Author: Melanie Walter

New Innovedum Focal Point Project Topic: Transferable Competencies

For the next round of submissions on 1 March 2023, the new topic transferable competencies” will be launched within the category of focal point projects. This supports innovative methods and technologies to build up method-specific, social or personal competences in the classroom and to test these in corresponding performance assessments. The aim is for students to acquire competences in the concrete context of subject-specific expertise and to be able to transfer and apply these to other subjects. Students are thus enabled to continuously develop and apply their knowledge in the further course or after completion of their studies.

Examples of projects:

  • Implementation of programming projects in student groups and a performance assessment that includes a group performance.
  • Development of peer feedback learning opportunities for students and associated peer grading.
  • Use of performance assessments that assess whether an individual has engaged critically and creatively with a problem.
  • Collaboration of students with external students or stakeholders. Inclusion of the external perspective in performance assessment

ETH Talent also focuses on the holistic teaching of competencies. The ETH Competence Framework provides a good overview of which interdisciplinary competences (i.e. method-specific, social and personal competences) are developed at ETH. Depending on the subject area and didactic design, a course typically focuses on a selection of these.

Innovedum not only promotes interdisciplinary competences within the framework of the focal point projects. There are other project topics and types to choose from – click here for an overview.

Are you a lecturer at ETH? ETH members who have at least a 50% post and a teaching assignment are entitled to submit an application to Innovedum. Innovative ideas for the fostering of teaching at ETH are supported by Innovedum from the first step onwards. You and your project team will receive support when it comes to fleshing out ideas in the project proposal or to initiate cooperation with the Emerging Educational Media Hub (E2MH).
This was also the case in 2022 – a total of 35 project applications were submitted, which has only been

achieved once since the Innovedum Fund was established. A record number of 24 focal point projects were submitted and a total of 20 projects worth around CHF 1.5 million were approved, including the D-ARCH study programme initiative.

Design your teaching with Innovedum’s support! 
Contact us and submit your project by 1.3.23

We look forward to many exciting project proposals!

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Neues Innovedum Fokusthema: Überfachliche Kompetenzen

Ab dem ersten Schritt durch Innovedum begleitet, auch zum neuen Fokusthema: Überfachliche Kompetenzen

Zur nächsten Eingaberunde vom 1. März 2023 wird innerhalb der Kategorie Fokusprojektedas neue Thema: «Überfachliche Kompetenzen» lanciert. Damit werden innovative Methoden und Technologien unterstützt, um methodenspezifische, soziale oder persönliche Kompetenzen im Unterricht aufzubauen und diese in entsprechenden Leistungskontrollen zu überprüfen. Ziel ist es, dass Studierende Kompetenzen im konkreten Kontext der fachspezifischen Expertise erwerben und diese auf andere Fächer übertragen und anwenden können. Die Studierenden werden dadurch befähigt, ihr Wissen im weiteren Verlauf oder nach Abschluss des Studiums kontinuierlich weiterzuentwickeln und anzuwenden. 

Hier einige Beispiele für mögliche Projekte:

  • Durchführung von Programmierprojekten in Studierendengruppen und einer Leistungskontrolle, die eine Gruppenleistung beinhaltet.
  • Entwicklung von Peer Feedback Lerngelegenheiten für Studierende und dazugehörigem Peer Grading.
  • Einsatz von Leistungskontrollen, die erheben, ob eine Person sich kritisch und kreativ mit einer Problemstellung beschäftigt hat.
  • Zusammenarbeit von Studierenden mit externen Studierenden oder Anspruchsgruppen. Einbezug der externen Perspektive in die Leistungskontrolle.

    Auch bei ETH Talent steht die ganzheitlich ausgerichtete Kompetenzvermittlung im Mittelpunkt.
    Der ETH Kompetenzraster bietet eine gute Übersicht, welche überfachlichen Kompetenzen (also methodenspezifische, soziale und persönliche Kompetenzen) an der ETH entwickelt werden. Je nach Fachgebiet und didaktischer Gestaltung steht in einer Lehrveranstaltung typischerweise eine Auswahl davon im Mittelpunkt.

    Innovedum fördert aber nicht nur überfachliche Kompetenzen im Rahmen der Fokusprojekte. Es stehen weitere Projektthemen und –typen zur Auswahl – hier geht’s zur Übersicht.

    Sind Sie Dozent oder Dozentin an der ETH? Mit einer Anstellung von mindestens 50 Stellenprozenten und einem Lehrauftrag sind Sie berechtigt bei Innovedum einen Antrag zu stellen. Innovative Ideen zur Förderung der Lehre an der ETH werden seitens Innovedum ab dem ersten Schritt begleitet. Sie und Ihr Projektteam erhalten Unterstützung, wenn es darum geht, Ideen im Projektantrag zu konkretisieren oder um eine Zusammenarbeit mit dem Emerging Educational Media Hub (E2MH) aufzugleisen. So auch im 2022 – insgesamt wurden 35 Projektanträge eingereicht, das wurde seit Bestehen des Innovedum Fonds nur einmal zuvor erreicht. Dabei konnte ein Rekord von 24 eingereichten Fokusprojekten verzeichnet werden. Insgesamt wurden 20 Projekte im Umfang von rund 1.5 Millionen CHF bewilligt, darunter auch eine Studiengangsinitiative des D-ARCH.  

    Innovedum fördert aber nicht nur überfachliche Kompetenzen im Rahmen der Fokusprojekte. Es stehen weitere Projektthemen und –typen zur Auswahl – hier geht’s zur Übersicht.

    Gestalten Sie die Lehre an der ETH mit Unterstützung von Innovedum!
    Nehmen Sie mit uns Kontakt auf und reichen Sie Ihr Projekt bis zum 1.3.23 ein.

    Wir freuen uns auf viele spannende Projektanträge!

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    A look back on the first Innovation in Learning & Teaching Fair

    The Innovation in Learning & Teaching Fair with the KITE Award Ceremony took place on May 4th, 2022.  By building on the previous successes of the Innovedum and KITE events, a wide community of around 200 engaged individuals were able to come together for discussion, feedback and inspiration on the topic of student learning. The focus for this year’s event was on online teaching and learning during the Covid pandemic.

    There were 44 innovative teaching projects showcased in the main hall of the ETH Main Building. The exhibition opened at 3.00 p.m. and was very well attended. As you can see in the pictures, lively discussions took place during the exhibition. You could see and feel that the teaching community at ETH was excited to come together again in person, to discuss their projects, exchange ideas and maybe just chat a bit with each other.

    The participants were so engaged in their exchanges, that they had to be reminded of the start of the KITE Award ceremony, at 5.00 p.m. in AudiMax. The event ceremony with speeches by Rector Günter Dissertori, KdL President Ulrike Lohmann and introductions of the finalists by Manu Kapur was very festive. While all three finalist were supreme projects, the worthy winner was Physics Lab Courses in Corona times project which enables students to conduct experimental physics at home.

    The KITE Award ceremony was followed by an aperitif which gave participants, jury and winners another opportunity to connect and discuss their experiences.

    Feel free to browse through the projects at the  virtual exhibition of the Innovation in Learning & Teaching Fair and maybe you can find some inspiration for your own teaching.

    We would be happy to welcome you to the next Innovation in Learning & Teaching Fair, maybe you could showcase your teaching there.

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    Showcase MOOC: Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems

    Supported by Innovedum, a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is happy to introduce itself: The new ETHZ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) series entitled “Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems” (DRRS) directly addresses sustainability transitions in complex systems as for dealing with nested crises. Professor Tobias Luthe tells us about his new MOOC and why it’s so exciting.

    The DRRS MOOC series hybridizes sustainability science, systemic design and transformative action. It provides worldviews, tools, illustrations and transformative networks to build capacities and engage in systemic innovation of complex systems. The MOOC series is featuring a virtual-real didactic concept, where local physical social outdoor action in the region the participant lives, is stimulated and incubated by virtual means. 

    The learning content is focused on stimulating new cultures beyond the current often disciplinary and compartmentalized approach to science: for hybridizing the analytical tools of science with the iterative doing of design, and the urge for transformative action. And this across spatial and governance scales, from green chemistry, materials, products, buildings, cities, landscapes, regions and transnational cooperation.

    The MOOCs’ didactics are designed to combine time and place independent virtual learning through pre-recorded conversations and presentations, both accessible as movies and audio files, readings, and practical engagement outside in nature. Virtual content is meant to stimulate physical and social interaction in the bio-region where the participant lives. Systemic Cycles takes the participants on a conscious exploration of place and regional supply chain actors on their bicycle, to playfully learn systemic design methods, to weave together local and regional networks and to explore the inner self through physical activity. An accompanying visual mapping process called Gigamapping acts as a designerly way to co-create your own learning journey and connect across the MOOC series to your final transformative design project. Your personal QUEST guides you through your learning journey. Weekly live tutorials in an online forum offer opportunities to discuss and brainstorm with teachers. Participants learn together with diverse experts in their field – sustainability scientists, systemic designers, consultants, local and European politicians, book authors, builders, mountain guides, self-compassion trainers, and together co-create and connect communities of practice for learning and engagement opportunities Starting May 9th 2022 on EdX – free participation w/o costs possible.

    Exciting real-world illustrations will take participants to Hemsedal Norway, Annecy France, Ostana Italy, and Mallorca Spain – from material supply chains, to products, buildings, communities and their services, to landscapes, bio-regions, and transnational cooperation. This offers a comparative understanding of communities and regions undergoing sustainability transitions across different contexts, cultures, climates and geographies.  

    The prominent methods participants will learn are systemic design and systems-oriented design, social network analysis, resilience assessment, life cycle and footprint analysis, circularity mapping, visual dialogue, cross-scale design, “view from above” perspectives, biomimicry, transdisciplinary research, real-world elaboration – and how this “cocktail” of methods becomes part of new cultures to deal with complexity and uncertainty. 

    For more information on this MOOC visit:

    We would be happy to talk with you about our experiences in making this MOOC!

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    Neues Fokusthema Innovedum Fonds

    Zum 1. März 2022 gibt es ein neues Fokusthema «Bildungsmedien für Visualisierung und Simulation» für Projektförderung im Innovedum Fonds. Zusammen mit diesem Fokusthema und den drei bestehenden setzt der Rektor und die Lehrkommission der ETH neue Schwerpunkte im Fonds Innovedum.

    Mit dem neuen Fokusthema sollen interaktive Visualisierungen und Simulationen für den Unterricht entwickelt und erprobt werden. Diese Medien sollen praktische oder persönliche Unterrichtsszenarien nicht ersetzen, sondern ergänzen. Es wird erwartet, dass die Projekte in Zusammenarbeit zwischen den Lehrkräften, dem Emerging Educational Media Hub am LET und den Studierenden entwickelt werden. Ein wichtiges Ziel solcher Projekte ist es, nachhaltige Bedingungen für die Projektleitenden zu schaffen, so dass sie die Medien in Zukunft unabhängig entwickeln und weiterentwickeln können.

    Bevorzugte Entwicklungsplattformen sind Unity ( oder Jupyter ( in Verbindung mit IPython ( 

    Beispiel einer Simulation mit Python. Hier die Lorenzkraft. Links eine Visualisierung. Rechts der Python Code.
    Visualisierung der Lorenzkraft mit einer Simulation in Python.

    Das Thema «Hindernisfreie Lehre» fokussiert auf die Zugänglichkeit der Lehre (Materialien, Online/blended/flipped Kurse, Methoden und Technologien) für alle Lernenden.  (à Anton als Ansprechpartner verlinken).

    Das dritte Fokusthema «Online-Lernmodule ausserhalb der Präsenzzeit» werden gezielt Projekte gesucht, welche die Studierenden durch den gezielten Einsatz von Methoden und Technologien (Online-Module) auf die Präsenzzeit vor- oder nachbereiten.

    Zu guter Letzt werden mit «Lernen und Prüfen in Gruppen» Fokusprojekte gefördert, die kollaborative Aktivitäten für Studierende in der Lehre (physisch und online) integrieren, insbesondere auch solche, die diese Aktivitäten prüfungsrelevant machen.

    Ein Fokusprojekt bei Innovedum hat eine Obergrenze von 60 kFr und die Begutachtung dauert rund 4 Wochen.

    Um die ganze Breite an innovativen Lehrideen an der ETH abdecken zu können, fördert der Innovedum Fonds auch Blended Learning und MOOC Projekte, ebenso wie themenunabhängige umfangreichere Lehrprojekte.

    Der nächste Eingabetermin ist der 1. März 2022. Antragsberechtigt sind ETH-​Angehörige mit einer Anstellung von mindestens 50 Stellenprozenten und einem Lehrauftrag. Mehr Informationen finden Sie unter:

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    New ideas for Innovedum, the ETH innovative teaching fund

    With the Innovedum Fund, ETH has an extremely successful instrument for promoting innovative teaching, especially with regard to community building (cf. Reinhardt, Korner, Walter, 2019). Topics such as student engagement (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2014) and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Martensson & Roxa, 2015) are increasingly being considered globally as an important part of educational development activities. With this in mind, the Innovedum application process became the focus of a rethink and revision in 2020. The application process was updated to a webform and new criteria were included in the application process. These were; inclusion of the student perspective, dissemination of Innovedum projects results and communication. 

    Inclusion of the student perspective in the project design and the planned project implementation

    To encourage future applicants to take the student perspective into account, a new question was added to the application form. This is to meet the express wish of the Rector to further student perspectives and involvement when developing projects that innovate teaching and learning at ETH. Since the purpose of Innovedum is to have a positive effect on teaching and learning, it is important that the opportunity to include students in the application process is available:

    Student Involvement: Describe whether and how students were involved in the preparation and review of this project application. How will students be involved in project implementation?

    This question provides the project applicant with the freedom to decide if and how students can be involved in a possible project, while also pointing out easy steps how this could be done. 

    Dissemination of Innovedum Projects: Spreading good Teaching and Learning at ETH

    Currently there is a public project database and various community events (Refresh TeachingLearning and Teaching Fair) where Innovedum projects are made visible. To compliment this an explicit expectation to systematically reflect on the effectiveness of Innovedum projects is now also part of the application and reporting process. Applicants are now encouraged to consider the impact the project will have on teaching and learning and therefore develop a coherent evaluation strategy from the beginning.

    Evaluation strategy: Describe the evaluation strategy you will use to check achievement of project goals and effects on teaching. What approaches will you use? Are you planning measures for identifying interim results? If so, how will these results flow back into the project?

    For help with designing an evaluation strategy apropriate lecturers can always contact their LSPs or LET.  

    Project communication: Making project insights visible

    Taking the findings made during the evaluation and sharing them with others will make it easier for new applicants to profit from the lessons others have learned and increase the quality of their own applications. Ultimately a clearer picture of how innovation in teaching in learning works at ETH will emerge and flow back in to educational development as a whole. 

    Project communication: How do you plan to publicise and document the progress of the project? What form will the final report for the Innovedum project database take? How will you disseminate project results?

    There are a multitude of spaces both at ETH and beyond where results and experiences can be shared. At ETH the following spaces are available:

    • LET-Blog. The blog is a place where effective and innovative teaching is featured as well as general projects and activities relating to teaching and learning. 
    • Refresh Teaching. A lunch-time seminar series where lecturers share and discuss their innovations in teaching.
    • Innoview and Competence view are two different dynamic websites which respectively feature innovative teaching projects or projects where cross-disciplinary competencies are explicitly fostered.  
    • Learning and Teaching Journal. The Journal publishes discussion as well as systematic reflections regarding discipline specific contributions.

    Please contact LET ( if you want to share your teaching project in one of these spaces. Any kind of projects are welcome, funded and non-funded.

    Beyond ETH there are frequent conferences where teaching staff are welcome to present such projects. The Swiss Faculty Development Network hosts an annual conference of this nature and scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) conferences are also a great opportunity.

    The Education Developer in your Departement ( can advise and support the communication of your project.

    You can find further information on the Innovedum website or contact the Innovedum office. Applications deadlines for focal and teaching projects are March 1st and October 1st every year.  

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    Engaging students through technology enhanced Feedback

    Teachers’ written commentary on student assignments is a fundamental element of instruction in almost any discipline. However, it is unclear what impact the feedback has on students. Consequently, teachers face fundamental questions for which no ready answers are available: Which components of commentary are most helpful, and how are they most effectively delivered? How can students’ uptake of commentary be optimised, and how can teachers be most efficient when providing commentary?

    Giving and receiving feedback with Edword

    Edword is an assignment feedback tool that provides answers to these questions; it quantifiably improves the quality and efficiency of commentary and its uptake and measures previously unobserved aspects of learning. Edword is an online platform to which students can upload written assignments of any kind set by teachers.

    Teachers´view of sample comments for a microbiology lab.

    Teachers can then add commentary to the text. These comments can be written individually as done in many traditional teaching settings, but Edword also enables the rapid application of prewritten comments from comment sets. These comment sets can address any aspects of written work in any discipline. They can be prepared by teachers working individually or shared between colleagues in teams.

    Students´view of feedback through a comment with additional video material.
    Sample comment for a common mistake in lab reports.

    Because they can be adjusted and augmented, a comment set can evolve as individual comments are added and improved. The quality and level of detail that can be delivered within the time available for commenting on assignments is thus substantially increased.

    When the student opens the commentary, the most important comments, selected by the teacher, are presented first and repeated comments bundled so that the student sees every instance of the same comment in the assignment. This allows the teacher to optimise individual students’ uptake of their commentary. Edword enables further optimisation by measuring two aspects of students’ engagement with the comments: the time the student spends with each individual comment is automatically recorded, and the student gives one of three responses—helpful, neutral, or unhelpful—to each comment. These data points are automatically collated by comment and assignment to provide a fine-grained evidence base for further adaptation of comment sets and commenting practice to the specific requirements of programs and disciplines.

    Successful pilot project

    Edword’s suitability for use with UZH and ETH students was tested in a pilot project between February and May 2020. Writing instructors from the English unit of the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich (LC) attended a LET Refresh Teaching event at ETH on 4 September 2019 where selected EdTech startups from the Kickstart Accelerator program presented their tools; here, they were introduced to the Edword online writing assessment tool. Seeing its potential, four writing instructors collaborated with LET and ran a pilot project to test Edword in their courses comprising 167 students in all. The instructors created and shared comment sets containing a total of over 350 specialized comments. The participating students were surveyed online about their experience with Edword at the end of their courses (response rate 32%). Some 87% said they preferred commentary via Edword over traditionally delivered comments.

    Potential for broader application at ETH

    The feedback processes in Edword can be used to provide highly nuanced and sophisticated commentary for any kind of written assignment, and comment sets can be adapted to the demands of any discipline. The comment sets can be written centrally or developed collaboratively or individually, and the uptake of commentary is monitored in detail. Further test groups can demonstrate the range of academic contexts in which Edword is applicable. Please contact Melanie Walter if you are interested in trying out Edword in your ETH course.

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    eCollaboration @ ETH

    Das eCollaboration Projekt soll das kollaborative Lernen und Zusammenarbeiten im Lehrkontext an der ETH für Studierende und Dozierende einfacher gestalten. Dazu wurden zwei digitale Werkzeuge evaluiert (Pressbooks und PolyboxEdu) und in die bestehende Servicelandschaft der ETH eingefügt.

    Das Projekt gründet auf dem Konzept des Lernens als sozialen Prozess. Dabei geht man davon aus, dass die Beteiligten gemeinsam einen von allen getragenen Konsens zu einem bestimmten Thema entwickeln oder ein Produkt erarbeiten. Daraus resultiert ein höheres Niveau an Denkprozessen und die Informationen werden von den einzelnen im Vergleich zum individuellen Lernen länger abgespeichert. Soziale Impulsen wie z.B. Dialoge, Diskussionen, verschiedene Sichtweisen oder Meinungsverschiedenheiten wirken sich generell positiv auf den Lernprozess aus.

    Bei Studierenden und Dozierenden wurde als grosser Bedarf das gemeinsame Erstellen und gleichzeitige Bearbeiten von Texten und Dokumenten sowie eine Diskussions- und Kommentarfunktion identifiziert. Diese Bedürfnisse werden durch eine Kombination der folgenden Tools abgedeckt.

    Pressbooks bietet die Möglichkeit digitale Bücher zu erstellen. Dies erfolgt direkt im Learning Management System Moodle der ETH. Die Studierenden können darin gemeinsam an umfangreichen Dokumenten arbeiten, welche am Ende ein digitales Buch ergeben. Längere Dokumente können attraktiv dargestellt und doch flexibel bearbeitet werden.

    Mögliche Einsatzszenarien sind:

    • gemeinsames Erstellen und Überarbeiten von Skripten/Zusammenfassungen
    • Reviewen von Dokumenten



    Urs Brändle vom D-Usys hat dieses Semester Pressbooks genutzt um die Datenauswertung für die Biodiversitätsexkursion aus dem FS 2018 zusammen mit seinen Studierenden zu dokumentieren.

    Die Exkursionsgruppen schreiben jeweils ein Kapitel des eBooks, zum Beispiel zu Wasservögeln im Zürcher Seebecken, Flechten auf Stadtbäumen oder Makroinvertebraten in Fliessgewässern. Über die Revisionshistorie lässt sich genau nachvollziehen, wer was geschrieben hat. Kommentare ermöglichen Diskussionen oder Hinweise für Verbesserungen. Die Arbeitsprozesse sind somit transparent und ermöglichen den Studierenden den Vergleich und das Betrachten der Inhalte der jeweils anderen Exkursionsgruppen.


    PolyboxEdu basiert auf dem etablierten Cloudspeicherdienst der ETH Polybox. PolyboxEdu bietet das gemeinsame synchrone Bearbeiten von Dokumenten in gängigen Office-Formaten. Diese können innerhalb der ETH geteilt und bearbeitet werden. Gleichzeitig kann die PolyboxEdu als Dateiablage (Repository) in Moodle genutzt werden (Anleitung).

    Da die Studierenden auf PolyboxEdu auch selbst Arbeitsgruppen bilden können bietet es sich ideal für Formen von Student Directed Learning an, bei denen der Dozent nicht direkt Einfluss auf die Lerninhalte nimmt.


    Mögliche Einsatzszenarien sind:

    • Ablage umfangreicherer Dateien direkt aus Moodle
    • Synchrones Zusammenarbeiten an Dokumenten (Versuchsprotkolle, Seminararbeiten, Ideensammlung etc.)

    Geplant ist ausserdem ein Online Annotationstool um Zusammenarbeit, Kommunikation und kritisches Denken zu unterstützen. Geplant ist die Einführung im vierten Quartal 2018.

    Für konkrete technische Hilfe und Umsetzung von eCollaboration Formaten steht Ihnen das Beratungsteam oder Melanie Walter (Projektleitung eCollaboration) gerne zur Verfügung.

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