Teaching in the winter semester 2020/21

Determining factors, planning principles and support

Determining Factors

  • Due to the volatile infection-related situation and accompanying uncertainty, a high level of flexibility is required in the teaching process for the winter semester. Rules relating to distancing and hygiene must be observed in all circumstances.
  • Courses can be held in the winter semester either in digital or hybrid form, or on-site. The decision regarding a format will be influenced by the following parameters:
    • guidelines from the directorate of studies concerned (e.g.: priority given to units of the introduction and orientation period (STEOP) on site, major lectures in digital format …),  
    • requirements and possibilities of each course concerned,  
    • room conditions on-site and  
    • current infection status in each case (can change rapidly). 
  • Current room information (occupancy rate under Coronavirus-related conditions, technical equipment) can be found in u:space. Information concerning how to deal with the infection-related situation can be found in the intranet, see Coronavirus, teaching.

Planning Principles

  • So that teaching and examining – regardless of infection-related conditions – remain stable, teachers are recommended to accompany their courses digitally in Moodle from the outset. It should be possible to switch courses within a short period of time to purely digital format (live synchronous or asynchronous), in case they are not carried out in fully digital format. 
  • At the heart of planning lie the prioritised learning outcomes that students should attain. The time available on-site is particularly valuable and should therefore be used in a focused way (e.g. for units of the introduction and orientation period (STEOP), for building specific skills in discussion- or exercise-intensive teaching). 
  • The synchronous or nearly synchronous contact hours (1 hour per week per semester (SWS or ‘Semesterwochenstunde’) = 14 units of 45 min. each) with the students (on-site or with digital presence) are intended to ensure high-quality interaction between teachers and students. The design of the contact hours depends on the type and didactic concept of the course concerned. 

Course models and formats

  • The University of Vienna continues to see itself as a university with on-site teaching and wishes to enable its students to engage directly with both teachers and peers. 
  • Hybrid teaching represents a chance for teachers to ensure this in the present situation, too. In this, a limited group of students takes part in the lecture hall, while a group follows digitally (live synchronous or asynchronous). On-site presence can be switched to digital presence (live synchronous) if required by infection-related conditions.  
  • In the case of hybrid formats, student assistants, and students, too, can provide support in specific roles (see handouts). Students can act as an intermediary in order to involve the group that participates digitally and, for example, be responsible for presentation in the digital space. For this they can earn bonus points or partial achievements. 

Further information on the models can be found here.


  • Support services for teachers – models and Moodle templates providing inspiration for hybrid courses, virtual office hours, webinars, personal consultation – can be found here.