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Focus on Exploring AI in Academic Writing: Two innovative Innovedum projects

//Important note: This blog post was created with the help of Open AI’s Chat GPT and the project descriptions published on It is also an attempt to find out to what extent this tool adds value when composing blog posts.// 

In the realm of academia, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up new avenues for enhancing the process of scholarly writing. Two recently accepted, pioneering Innovedum projects at ETH Zurich, led by Prof. Dr. Lucio Isa and Dr. Melanie Paschke, delve into the integration of AI in the world of academic writing. Despite differing focuses, these projects share a common drive to elevate the quality and effectiveness of scholarly communication through innovative approaches. 

Project 1: Experiential learning: The publication process 

Led by Prof. Dr. Lucio Isa, this project aims to provide doctoral candidates with a firsthand experience of the publication process. Through an experiential learning approach, participants embark on a journey from idea conception to submission, honing not only their writing skills but also key competencies like teamwork, critical thinking, and self-reflection. By simulating the entire publication process with the inclusion of Chat GPT, this project offers a holistic understanding of academic writing. 

Project 2: Assessing the Potential of AI for Scientific Writing Techniques  

Under the guidance of Dr. Melanie Paschke, this initiative focuses on the integration of AI tools, particularly GPT-Bots and Large Language Models, into the realm of academic writing. The project’s core goal is to explore the potential of AI in assisting various facets of scholarly writing, ranging from supporting the writing process to addressing concerns like plagiarism and research integrity. A focus is on integrating ChatGPT into existing courses mainly at DUSYS where scientific writing is part of the course learning path and to co-develop with lecturers meaningful exercises and guidance to teach participants the use of generative AI and also the critical assessment of the outputs. Through collaborative development with educators, the project aims to define best practices for using AI responsibly in academia. 

In a changing educational landscape, projects like these are helping to improve learning and teaching experiences. By using AI as a tool to promote academic writing, they rely on innovative approaches to foster transferable skills and create best practices. Ultimately, they prepare students to succeed in an increasingly technological world. 

You can find more information on both projects at:

If you are interested in starting your own project feel free to contact Innovedum.

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New Innovedum Focal Point Theme: “AI in Teaching and Learning”  

As technology and education intersect more than ever, the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly apparent. Just as earlier pioneers revolutionized classrooms through the advent of the internet, we now find ourselves on the cusp of another educational evolution, this time driven by AI. The latest focal point theme for the Innovedum project, “AI in Teaching and Learning,” paves the way for a pathbreaking new era of education by offering a unique opportunity to integrate AI into teaching methods.  

A Glimpse into the Future: “AI in Teaching and Learning”  

Commencing on October 1, 2023, the focal point theme “AI in Teaching and Learning” sets the stage for innovative changes in education. With AI-driven tools and technologies becoming an integral part of our daily lives, lecturers face the task of effectively embracing these resources to enhance the learning experience. Simultaneously, they must ensure students acquire the crucial skills of critical thinking and problem-solving, enabling them to excel in a world powered by AI. The focal point theme “AI in Teaching and Learning” delves into the challenges and possibilities that arise from integrating AI into higher education, revealing how lecturers and students can harness the potential of this technology. 

Several intriguing aspects stem from this focal point theme, including:  

  1.  Personalized Learning Experiences: Lecturers can harness AI-powered tools to tailor learning experiences for students. By accommodating individual learning styles and preferences, engagement can be boosted, leading to improved academic performance.  
  1. Optimizing Course Design and Content: AI empowers lecturers to fine-tune course design and instructional materials, allowing them to dedicate more time to intricate tasks such as critical thinking and problem-solving. This, in turn, can lead to more effective teaching and improved learning outcomes.  
  1. Personalized Feedback and Support: AI-based tools offer students personalized feedback and support. This assists them in identifying strengths and areas for improvement, ultimately enhancing academic achievements and optimizing study time.  
  1. Fostering Transferable Skills: The integration of AI into education provides students with an opportunity not only to acquire AI-specific skills but also to cultivate transferable skills encompassing ethics, data privacy, and social impact. Such skills are pivotal in an AI-driven landscape.  

Your Invitation to Shape the Future: Join the Movement  

For lecturers at ETH, the Innovedum focal point theme “AI in Teaching and Learning” extends an unprecedented opportunity to play a pioneering role in the future of education. Starting on October 1, 2023, the project welcomes imaginative minds to conceptualize and present projects exploring the incorporation of AI into teaching and learning. Your project could be the catalyst for ushering in a new educational epoch—one that empowers students and lecturers alike to flourish in an AI-driven world.  

Innovedum remains committed to fostering innovative teaching practices. Whether you’re contemplating fresh approaches to course design, capitalizing on AI for personalized learning, or delving into the ethical dimensions of AI integration, Innovedum supports the actualization of your vision with practical consulting and valuable resources.  

As you embark on this transformative journey, remember that the future is being shaped by the capabilities of AI. It’s noteworthy that this very blog post was crafted with the assistance of AI—an illustration of the innovation we invite you to explore. Together, let’s forge a new educational era that fully embraces AI’s potential, paving the way for boundless opportunities in learning and teaching. 

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Behind the scenes: The making of a new blended learning course 

When designing a blended learning course, it is crucial to take multiple factors into account, especially for the online modules. These factors include selecting appropriate course materials, planning engaging activities, finding ways to keep students interested, and creating effective assessments. A good teacher-student relationship is also essential for online learning and requires special attention.

For our recently developed blended learning course on Radionuclides as Environmental Tracers, we showcased the versatility of natural and artificial radionuclides as tracers for environmental processes. By blending in-person and online modules, students explore the fundamentals of radionuclides and their potential for investigating various environmental processes through case studies. For the production of the “Meet Your Instructor” videos for each case study,  we collaborated with the Educational Media Team. This was funded by an Innovedum Grant. These videos serve various didactic and educational purposes. Firstly, they act as introductions to each section, establishing a connection between participants and the lecturers. Secondly, the camera team joined our lecturers on field trips, enhancing students’ learning experience by capturing authentic research activities in locations that may be inaccessible to them, such as the stalagmites cave of Milandre (see featured video). Additionally, we co-designed animations to illustrate complex concepts and emphasize aspects that cannot be effectively captured on camera.

Collaborating with the EMT has been a fantastic experience. They provided a wealth of knowledge and expertise in creating high-quality audiovisual content for teaching. Together, we gathered the expertise of different stakeholders to develop a series of dynamic and visually engaging introduction videos with our case study experts. We began the process by establishing the key concepts and ideas for each case study in co-design with the EMT. Based on these concepts, we formulated a set of interview questions for the experts. Filming took place at locations that were relevant to each case study, such as labs, mountains, and even caves. Working with a Spanish film team via Zoom also went smoothly. The interview video clips served as the basis for co-developing the script with the project leaders and the case study experts. We then identified sequences that would be suitable for animation, and the EMT designed – always in close collaborations with the case study experts, to guarantee scientific accuracy – beautifully crafted animations to illustrate the core concepts of the case studies. Throughout the process, we provided feedback and input to ensure that the videos aligned with our goals and expectations for the course.

The final product, a series of “meet your instructor” videos, will be available soon. We believe that these videos will help establish a connection with our students and generate excitement about the course material. The process of creating these videos was a collaborative and rewarding experience that allowed us to produce a high-quality, user-centered product that we are confident will improve the learning process for our students. As scientists who are not used to being in front of a camera, it was great to experience the empathy and practical advice that the EMT provided. We even enjoyed it, despite our initial apprehension.

In summary, our collaboration with the Educational Media Team was a valuable and enjoyable experience. We are eager to see the impact these videos will have on our students’ engagement and learning in the course.

Author: Caroline Welte (

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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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    Did you know there is a JupyterHub at ETH?

    In the framework of the computational competencies initiative at ETH, a JupyterHub has been established at LET. This brand-new JupyterHub serves JupyterNotebooks to everyone involved in teaching and learning at ETH.

    JupyterNotebooks are interactive documents, which combine code, text and animations. Different programming languages, like Python, R, Julia, Octave or Open Modelica are supported. Sign in through a plug-in from your course in Moodle and enjoy using JupyterNotebooks without additional authenticaton or the need to install anything on your computer. This holds for everyone involved in a course. No matter if your role is student or teacher, you can reach your personal JupyterLab environment on the JupyterHub with one click and it runs in your browser.

    This is what the plug-in in Moodle looks like, which takes you straight to your JupyterHub hosted by LET

    Example of a simple JupyterNotebook in Python on the LET JupyterHub

    In your course you can use JupyterNotebooks as

    • interactive textbooks which support lectures or exercises
    • assignment sheets, where students answer questions and write code in a pre-defined (coding) environment
    • or just as an environment to combine text, code, and visualizations, either for students to work on assignments or for teachers for demo purposes
    • learning journal for documenting learning progress

    Choose JupyterNotebook as type of assignment in Moodle

    First, start your JupyterHub through the plug-in in Moodle. Either create a new JupyterNotebook right in your JupyterHub or upload your work. Also include additional files, which you might want to distribute together with your Notebook, like data files, etc, in the same folder on your JupyterHub. Once your assignment in the form of a JupyterNotebook and optinal accompanying files are ready on your space on the Hub, you can include it directly in the assignment activity in Moodle: When you choose Jupyter notebooks as submission type, it shows you the folder tree in your Jupyter workspace on the Hub. Select a folder to distribute all files inside this folder to your students in the form of an assignment.

    The students will be able to select a folder on their Jupyter workspace once they download the assignment. And when the assignment is finished and ready to be submitted, again the students will be able to select a folder from their JupyterHub workspace to submit, which might of course contain more files than just the JupyterNotebook itself.

    Additionally, students can not only use the JupyterHub through distributed assignments, but they also get the same plug-in in Moodle to reach their space on the JupyterHub to do their own coursework.

    First users

    During fall term 2021 first pilot users have been using the JupyterHub for in-class exercises, for documentation and evaluation of lab experiments, for entire homework assignments and also as a tool to complete a part of an assignment. There are of course many more use cases, and we can even offer you to use JupyterNotebooks on the Hub in your exams.

    Interested? Just contact us at for more information and to activate the JupyterHub for your course in Moodle. As of now, the Hub won’t be available by default for your course.

    We are looking forward to welcome new users across all departments!

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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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