The IUS regards courses as spaces, where specialist knowledge is acquired and experienced; for instance, how to solve scientific and practical problems, or how knowledge can be transferred. In this sense, courses are learning opportunities, where students can gain experiences of efficacy, and in the course of which they can receive feedback regarding their level of performance and their learning process. Learners discover learning arrangements that not only reward superficial learning, but require comprehension processes and metacognitive knowledge as well as a high degree of self-organisation. Increasing use is made of parts of e-learning not only for the purpose of managing materials, but also to assess the level of performance and to request feedback.
The IUS uses well-known quality criteria for effective instruction, which are results from teaching/learning research as well as from higher education research, to guide its action. The following list of selected criteria serves as an example and provides an insight into the institute’s teaching portfolio:
- following the concept of constructive alignment, which comprises careful balancing of clearly defined teaching objectives, suitable learning opportunities, and appropriate examination contents and methods. Ideally, all stages of an educational objective taxonomy are considered.
- posing of intellectually demanding challenges in higher education teaching.
- systematic initiation and promotion of cooperation among students.
- provision of feedback to the students, which is supportive for learning.
- promotion of explorative learning (e.g. action research), particularly in the context of professional development courses for in-service teachers and university certificate programmes.
- cognitive activation of students in the sense of in-depth processing.
- demonstration of experts’ solutions to problems.
In line with this philosophy, teaching staff at the IUS actively involve advanced students in their own scientific and practice-related projects, such as study seminars and research projects.