FAQ on the Topic of Coronavirus

Studies and Teaching

When will lectures and courses start again?

The start of courses with on-site attendance was initially postponed until 20 April 2020. In cooperation with the State Rectors' Conferences of the Universities (Landesrektorenkonferenzen), Universities of Applied Sciences (HAW) and the Universities of Art and Music of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ministry of Culture and Science has now reached an agreement to continue to offer online-based teaching for the time being, starting on 20 April. At the moment, it is not yet possible to determine whether face-to-face teaching will be possible in the course of the summer semester.

Do I work on the teaching content independently in self-study? Or are some topics simply left out?

Since 30 March, the faculties have been offering online courses. This means that students can access lectures or materials from home and work on the teaching content from home.

Will the semester be extended? If so, for how long?

The semester will not be extended. The end of the semester will therefore not be postponed.

Will the prescribed period of study be extended?

According to Section 10 of the Corona Epidemic University Ordinance (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung, or CHVO for short), the prescribed period of study is to be extended by one semester for all students registered in the summer semester 2020. This does not mean that all deadlines in the Examination Regulations are postponed. It only means that you are registered in a degree programme, the prescribed period of study of which is extended by one semester. Whether the modification of the prescribed period of study also involves an extension of the BAFöG payments has not yet been determined.

Are practical trainings taking place?

Practical trainings in laboratories as well as work in workshops cannot yet all be replaced digitally. Videos from in-house laboratories or interactive test evaluation in a dialogue are possible. The laboratory practical training cannot be implemented in an equivalent manner. Access and conduct via remote access is being prepared. In addition, it is being reviewed whether, in important exceptional cases (e.g. final theses), a special arrangement for attendance in workshops and laboratories can be made possible.

Will summer schools be taking place at FH Aachen this year?

Whether, and to what extent, summer schools can take place at the FH Aachen this year is still being discussed. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about it right away.

Can I return or borrow books in the library?

In exceptional cases, FH Aachen University members are allowed to contact our emergency service and ask for an appointment. The emergency services of the branch libraries may be contacted via e-mail (bibliothek(at)fh-aachen.de) oder by phone. 
If you make use of the emergency service for borrowing or returning books, please use the self-service machine in the library.

 

 

 

Is access to the laboratories or workshops possible?

Practical trainings in laboratories as well as work in workshops cannot yet all be replaced digitally. However, videos from in-house laboratories, or the interactive evaluation of experiments in a dialogue, are possible. The laboratory practical training cannot be implemented in an equivalent manner. Access and conduct via remote access is being prepared. Furthermore, it is being reviewed whether, in important exceptional cases (e.g. final theses), a special arrangement for attendance in workshops and laboratories can be made possible.

If the prescribed period of study is extended, will I also receive an extra semester of BAföG assistance?

The legal implementation regarding funding for BAföG recipients is currently still being reviewed. Although this review has not yet been completed, the Studierendenwerk advises all those receiving BAföG to submit an application for an extension as a precaution and as quickly as possible. You can find all information on this on the website of the Studierendenwerk.

What about my practical project?

Upon request, the practical project can be postponed, extended or completed in the home office. Please contact the responsible Examination Office for this.

Examinations

Will examinations be postponed or completely cancelled?

Are inspections taking place?

If required, inspection of written exams can be granted as an attendance appointment in compliance with the valid distance and hygiene regulations or, if possible, in digital form or via video conference. If, in exceptional cases, face-to-face meetings do take place, students can be divided into groups. Upon request to the Examination Office, one group at a time will be given the opportunity for inspection before the start of the next examination phase.

What happens if I do not have enough credit points as required by the BAFög Office?

If, due to the cancellation of the written exams, you cannot prove to the BAFöG office that you have sufficient credit points, the deadline will be postponed by one semester.

Can I submit my final thesis to the examination office?

The examination offices have limited their opening hours considerably, but can be contacted by email. We would therefore ask you, in such a case, to contact your respective examination office directly and ask them how to submit your final thesis.

What about my colloquium?

Colloquiums will be held with the agreement of all parties involved. Moreover, video colloquiums are also permitted.

Will the examination phase in summer perhaps be pushed back?

There are no plans to postpone the examinations in the summer semester. These should take place, as usual, in June/July. Whether the examination phases will be extended has not yet been decided.

Will there be online written exams?

Written exams can be conducted as online exams or video exams. Your faculty will find inform you which type of examination is being offered four weeks before the examination date, at the latest.

When will students in dual study programmes write their IHK final exams?

The IHK final exams have also been postponed. The practical exams will start from early May, the written parts of the exams have been postponed to June 2020. Detailed information is available on the IHK  website.

Why is the obligation to wear a mask also required during an exam?

Safety has the highest priority here. Due to the conditions on the premises, the minimum distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained in the hallways at all times. Protecting the health of the supervisors must also be kept in mind.

Will there be an additional free attempt ("Freiversuch") for the exams?

According to Section 7(4) of the CHVO, examinations that are taken for the first time and are not passed are considered as not taken at all. Whether this also applies to second and third attempts has not yet been decided.

Are free attempts valid for all examinations?

With regard to the free attempts, it is irrelevant whether the examination is taken in the first, second or third attempt. However, no free attempts can be claimed for an attempt at improvement. A free attempt is still only valid for examinations which, according to the sequence of studies, are part of the regular semester (Regelsemester) or one of the preceding semesters (no free attempt in the case of the preponement of examinations). In justified individual cases, e.g. after a change of university, the examination board can approve individual exceptions upon justified request.

 

 

When will registrations for the examinations for the summer semester 2020 be taking place?

In most cases, registration will not be possible until early June, at which time the examination dates will be set. Please check with your responsible examination office and/or on your faculty's website.

Will the deadline for submission of my final thesis be extended?

The deadline for the submission of final theses may be extended by the responsible Examination Board beyond the maximum deadlines stipulated in the Examination Regulations, due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Please contact your faculty directly for more information. The other regulations will remain unaffected.

 

 

Oral Online Examinations

What do I have to be aware of regarding oral online examinationss?

Oral examinations can be conducted digitally via video conference. The duty of a second examiner may be suspended for oral examinations by video conference after notification and with the consent of the examinee, provided that the oral examination is recorded. If a second examiner is subsequently called in, the recording serves as a basis for the second examiner's assessment.

Which technical and spatial requirements do I have to fulfil for an oral online examination?

In order to conduct the oral examination via video conference system, students must ensure the
following technical and spatial requirements for themselves:

  1. They must be equipped with the technical means to set up a video conference.
  2. The room in which the student is located should be closed.
  3. The room must be such that disturbances from outside can be avoided for the duration of the
    examination.
  4. During the examination, students shall be visible in the video frame as completely as possible with their upper body and hands (newsreader perspective).
  5. If it is foreseeable for the student that he or she will not be able to fulfil one or more of the technical or spatial requirements, he or she must submit an application to the examination board ten days before the examination date.

 

What if technical problems occur during the online examinations?

If, during the examination, the connection is interrupted for reasons beyond the control of those
involved in the examination, without this leading to a significant disturbance of the examination, the
examination shall be continued.

If problems in signal transmission are so significant that the examination is negatively affected in a
relevant manner, the examination shall be terminated and repeated. It is the responsibility of the
examiners to assess whether a significant disturbance has occurred.

Should the student terminate the video conference during the examination without a technical error
being verifiable, the examination shall be graded as "not sufficient" (nicht ausreichend, 5.0).

Students can provide proof of technical errors by creating screenshots (in case of error messages)
including a description, and sending them to a functional email address, or the DVZ can analyse the
error messages, provided that they are server-sided errors which generate corresponding error
messages in the logs.
 

How does the oral online examination proceed?

Before the beginning of the examination, the student shall identify him/herself by means of an
official photo ID. The room in which the student is located should be shown to the examiners with the help of a camera before the start of the exam in order to ensure that no other persons or inadmissible aids are within reach. During the examination, it is possible to ask the student to show the room to the examiners via camera again, in order to rule out any attempt at deception.

The examiner shall write the minutes of the examination. These minutes have to document the
technical framework conditions (in particular the type of software used, the quality of the transmission,
possible disturbances, explanatory notes), special occurrences as well as the answers of the examinee
in detail. If consent has been given with regard to the recording of the oral examination, the recording
shall supplement the minutes; documenting the answers in the minutes may be dispensed with.

If the examination is conducted by several examiners, the grades are determined without the
participation of the student. During this time, the connection is muted and the video transmission is
interrupted at one end by the examiners.

Important: The respective examination boards may adopt further provisions regarding the course of the oral examinations via video conference system; they shall provide the examinees with the relevant
information in a suitable form before the examination.

 

 

Written Online Examinations

Which technical and spatial requirements do I have to fulfil for a written online examination?

In order to conduct the written examination under supervision (Klausur) via video conference system, students must ensure the following technical and spatial requirements for themselves:

  1. They must be equipped with the technical means to set up a video conference.
  2. The room in which the student is located should be closed
  3. The room must be such that disturbances from outside can be avoided for the duration of the examination.
  4. The camera must be set up in such a way that the video image shows the student in half profile during the examination and allows the writing process to be observed. For right-handed students, the camera is therefore positioned diagonally to the left of the person, for left-handed students, diagonally to the right of the person.
  5. If it is foreseeable for the student that he or she will not be able to fulfil one or more of the technical or spatial requirements, he or she must submit an application to the examination board ten days before the examination date.

 

 

How do I get the documents for the written online examination?

Each student will, in due time, receive the following documents in a mailing envelope by post before
the written examination date:

  1. A leaflet with instructions on how the exam is conducted.
  2. An additional sealed envelope with the written exam paper (stapled and stamped). This envelope may only be opened under supervision at the time of the written examination.
  3. if necessary, an additional sealed envelope with examination materials (e. g. illustrations, text
    extracts, etc.). This envelope may also only be opened under supervision.
  4. A stamped and addressed envelope (return envelope) with a self-adhesive flap.
  5. Where appropriate, a seal.

The tasks are either sent by email immediately before the start of the written examination or
dictated by the supervisor.

Under supervision, the written examination materials are placed in the return envelope at the end
of the written examination, and the envelope is sealed shut. The seam is either pasted up with the
enclosed seal or it is signed.

After the end of the examination, the student shall send the return envelope to the examination
board by postal mail.

 

How does the written online examination proceed?

Before the beginning of the examination, the student shall identify him/herself by means of an
official photo ID.

The room in which the student is located should be shown to the supervisor with the help of the
camera before the start of the exam in order to ensure that no other persons or inadmissible aids are
within reach. During the examination, it is possible to ask the student to show the room to the supervisor via camera again, in order to rule out any attempt at deception.

The tasks are either sent by email immediately before the start of the written examination or dictated by the supervisor.

Under supervision, the written examination materials are placed in the return envelope at the end
of the written examination, and the envelope is sealed shut. The seam is either pasted up with the
enclosed seal or it is signed. After the end of the examination, the student shall send the return envelope to the examination board by postal mail.

The supervisor shall write the minutes of the examination. These minutes have to document the
technical framework conditions (in particular the type of software used, the quality of the transmission,
possible disturbances, explanatory notes) as well as special occurrences.

Important: The respective examination boards may adopt further provisions regarding the course of the written examinations (Klausuren) by video conference system. They shall provide the examinees with the relevant information in a suitable form before the examination.

Written Examinations Without Supervision (Open Book Exams/Take Home Exams)

What is an Open Book Exam?

Open Book Exams, or "Koffer-Klausuren" (roughly translates as "suitcase examinations"), are the formats where students are allowed to use materials such as books, records (in the current crisis, Internet sources and programmes as well) in the examination situation. It is up to the examiner to decide which materials can or may be used, and this is communicated in advance.

Accordingly, Open Book Exams aim at examining synthesis or transfer achievements: Students apply previously acquired knowledge to specific problems. The Open Book Exam therefore does not exclusively test the level of knowledge, but goes beyond the specified course content and requires students to think for themselves. Consequently, it is important when assigning tasks to make sure that the tasks are set in a competence-oriented manner.

Students work on the task from home within the designated examination time (online written examination).

The exact procedure for an Open Book Exam is determined and communicated by the examiner in advance.

 

 

 

What is a Take Home Exam?

A Take Home Exam is a form of examination that can be conducted within a tight time frame, but independent of both time and location (and, hence, also from home). In contrast to an online examination, students do not necessarily work on the tasks synchronously. For a two-hour examination, roughly 6 to 48 hours can be set as a time frame. It can be classed as an intermediate form of a seminar paper and an Open Book examination.

This type of examination tends to be suited for smaller group sizes. The structure can be similar to a question-led paper, in which individual questions (often building on each other) are solved independently - at home - within a certain processing time. The task can be set identically for all students or differ individually. Complex tasks predominate, frequently involving open questions that require creative thinking. This format is less suitable for testing factual knowledge by means of standard questions. With the help of a Take Home Exam, it should instead be tested whether students are capable of application, analysis, argumentation or evaluation.

The exact procedure for a Take Home Exam is determined by the examiner and communicated in advance.

 

 

How is an Open Book Exam / Take Home Exam conducted?

Two weeks prior to the examination, students shall be informed by the examiner as to which
technical and spatial requirements have to be fulfilled in order to take part in the examination. In
addition, they shall be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves sufficiently well with the system
before the examination. Trial examinations or examination demos are recommended for this purpose.
Students identify themselves by logging on to the learning platform. By checking the box, each
examinee then confirms that he or she is fit to sit the exam and that the necessary requirements have been fulfilled. It is prohibited for students to record and disseminate the examination questions.

The tasks are distributed by way of the learning platform.

Depending on the guidelines of the examiner, the tasks are either completed directly on a screen
of the learning platform or it is uploaded back to the learning platform after being completed on the
examinee‘s own computer and converted into a PDF format. Insofar as drawings, formulas etc. have to
be created, the task can also be completed on paper, photographed and then uploaded to the learning
platform or sent by email to a functional address, depending on the guidelines of the examiner. The
uploaded document must be clearly readable. In this case, the examinee is obliged to keep the original
work created during the exam for one year and to make it available to the examiner upon request.

At the end of the examination, a declaration is requested in the form of a pop-up message box. The student must click on this message box to confirm that the present examination has been completedindependently and without unauthorised assistance.

The examiner shall write the minutes of the examination. These minutes have to document the
technical framework conditions (in particular the beginning and end of the examination, completion
time per task, the type of software used, the quality of the transmission, possible disturbances,
explanatory notes) as well as special occurrences.

Important: The examination board may adopt further provisions on the course of the examinations which are to be made available to the examinees in a suitable form before the examination.

 

 

 

What if I have questions during the Open Book Exam or Take Home Exam?

It must be ensured that a contact person is available during the entire time of the examination (in
the case of Take Home Exams during certain periods of the examination, which must be announced to
the students in advance) in order to answer any questions regarding content and organisation. For this
purpose, a channel must be established between the student and the contact person where questions
can be asked in text form or cases of illness which occur during the examination can be reported. The
design of the channel is the responsibility of the person responsible for the module.

 

 

 

Opening Hours and Availability

Will the service facilities still be available?

All service facilities remain available. Apart from limited office hours on site, you can reach the staff by phone and by email. Please refer to the respective websites of the different facilities for possible opening hours as well as contact details.

Will the university buildings remain open?

Dining Halls and University Sport

Can I still eat in the dining hall (Mensa)?

The dining halls of the Studierendenwerk will remain closed until further notice.

Is university sport taking place?

As of 2 June 2020, the University Sports Center will start a limited exercise programme comprising offers that are contact-free and do not require shared use of sporting equipment. More information is available  on the University Sport website. In addition, the University Sports Center (Hochschulsportzentrum ) has launched a digital offer, the so-called "HSZ Digital Workouts". Further information, and past workouts, can be accessed here.

Other Information

Do I have to start my semester abroad?

If a semester abroad is part of the study plan and it cannot be started due to the Corona Pandemic, it may be replaced by a 4-month international project at FH Aachen or in a company. Please contact the responsible examination office for this.

Are pre-study practical trainings an admission requirement?

Pre-study practical trainings will not be required for registration for the winter semester 2020/21.

 

 

What's the current situation in the City of Aachen?

You can follow the latest, updated news about the situation in the city on the City of Aachen's website.

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