Governance & Policies

In order to identify changes that may be needed in underlying conditions or regulations or the need for developing strategies, it is necessary first to formulate the possible motives for digitising teaching in abstract form and to examine these empirically.

For the present, the following motives for digitising teaching are conceivable – these can be expressed at various levels. At an individual level, statements by teaching staff initially point to the intrinsic motivation that digitisation is “fun”. This may be joined by a specific research interest or the need to raise their academic profile.

At the institutional level, it is the instrumental motives that dominate. Digitisation can be used for marketing, for enhancing reputation or for expanding the range of activities/portfolio. Particularly when it comes to public-private partnerships, business interests for HEIs are a relevant factor. It is often put forward that digitisation can be used to promote the marriage of research and teaching or the importance and therefore also the quality of teaching. However, it is not expected that HEIs will pursue digitisation in order to save money.

At the macro level of education and higher education policies, the digitisation of teaching is associated with various areas of activity and problem-solving approaches. This applies for the positioning of HEIs or the German HEI system, for the internationalisation of HEIs, for providing access to non-traditional students, for minor disciplines and for the promotion of interdisciplinarity in teaching.

Prof. Dr. Michael Jäckel:

“E-learning has reached many HEIs in the second half of the last decade. So far, it has not led to any great change in everyday teaching and learning. Pragmatic decisions are being made about how and when to use e-learning. It is an interesting and important component that supplements traditional teaching – and above all the organisation of teaching. The ideas now being triggered by the question of MOOCs have also drawn more attention to the question of e-learning, making it a more central point of focus. At the same time, however, it is often asked whether MOOCs stand for something new and sustainable, something that leads to long-term structures. Where does it make sense to use this (new) format? In my view, the German Forum for Higher Education in the Digital Age must take this criticism on board and demonstrate what can be good and achievable objectives for HEI teaching in this environment.”

Publications by the thematic group

Framework for Governance & Policies thematic group (August 2015): This working paper serves to specify the area covered by the Governance & Policies thematic group. To this end, the paper formulates central questions on the areas of organisation, technology, finance and law, which serve as a framework for the thematic group’s work.

Legal questions regarding digital teaching formats (August 2015): Based on eight theses on legal areas such as service law, copyright law, examination law and data protection, the working group’s paper illustrates the legal obstacles and challenges faced by HEIs in their digitisation efforts. The authors give recommended courses of action for HEIs and political representatives as well as providing good practice examples.

HEI Digital Future Library – interim report (August 2015): The digitisation of HEIs also has the potential to bring about fundamental change in the role of academic libraries. In the interim report, the thematic group formulates seven theses regarding the future of HEI libraries and gives initial recommended courses of action for HEIs and political representatives.


Ulrich Aengenvoort
Director, German Association of Adult Education Centres (DVV)
Sebastian Biermann
Head of Student Body, TU Munich
Dr. jur. Ellen Euler
Deputy Managing Director, Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (digital library)
Markus Faller
Head of Department 31 “General Legal Issues, Student Issues”, Saxon State Ministry for Science and Art.
Prof. Dr. Holger Fischer
Former Vice President of Studies and Teaching, Hamburg University
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hanschke
President, TU Clausthal
Prof. Dr. Michael Jäckel
President, Trier University (thematic sponsor)
Prof. Dr. Dorothee M. Meister
Vice President of Studies and Teaching, Paderborn University
Prof. Dr. Dr. habil. Godehard Ruppert
President, Otto Friedrich University Bamberg, President of virtual university vhb, Bavaria
Prof. Dr. Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz
Vice President, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Dr. Peter Thuy
Rector, IUBH School of Business and Management, Bonn