Research- and skills-oriented teaching and examination forms

Research-oriented teaching

Research-oriented teaching is not only useful for those interested in pursuing an academic career. Theory-based, method-guided and problem-focussed teaching and learning offer students a high potential of transfer, from which they can benefit throughout their professional lives.

What this means with respect to degree programme development is that students should be allowed to try their hand at research. By introducing them to current research developments and allowing them to gain first-time experience in research, the students' interests are shifted to the fore.

"Learning through Research" is a principle inscribed in the didactic design of the degree programme. Its most essential components include a strong student-focus, qualification in methodology, curricular flexibility with regard to specialisation and profile-building, interdisciplinarity and a support system for projects and final theses. The students should be allowed to develop their research projects independently. This can be an effective tool for counteracting school-based learning habits at university – especially for first-time students in bachelor's degree programmes.

Appropriate examination forms

Skills-oriented degree programmes require examinations that are just as skills-oriented. In other words, the form of the examination should assess the key skills which students are expected to learn in the module. It is also necessary to introduce students to different examination forms whose purpose is to assess varying skills: term papers, oral presentations, portfolios, written exams, oral exams, essays, project descriptions etc.

It makes sense to offer module examinations as often as possible rather than course-specific exams, as this not only reduces the number of examinations required, but also promotes greater coherence within the module. Coordinators should confer with the instructors to ensure such procedures correspond to the didactic concept of the examinations.
More information on skills-oriented examinations, innovative examination forms and administering exams during degree programmes [de]

Appropriate examination frequency

Students often complain about the frequency of examinations. There are several ways to address this problem. For example, administering final module examinations whenever possible is more helpful than requiring examinations for individual courses. According to a recommendation by the Accreditation Council, students should not be required to complete more than six examinations per semester on average (depending on how much time is required for their preparation or completion).

Students should also have the opportunity to retake failed examinations within a relatively short period of time.

Additional recommendations

It is a good idea is to consider which required examinations should be calculated into the final grade. For example, instructors can decide not to weight the grade of an introductory or foundational module in order to relieve the pressure of achieving high marks at the start of a programme.

Furthermore, examinations can be administered on a regular basis throughout the semester. This helps reduce the concentration of examinations at the end of the semester.