Students of architecture
Practical exercises will take place on campus in the winter semester, if the pandemic situation allows it.
Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
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Outstanding study conditions – even amid the pandemicNew enrolment record at TUM

Around 14,000 new students – a new record – have enrolled for the coming winter semester at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Building on the experience gained in a successful digital summer semester, TUM offers its approximately 44,000 students in Munich, Garching, Freising, Straubing and Heilbronn the excellent conditions need to succeed, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Next week, as in 2019, around 7,200 students will start their first semester of study for a bachelor's program or in another undergraduate program. Approximately 5,600 students will start master's programs. This represents a 17 percent increase over the previous year and yet another record. For the first time, more than half of the students starting master's programs are from abroad. Other students have enrolled for higher semesters, pushing the total number of students to the 44,000 mark – another first for TUM.

30,000 teaching videos and 400 online exams

In planning the teaching activities, TUM can build on the successes of the summer semester. In a short time frame, the lecturers and instructors succeeded in producing more than 30,000 teaching videos and other materials for around 5,000 courses. They were supported by TUM's experts in academic didactics as well as more than 500 students trained as "e-scouts". Almost all students took part in the online courses. Early in the semester, TUM conducted a survey of students on the quality of online teaching and used this feedback to make further improvements for the coming winter semester.

TUM also conducted approximately 400 online examinations. They were a key instrument for enabling international students – some of whom could not travel to Germany – and students at higher risk from COVID-19 to take part in exams. The TUM Center for Digital Public Services, which was established this year, played an important role in drawing up the Bavarian legal regulations for electronic remote examinations.

On-campus practical courses

To ensure the viability of all degree programs, TUM will offer the teaching activities with a practical focus, requiring labs or other specially equipped rooms, on campus in the winter semester to a large extent. For the onsite operations, carefully designed hygienic and anti-infection measures are in place. The entire organization will adapt to the pandemic developments on an ongoing basis.

"The pandemic is turbocharging the modernization of teaching," says Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann, the President of TUM. "In the future, when the pandemic is no longer with us, students will still be able to access extensive content via digital formats to learn whenever and wherever they wish. This will free up valuable time on campus for creative exchanges of ideas, critical discussions and team projects."

Virtual welcome for first-semester students

In addition to the launch of several new degree programs, TUM is introducing unique course formats for the winter semester. In the TUM Entrepreneurial Master Class, selected teams of students will explore research topics for their master's thesis relevant to their start-up projects or to general improvements in the start-up ecosystem. The Digital Learning Initiative of the EuroTech Universities Alliance offers joint online courses, the exchange of ideas in times of limited mobility, and virtual competitions in the focus areas of additive manufacturing, entrepreneurship and innovation, and sustainable society.

TUM will extend a virtual welcome to new students this coming Monday, November 2. Along with video presentations on studying at TUM, the campus, and student research, President Hofmann will talk with students about the future of teaching.

Responsibility in challenging times

"The enrolments are an enormous demonstration of confidence that we will offer an outstanding learning environment even in the current situation," says Prof. Hofmann. "For the students from all over the world, a conscientious handling of the pandemic and the cosmopolitan atmosphere at TUM undoubtedly play an important role. We're aware of our responsibility to protect the health of all members of the TUM community while living and standing up for a science-based outlook, diversity and societal dialog even in challenging times."

Video: "How to Study Safely at TUM"

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Technical University of Munich Klaus Becker

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