Guter Studienstart - "Come in-Commit!"
TH Köln’s program “Come in – Commit” is among the five award-winning programs of the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s competition/initiative “Guter Studienstart”. The concept sets out to support students in embracing their new role as active partners in the academic process.
While the most important thing used to be getting to know fellow students and the university as a “learning facility”, now TH Köln prepares students for their roles as co-designers in the academic process. For this purpose, students are encouraged to develop their self-management, social and methodological skills. By working in a self-directed and independent way to acquire these essential skills, they learn to professionally communicate their subject-specific knowledge and to participate in intercultural and interdisciplinary teams.
“Come in – Commit!” builds upon a comprehensive body of measures taken by TH Köln to further excellence and diversity in teaching. , We harness students’ heterogeneity to help them develop important competencies.
“Come in – Commit!” puts great emphasis on:
- a motivating start for first semester students, during which they learn about standards and possibilities in designing their studies. In a second instance students are familiarized with their role as active partners in the academic process
- collaborative learning and teaching arrangements that take diversity into account
- a learner-centered consultation concept that is tailored to the needs of first-year students and integrated into daily life at university
- ensuring the continuous development and sustainability of the program by refining quality management tools
- adapting further education for teaching staff and tutors to the specific requirements of the program
- self-reflection and critical evaluation of the program as objects of analysis of our institutional research
“Come in – Commit” puts great emphasis on a motivating of first semester students, during which students learn about standards and possibilities in designing their studies. In a second instance students are familiarized with their role as active partners in the academic process.
The concept of a “flipped” or “inverted classroom” is a fundamental part of this process. Flipped classrooms, that turn the passive lecture time into an active problem-solving engagement with the material, leave the passive elements of reading and listening for students to do on their own.
By taking over responsibility for their own learning process, students are motivated to develop skills. For this, the current catalogue of extracurricular activities is being extended. We offer basic courses in mathematics and natural sciences, academic German and writing, as well as learning strategies and time- and self-management.
To ensure the sustainable success of the program “Come in – Commit!”, it is crucial to monitor impacts and progress of the implemented concepts through feedback and evaluation. During the first semester, teachers therefore use a feedback tool called “Teaching Analysis Poll”: mid-semester, Quality Management and Academic Development experts visit a course without a teacher present. They collect information about what makes deep learning possible and what inhibits it. Teachers and students get feedback they can act on before the course is over.
In a first-year students’ survey we examine our students’ success in integrating into the academic setting and their social environment. These information help us to make sure our goals align with student outcomes.
In order to prepare teachers and tutors for their roles and responsibilities, TH Köln is expanding its offer of further education courses in higher education teaching. Seminar topics include how to better present subject content as well as how to stimulate students’ learning processes in different disciplines.
Further education courses for tutors focus on methods to motivate students, individual learning processes, learning strategies and feedback.
Teachers are familiarized with the “flipped classroom” concept, the methods of visual facilitating, and with teacher consultation and advising tasks.