own notebook/PC, you can make recordings using the Opencast Studio service, or Power Point 2019:
Recording a Power Point Presentation with an Apple/Mac device:
The Camtasia software also allows for recordings and their subsequent editing and supplementation. The software is also suitable for educational videos, description of processes, software training, analysis of projects, etc. Campus licenses for Camtasia and its sister product Snagit are available to faculty at the RRZK's software store. Camtasia video tutorials are available on the Techsmith pages, and the CCE offers an introductory webinar.
On campus, lectures can be automatically recorded in designated lecture halls or in the One Button Recording Studio of Netzwerk Medien.
Please note: In the current corona situation, the lecture halls cannot be used to record lectures. The One Button Recording Studio is still accessible, but users should take appropriate protective measures (disinfection of surfaces).
To upload the recording to ILIAS, please use the object ‘Opencast’. The videos are stored on a powerful streaming server and can be accessed via the embedded object in ILIAS:
Providing materials and exercises
ILIAS offers various objects to support students’ independent learning phases:
The ILIAS object ‘tutorial’ can be used to provide students with homework or assignments. Students can also submit their completed tasks, protocols or thesis papers. Tasks can be assessed and peer feedback enabled.
The most common way to provide material to students is to upload files.
With links, you can set ‘jump points’ to external websites. It is possible to create entire libraries.
Virtual lectures and seminars (video conferences) – communication scenarios
The University of Cologne provides faculty with licenses for the video conference service Zoom. You can get a zoom license by Registration at the Zoom Portal of the University of Cologne with your university account. Further information is available on the pages of the Regional Computing Centre Cologne.
Other communication tools
The ILIAS objekt Forum enables asynchronous communication as well as discussion and exchange of information. It offers students a virtual space for exchange, where open questions can be collected and discussed. Supervision by lecturers is also possible.
- ILIAS mail:
ILIAS has an internal messaging system to send messages with attachments and to contact individual persons or all participants of an ILIAS course. You can access ILIAS mail from your personal desk, but also from within the course or group.
- interactive video:
Das ILIAS-Objekt Interaktives Video The ILIAS object interactive video supports three question types (single choice, multiple choice, reflection) and a comment function for students.
- chat room:
The ILIAS chatroom enables synchronous communication as well as discussion and exchange of information.
In an EtherPad, several users can write a text at the same time. Thanks to the different text colours and the version display, it is always visible which users have written which text segments.
Collaborative working with digital whiteboards (Mural)
In the winter semester 2020/21, the University of Cologne will provide all lecturers with a new tool that is particularly suitable for interactive and collaborative formats. Mural is a browser-based digital whiteboard on which you can document discussions and structure results together with your students. Mural boards are suitable for the active participation of up to 30 people, larger groups can use Mural boards passively (reading).
This video gives you a first impression of the tool’s practical use:
Log in with your university account at https://app.mural.co. You will be redirected to a UoC authentication page. After successful login you will automatically receive a mural license.
Mural uses in so-called workspaces, which are created for institutes, central institutions, and divisions/departments of the administration. After the first registration, you can apply for admission to the workspace of your institution.
If a workspace does not yet exist for your institute or department, please send a short message and the contact details of the future administrator for the new workspace to mural-supportuni-koeln.de.
In the workspace of an institute or department, any number of rooms can be created. The individual mural boards are located in these rooms. Please proceed according to the following principle to increase clarity:
- Please create a private room with the name "course [surname]" for your courses.
- Within the course room, separate mural boards can be created for individual courses. The name of these boards should consist of the course number as prefix and the title of the course (e.g. 14014.5002 Fundamentals of Financial Management).
In addition to this room and the automatically generated private room, you can create further rooms (e.g. for projects) if required.
This video shows how to create new content in Mural Boards:
Access for students
Students should only have access to mural boards via the so-called ‘visitor link’. You can modify this access (also afterwards) so that ‘visitors’ have reading access, editing rights, or no access during specified times. Another advantage of the visitor role is that students do not have to register for mural and do not receive membership rights in the workspace of your institution. As members, students receive additional rights, which may have to be adapted with great effort.
Sharing open educational resources – OER
Sometimes you just need a suitable picture for a presentation, sometimes you wonder if there aren’t already dozens of presentations on a given topic. There are many reasons why university lecturers search for teaching materials or parts of them on the Internet. And you are certainly likely to find a suitable explanatory video or a good worksheet. You would like to use it, perhaps adapting something for your own teaching purposes beforehand. But what about copyright law?
Open Educational Resources (OER) have the advantage that they can be freely accessed, edited, and distributed – all in compliance with copyright law. OER can be any material – regardless of type and medium – m that is used for educational purposes (texts, images, music, videos, games, concepts, instructions, in digital or analogue form) and that is published under an open license, i.e. that carries a permission to use it. Creative Commons’ licenses have become the standard for marking OERs, namely CC Zero, CC BY or CC BY-SA. If you are the author, you as a teacher can also label your teaching materials with a CC license and thus make them available to others.
For further reading, learning and viewing:
- On the OER page of the Netzwerk Medien, you will find short, descriptive videos with the most important information about OER and Creative Commons licenses.
- To see examples of OER at universities, you can visit the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) site or the Central Repository for OER at Universities in Baden-Württemberg (ZOERR).
- A tutorial on the topic of OERs, so-called learning paths, can be found on the learning platform EULE of the German Institute for Adult Education. Here a (free) registration is necessary.
Since the summer semester 2020, lecturers have been prepared and supported technically and didactically to offer purely online seminars for the transition from classroom to digital teaching. This semester, too, there is a broad range of training courses, which deliberately include low-threshold offers as well as in-depth courses.
The CCE offers the following online seminars on teaching/learning scenarios with ILIAS and beyond:
- Offering web/video conferences with zoom
- Offer courses online in ILIAS: Your way from classroom to digital teaching
- ILIAS tools compact
- H5P modules in ILIAS
- Create and edit videos (e.g., with Camtasia) and integrate them into ILIAS
- Cooperative work with ILIAS tools
- Design of ILIAS courses
- Interactivity and collaboration in digital space (in cooperation with the Centre for University Didactics – ZHD)
Several dates are already on offer for most events. Individual trainings and consultations (also in small groups) are also possible.
A special offer is the weekly open consultation hour of the CCE, in which lecturers can ask questions about digital teaching and discuss individual problems. At present, the open hour takes place digitally. If you are interested, you can dial into the lectures via a zoom link.
Zoom tutorial of the Centre for Teacher Education for teachers
Digital exams off campus can be taken in a special ILIAS environment; students take these exams at any location with internet access.
If you would like to offer a digital exam, the following CCE online seminars are available:
- Overview of digital examination formats
- Convert exam questions into ILIAS
- Using ILIAS tests for digital examinations
- Using ILIAS tutorials for theses and Open Book exams
- Live support of your digital exam – troubleshooting on exam day
- Evaluation & analysis of results in ILIAS
- Consultation hour exam check: Make sure that your exam is running smoothly.
You can find all current dates on the Training website of the CompentenceCenter E-Learning.
Participation of students (multipliers)
Students, especially student assistants at chairs, also have the opportunity and are welcome to participate in the training courses on digital teaching. These courses convey important skills that support (digital) teaching, either at the chair itself or in a job supporting digital teaching. We are currently planning offers for students so that they can acquire a certificate of participation for certain training courses, after which they will be able to use their knowledge specifically in the support of digital teaching.
Advice on working with open educational materials (OER)
For personal advice on OER and CC licenses, please contact the OER contact person of the Vice-Rectorate for Teaching and Studies.
- short descriptions of all ILIAS tools
- the e-learning manual with examples, handouts, instructions, and templates on e-learning with ILIAS
- overview map of all ILIAS tools (ordered by function)
- video tutorials of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities on the use of ILIAS
- digital services and media offers of the University and City Library (USB)
- copyright and data protection information for lecture recordings
- overview compiled by the Regional Computing Centre Cologne (RRZK) "Information on tools for collaborative working from home" (available in English soon)
- information on "Working and leading from home" (Department 43 HR Development for Researchers)
- information on how to "Stay healthy in a (changed) working situation" (OHM)
- Digital teaching inclusive - information on barrier-free design of digital teaching (e.g. zoom conferences for people with sensory impairments)
- link collection of Hochschulforum Digitalisierung: Coronavirus and universities – what now?
- collection of links on digital university teaching from e-teaching.org: online resources for a quick start
- open self-study courses on digital (university) teaching at Fernuniversität Hagen
- Netzwerk Hochschuldidaktik NRW: information websites
- Advice on all questions concerning digital teaching:
The CCE Team
Phone: +49 221-470 4014
Support hours: Mo - Fr: 10:00 - 14:00 Uhr
- Consultation on educational topics and concepts for universities::
Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning
Dr. Hendrik den Ouden
- One Button Recording Studio/video production:
- Zoom Support
In the Faculties and the Centre for Teacher Education, the following persons can be contacted:
- Faculty of Law:
Dean’s office & KjLL
- Faculty of Medicine:
- Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Prof. Dr. André Bresges
- Faculty of Arts and Humanities:
Dr. Tilmann Ochs
- Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences:
- Faculty of Human Sciences:
- Working group Digital Learning at the Centre for Teacher Education
Dr. Alexandra Habicher
You can also contact e-learninguni-koeln.de to reach all of the contacts listed above. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.