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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:  https://systemicdesignlabs.ethz.ch/drrs-mooc/

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

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Hybrid teaching at ETH – the journey so far

The new semester has just begun. The pandemic situation allows to start the semester in attendance and most students and teaching staff are looking forward to it. And spring is coming! It also seems to be a good moment to reflect further on teaching concepts faculty might have adopted or developed based on experiences in the remote teaching phase and from the autumn semester 2021.

So, what’s up with hybrid teaching at ETH Zurich?

We use the term ‘hybrid’ to refer to the simultaneous delivery of face-to-face and online teaching, i.e., some students are on-site while other simultaneously are online. In conversations with the educational developers at the different ETH departments, it became clearer that this approach can pose many challenges. Handling the technical infrastructure is complex, and the cognitive load for instructors to manage both student bodies simultaneously is high. Some students participating online report that they feel like “second class citizens” in a hybrid teaching scenario. Interaction is generally challenging, and there might be substantial additional investment required to cater to both learning experiences equally and simultaneously – not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of development of didactic strategies. This is not to say that there have not already been successful experiences with hybrid teaching in small groups or special instructional scenarios – however, hybrid teaching was pretty quickly discarded as a general option for post-pandemic teaching at ETH.

New work asks for more flexible learning

The pandemic has accelerated implementations of new work concepts, such as working remotely in home office and collaborating in hybrid teams. Working environments have changed fundamentally and will continue to evolve. These concepts will also change the demands on learning and teaching environments in higher education; greater flexibility will be expected.

In an internal survey at ETH during the remote teaching phase, students stated that they would like to have on average two days per week of remote learning; hybrid teaching is not the only option to make this happen, there are asynchronous strategies we can follow to blend on-site and online learning. In addition, ETH is expecting increased student growth in the next few years without an increase in physical teaching space, and in particular laboratory space might be our most precious commodity. A range of innovative teaching and learning concepts will be needed, which scale under these circumstances and enable all members of our academic community to cope and thrive with more flexibility – without compromising on the quality of student learning.

Hybrid teaching is part of a strategic effort

In a recent workshop on “Hybrid Teaching and Learning in higher education,” organised by the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, colleagues discussed whether hybrid teaching will remain a responsive solution or become an innovative alternative to current practice. Of course, the answer is not binary and the discussion around tips and tricks, technical implementation strategies, and pedagogical aspects was very comprehensive and diverse (recordings available here). An interesting observation is that the idea of hybrid teaching in a classroom is often just one element of a strategic initiative on program-level that focusses on pedagogic change. An example is the Connected Learning at Scale (CLaS) at the business school of the University of Sydney, which builds on three principles

  1. Information engagement: students both individually and collectively engage with discipline knowledge as opposed to having it broadcast at them in a lecture.
  2. Connected participation and active learning: face-to-face teaching time, student learning activities and technology are leveraged to build connections and networks to address, debate and solve critical global and local challenges though innovative teaching approaches
  3. Relevant and authentic assessment and feed-forward: learning is applied and tested through relevant assessments supported by opportunities to receive and share feedback from academics and peers.

“Hybrid learning isn’t simply the experience in the classroom as it happens”, says Peter Bryant, Associate Dean of Education of the business school in his keynote in the workshop, “it is about the way the curriculum is designed.” It includes the design of assessments, physical and virtual spaces, student experience and the community that is formed.

It seems that the journey of hybrid teaching and its variants at ETH might not be over yet, especially if it is discussed ongoingly with all stakeholders in the context of pedagogic change.

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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 jupyterhub@let.ethz.ch 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 (https://unity.com) oder Jupyter (https://jupyter.org) in Verbindung mit IPython (https://ipython.org/notebook.html). 

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: www.innovedum.ethz.ch

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Arbeiten in der Abteilung LET während der Pandemie

Die Corona Pandemie hat auf der ganzen Welt zu Veränderungen und Anpassungen geführt. Dies trifft auch auf die Abteilung LET zu. Im August 2020 habe ich im Rahmen meiner Ausbildung zum Informatiker Fachrichtung Systemtechnik von Young ‘n’ Rising in die Abteilung LET gewechselt. Zu dieser Zeit waren die Meisten im Homeoffice tätig.

Die Abteilung in einer solchen Zeit zu wechseln ist etwas Eigenartiges. Ich hatte das Glück, dass ich mein Team persönlich kennenlernen durfte. Die ersten zwei Wochen war ich an jedem Arbeitstag mit einer anderen Person im Büro. «Kennenlernen» hielt sich hierbei natürlich in Grenzen, da es jeweils nur ein Tag war. Meine Teamkollegen gaben mir jeweils einen Einblick in ihre Arbeiten. So lernte ich was mein Team macht und womit ich in Zukunft arbeiten werde. Ausserhalb meines Teams habe ich drei bis vier Personen mal persönlich im Flur getroffen. Weitere Personen habe ich früher oder später online kennengelernt. Noch heute gibt es viele Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter an der Abteilung LET, welche ich noch nie persönlich getroffen habe. Es gibt sogar welche, mit denen ich noch gar nie etwas zu tun hatte. Für gewisse Leute scheint es normal, dass man nicht alle Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter aus der Abteilung kennt. Man muss hierbei jedoch bedenken, dass die Abteilung LET mit rund 50 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter eher eine kleine Abteilung ist.

Für mich war das ganze «Online die Leute kennen lernen» nicht wirklich schlimm oder komisch. Ich habe in meiner Freizeit viel mit Computer und den neusten Techniken zu tun und bin mir das deshalb gewohnt. Für mich war es nichts Neues über Tools wie Zoom oder Teams zu kommunizieren.
Ich bin nun genau ein Jahr im Homeoffice. Die Tage, an welchen ich seit März 2020 im Büro war, liegen bei unter 20. Für die meisten wäre das nichts, was sie aushalten würden. Ich höre von vielen, dass sie ins Büro wollen um einen Austausch zu haben. Eine Veränderung und einen Perspektivenwechsel. Ich selbst merke das nicht sehr stark. Das einzige was ich eine Zeit lang gemerkt habe war, dass mein Zimmer nicht mehr nur mit Freizeit oder Privatleben zu tun hat. Es ist seit einem Jahr auch mein Arbeitsplatz. Ich kann mich selbst sehr glücklich schätzen, dass ich zuhause das nötige Material habe, um anständig arbeiten zu können. Ich musste mir aufgrund des Homeoffices keine neue Peripherie wie Bildschirme oder eine Tastatur kaufen.

Trotz allem war der Anfang und auch jetzt noch das tägliche Arbeiten an der Abteilung LET während dem Homeoffice sehr angenehm. Es gibt viele Personen in der Abteilung, welche sich enorm bemühen, die soziale Interaktion zwischen den Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter hoch zu halten. Auf diese Art und Weise konnte ich mich auch schon mit Personen austauschen, mit welchen ich rein durch die Arbeit nicht viel bis gar kein Kontakt gehabt hätte.

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