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Centre for Teaching Development and Innovation (ZIEL)

Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Teaching and Learning at H-BRS

This strategy outlines how H-BRS aims to consistently and quality-driven pursue the path of digital transformation in teaching. In 2019, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences discussed a digitalisation strategy for teaching in various committees and formally adopted it within the Executive Board. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced the possibilities of digital teaching and the value of in-person. Therefore, in 2022/23, we evaluated and updated the strategy based on these experiences. As a result, H-BRS is striving to develop into a Blended University.


Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences remains a face-to-face university. In its mission statement for teaching, it has committed itself to regularly adapting teaching content and methods as well as the learning environment to changing needs and possibilities.

Digital teaching/learning formats and online elements were therefore already used successfully by H-BRS lecturers even before the pandemic. The following principles have proven to be indispensable for their use:

  1. Didactics: Digital elements and online formats are employed when they are didactically justified and adequately support the acquisition of the intended learning outcomes.
  2. Feasibility: Digital elements and online formats are implemented in a way that does not compromise feasibility. In addition, digital teaching offers many opportunities to improve feasibility.


Motives for Digital Elements in Teaching

The use of digital elements and online teaching at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences serves various purposes.

Teaching with digital elements ...

  • ... familiarises students with current digital tools that are required for confident. engagement in science, business and society.
  • ... allows for individualisation of learning.
  • ... can enhance teaching quality through unique digital opportunities.
  • ... enables the participation of students with disabilities or in special life situations.
  • ... can create academic space for both students and teachers.
  • ... permits an expansion of the teaching portfolio.
  • ... enables the internationalisation of teaching and collaboration across different cultures.
  • ... is nowadays expected by universities as a matter of course.

In order to remain regionally and internationally attractive as a university, digital forms of learning and assessment are indispensable.

Nevertheless, the importance of face-to-face teaching persists to meet the needs of the community of teachers and students and to foster social interaction.


Fields of Action

To further shape the digital transformation of teaching and learning at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, ten action areas are particularly emphasized:

  1. Digital competencies of students

We continuously develop our teaching content and impart the competencies students need to succeed in the digitized work and life environment. Students acquire fundamental skills in organizing work, gathering information, cooperating, and analyzing data using digital methods.

In addition, each discipline uses specific digital tools to depict, analyse and design its living environment and offers specific aspects of digitization that are taught as part of the respective degree programme.

Artificial intelligence applications will change society and the world of work, and teaching at H-BRS should enable students to responsibly shape this development and utilise emerging opportunities.

  1. Digital elements and online teaching

We employ digital elements and online teaching where it is didactically meaningful.

We aim to combine digital elements, online teaching and on-site teaching and learning in a beneficial way so that there are more opportunities for interaction and collaboration in face-to-face teaching. In doing so, we attach great importance to ensuring that there is sufficient space for the development of social relationships among students, which has a positive impact on their academic success. We will test and evaluate these combinations of on-site and online teaching formats.

The university supports this further development by providing didactic consultation and  training for lecturers, by adapting regulations that allow online formats in teaching and by providing technical infrastructure, such as room and software equipment.

  1. Digital assessment formats

We use digital examination formats to offer teachers and students additional possibilities for assessment. For example, digital examination formats enable more realistic, competence-orientated examinations, e.g. by incorporating video sequences or programming environments.

We also take advantage of the potential simplifications offered by digital examination formats. For example, students may find it easier to create texts on a computer rather than by hand, and instructors may benefit from improved correction options through electronic exams.

To offer digital examination spaces, we test and evaluate various examination scenarios, such as connecting PC pools, utilizing students' own devices in the university (BYOD, "bring your own device"), and conducting exams outside the university ("take-home exams").

  1. Students with different backgrounds and in special life situations

Digital elements and online teaching offer a wide range of opportunities to support the academic success of students with disabilities and chronic illnesses as well as those in special life situations.

H-BRS is developing a process to identify the needs of students with different physical and mental conditions and, based on this, to plan, test and evaluate measures to reduce barriers and promote academic success within the possibilities of digital teaching.

Digital elements in teaching thus support the achievement of the goals of the H-BR’S inclusion strategy.

  1. Digital opportunities for internationalisation

We utilise the possibilities of digital collaboration for international projects in teaching.

Through digitally internationalising teaching, we enable students who cannot incorporate a study abroad into their programme to acquire intercultural and international skills and build a professional network

We expand our collaboration with our partner universities through (joint) digital courses.

  1. Using, creating and maintaining open teaching resources

We use digital methods and open teaching resources to provide space for learning and teaching. We aim to use Open Educational Resources (OER) in particular,

  • ... to expand teaching/learning opportunities for students and faciliate education for all.
  • …to allow instructors more capacity for supporting learning and applying acquired knowledge.
  • We are involved in the creation and maintenance of Open Educational Resources (OER), especially within the Digital University NRW and the platform. We see cross-university collegial exchange and joint development of practice/teaching materials as  opportunities for quality assurance.
  1. Spaces for (digital) learning and assessment

New forms of teaching and assessment require appropriate physical and virtual spaces. The university will provide rooms for various teaching/learning scenarios to test and evaluate their use. Room and lesson planning will be orientated towards the used and didactically proven formats.

Possible usage scenarios include:

  • Equipping seminar rooms and lecture theatres for online participation of students.
  • Small seminar rooms and group rooms for online participation of student groups in courses offered at other locations.
  • Individual workstations for synchronous and asynchronous online teaching. Assessment rooms for digital examination formats.
  • Rooms for students’ self-directed learning.
  1. Infrastructure for digital teaching

We continuously develop the infrastructure and support for digital elements and online teaching and are committed to a common digital infrastructure for universities in essential areas. Digital teaching is not a cost-saving model and requires regular investments.

  1. Learning analytics and AI in teaching

We explore the possibilities of data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) methods for researching teaching and learning and increasing academic success. Through pilot projects, we will assess the potentials and clarify key data protection issues.

  1. Digital teaching programmes in continuing education

Digital courses can be used as the basis for continuing education programmes at the university. Through future recognition opportunities with microcredentials, individual continuing education courses can be credited and expanded into a degree. We will evaluate this process with focus on the opportunities it presents for the university.



The "Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Teaching and Learning at H-BRS" in the original German version was adopted by the Presidential Commission on Teaching and the Presidential Board of H-BRS and presented to the Senate in August 2023.

Background to the digitalisation strategy in teaching:

The first "Digitalisation Strategy in Teaching" was developed in 2019 in collaboration with the Core Team Digitalisation and the Presidential Teaching Committee and adopted by the Presidential Board. This strategy was updated in August 2023 due to new opportunities in digital teaching. The new strategy paper "Towards a Blended University - Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Teaching and Learning at H-BRS" was adopted by the Presidential Teaching Committee and the Executive Board of H-BRS and presented to the Senate.

Any Questions?

Marco Winzker 1 (DE)

Marco Winzker

Vice President Teaching, Learning and Digital Transformation/Teaching area digital technology and fundamentals of electrical engineering


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