eScouts in digital teaching

Interview with Prof. Dominik Göddeke

The changeover to e-learning in times of Corona is a particular challenge. In order for teaching staff to find contact persons for their diverse questions this summer semester, the university’s existing support program is constantly being expanded. The so-called eScouts are a special concept: These are students who have volunteered to contribute to the success of the “digital semester”. The students are extensively trained in the e-learning tools and consulting methods by the Technical Information and Communication Services (TIK) so that they can support lecturers and teaching staff in technical questions about ILIAS, Webex, and lecture recordings.

Prof. Göddeke provides students with learning material on ILIAS.

Lecturers and teaching staff can request an eScout via ILIAS and indicate which topic they would like support on. A suitable eScout will then contact them directly.

Prof. Dominik Göddeke, Institute of Applied Analysis and Numerical Simulation, has made use of the service.

Interview with Prof. Dominik Göddeke

Prof. Göddeke, what made you decide to work with an eScout?

Together with an assistant, I spent a lot of time converting the lecture for ILIAS. After the site was finished, shortly before the start of the lecture period on 20 April and with the involvement of the students, it was important to me to improve the quality of the site - hopefully with moderate effort. All in all, there was positive, but only little feedback from the students. I therefore wanted an external person to take a look at the lecture and identify potential for improvement.

How did the request for an eScout work?

In ILIAS, there is a form for this in the “Digital teaching - consulting”[de] area. I completed a very short survey. Just two days later, a student contacted me by email and asked if he could support me. We then discussed the procedures via email. Ultimately, I simply added him to the ILIAS course and arranged a Webex appointment for a few days later. The student looked at my course very carefully - I wouldn't have expected this level of detail - and we talked about it.

What specific tips could your eScout give you?

My course consists of a script and tablet recordings that replace my lecture and what I write on the board. These are quite a few individual videos. The student gave me tips on how the videos, slides, and script sections that belong together can be made to better correspond to the recommended workload per week, and how I can shorten the click paths for the students. He also gave me specific tips for configuring Mediacast objects. And he recommended that I clean up the start page of the course. After just one and a half weeks of teaching, the page had really become a bit confusing.

I found that very helpful! I was also very impressed with the way the feedback was given. The student was very committed, but he always made it clear that he was only making suggestions. In the end, I found that our conversation had taken longer than the implementation of the actual suggestions.

Would you recommend the eScouts?

Absolutely! For me, it was time well spent. It wasn’t really too time-consuming, and I received valuable feedback. Sometimes it’s those little things, which you’re not seeing because you’re blinkered, that help a lot and quickly.

This screenshot shows one of the improvements that have been suggested by an eScout.

Please note: You can request an eScout via ILIAS. The service is not limited to the sole optimization of existing digital learning material in ILIAS, but deals with all technical aspects of digital teaching.

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