New publication on shame and failure in problem- and research-based learning scenarios (in German)

New article:

Mucha, A. & Decker, C. (2017).
(Die Angst vor) Scheitern und Scham in problemorientierten und forschenden Lehr-/Lernszenarien.
In B. Berendt, A. Fleischmann, N. Schaper, B. Szczyrba, & J. Wildt (Hrsg.), Neues Handbuch Hochschullehre. Berlin: DUZ.

Link to article (restricted access)

Fourth AIM student poster research conference: Research-based learning in action

In December 2016, the AIM Student Poster Research Conference Winter 2016 took place at HAW Hamburg. Approximately 20 students enrolled in the degree programme Foreign Trade/International Management (B. Sc.) presented their research work. The general topic of the semester was Sustainability Management. Individual topics adressed aspects for example of population growth, vegan lifestyle, sustainable higher education and renewable energies. The instructors awarded Janne Wurr, Jan Gandera and Till Lojewsky with the instructor’s best poster award.

The posters were developed in the context of the course “Academic research and writing“. Coursework was organised by way of team teaching undertaken by Dr. Fabian Frielitz, our librarian Detlev Dannenberg and me as well as my student assistants Dawid Szmigielski and Serhat Akkaya.

The teaching concept is based on blended learning and research-based learning. The course is modelled around the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Students are provided with various access points to the course contents, which can be combined or used on a standalone basis: learning videos, textbook, webinars, library excursions, tutorials, walk-in labs and poster labs support individual learning styles.

For more information on poster conferences in general see my latest article.

New publication on posters and poster conferences (in German)

New article:

Decker, C. (2016).
Die Posterkonferenz als hochschuldidaktische Methode und Alternative zum Referat.
In B. Berendt, A. Fleischmann, N. Schaper, B. Szczyrba, & J. Wildt (Hrsg.),
Neues Handbuch Hochschullehre. Berlin: DUZ, G 1.2.

Link to article (restricted access)


New publication on case-based written examinations (in German)

New article:

Die fallstudienbasierte Klausur als schriftliche Prüfungsleistung: Ein Beispiel für die kompetenzorientierte Restrukturierung einer Modulprüfung. In J. Haag, J. Weißenböck, W. Gruber, & C. F. Freisleben-Teutscher (Hrsg.), Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen. Basics – Modelle – Best Practices: Tagungsband zum 5. Tag der Lehre an der FH St. Pölten am 20.10.2016. St. Pölten: Fachhochschule St. Pölten, S. 77 – 86.

Download full PDF

Night train to St. Pölten (5. Tag der Lehre 2016)

On Thursday, 20 October 2016, I jumped on the night train to St. Pölten in Austria in order to attend a conference on competency-based education (5. Tag der Lehre: „Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen“). After a strenuous ride in a very small train compartment, I arrived at the FH St. Pölten in order to discuss various aspects of competency-based education.

For the first time, I participated in a so called “DisqSpace”, a relatively new discussion format that is designed to allow for a higher level of interaction between the presenting speaker and the audience. In each corner of a room, a topic is presented by a guest speaker. All speakers and topics are introduced by a moderator. Thereafter, the participants split up into four groups, which will ascribe themselves to an individual corner (topic). After 15 to 20 minutes the groups rotate and move on to the next “station”. Within 60 to 90 minutes, the audience has visited all corners (topics) of the room.


  • A smaller number of participants will be able to listen to a presented topic and discuss individual questions with the guest speaker.
  • Participants are able to attend four interrelated presentations on a given general topic, thereby identifying connections and realizing different solution approaches.


  • The guest speaker has to present the topic four times in succession in a very condensed way, which I experienced as somehow exhausting.
  • Interesting and lively discussions might have to be aborted when the group has to move on to the next corner (topic).

The poster can be found at slideshare:

As always, the conference was perfectly organized by the friendly team of SKILL @ FH St. Pölten: Thank you very much!

And I really enjoyed the vegan stuffed peppers at the lunch buffet!

Pre-conference interview “Kompetenzorientierung mit fallstudienbasierten Klausuren”, Tag der Lehre 2016, FH St. Pölten, Austria (in German)

The pre-conference interview on “Kompetenzorientierung mit fallstudienbasierten Klausuren” with Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher and me is now available on YouTube:

More information can be found one the website of “SKILL – Service und Kompetenzzentrum für Innovatives Lehren und Lernen” @ FH St.Pölten:

#tdlfhstp – Komptenzorientierung mit fallstudienbasierter Klausur

@ Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher: Thank you very much for the interview!

Presentation on ICM @Nordakademie

cszjuz4wiaair5fYesterday, I shared my experiences regarding the inverted classroom model (ICM) with a group of colleagues from Nordakademie. After an insightful introduction to the ICM from Simon Hachenberg, I reported on the implementation of the ICM in two of my courses: Finance (German language) and Academic research and writing (English language). Both courses form part of bachelor programs. Whereas I introduced the ICM in my Finance course by way of a “big bang” in 2013, I phased in the ICM in my course Academic research and writing between summer 2012 and summer 2016.

During my presentation, I elaborated on observations, which in some parts correspond with other field reports but also go beyond what has been reported previously. The observations are as follows:

Observation 1

A significant number of students prefer traditional types of instruction (e.g. lecture) because they are associated with a reduced workload in comparison to the ICM.

Reaction/advise: Ignore!

Observation 2

A signifikant number of students show deficiencies if it comes to self-organisation, i. e. time and project management.

Reaction/advise: Strong guidance by way of pre-defined milestones and assignments as well as constant reminders by way of text messages and/or e-mails.

Observation 3

Students prefer informal means of information exchange (Facebook, WhatsApp etc.) instead of a formal information exchange (e.g. message boards in LMS).

Reaction/advise: Accept and keep using the formal channels!

Observation 4

The attention span of “digital natives” is remarkably low. A (perceived) cognitive overload may lead to discontinuation or jumping within video tutorials.

Reaction/advise: Information chunking!

Observation 5

Students do not understand how to receive and how to reflect upon information from video tutorials.

Reaction/advise: Explain and train how to work with video tutorials!

Observation 6

Due to individual cognitive conditions and preferences, some students are not good at learning with videos.

Reaction/advise: Create various access points to the content of the course (UDL)!

cszjttgwiaakqj5Especially the last observation leaves room for a further development of the ICM. However, didactical designs based upon an UDL approach require a tremendous amount of resources in terms of time and money if they are individually developed by instructors and/or educational institutions. An alternative might be the use of OER (see for example my own course on academic research and writing) or the sourcing of commercially produced course materials, which might eventually even be cheaper.

Workshop on competency-based development of degree programs with Oliver Reis

On September 13, 2016, roughly a dozen of my colleagues and me attended a three hour workshop on competency-based development of degree programs taught by Prof. Dr. Dr. Oliver Reis (University of Paderborn). We all teach in the degree program “Foreign Trade/International Management” and already apply more or less the principles of competency-based education. However, the workshop aimed at focussing on the overall competency-driven objective of the degree program.


We are now heading towards a (general) competency-based development model that will help us to align the competency-based learning objectives at the level of the modules. Ultimately, this might lead to a (partial) redesign of the curriculum. I will report on the process…

Second MIB block course on financial modelling

The second MIB block course on financial modelling took place from 4 July 2016 until 8 July 2016. The “module” is a mandatory component of the International Business programme (M. Sc.) at HAW Hamburg. Approximately 20 students were challenged to tackle an especially designed case study entitled “Pulp Fiction”. The case addresses a complex investment decision to be made by a multinational corporation. The investment in question is a greenfield pulp mill project to be located in Southeast Asia. Students assume the role of a junior manager and are asked to develop a financial model as well as to prepare a report containing a strategic and financial recommendation for a fictitious board meeting.

The pedagogical framework of the course is based on the philosophy of competency-based education. The methodical-didactical design applies elements of project-based learning, case-based learning and enquiry-based learning. Preparatory instructional elements in the beginning are followed by supervision and (fading) support. Together with Stephan Beier, I taught the course applying a team teaching approach, which tends to create a positive working atmosphere and reduces the stress level for both students and instructors.

Classroom sessions took place in a computer lab. Daily sessions were scheduled from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. with a one hour lunch break. Students were only required to be present on the first day. Thereafter, they were free to work at home or elsewhere. Although the course started with a phase that requires teamwork (see photos), students are required to hand-in individual models and reports. However, students may collaborate in pairs or small groups while developing and coding their models.

The case work requires a solid understanding of finance and accounting as well as a basic skill set in Excel coding. Hence, students have to tap and apply knowledge that has been taught in previous courses, which seemed to be a challenge for some participants. In few cases, we observed ungrounded fear when faced with the magnitude of the modelling task. Moreover, it seems that fear is accompanied by shame which might be related to supposed group pressure and angst of public humiliation. We think that this observation deserves further analysis, which could ultimately lead to an adjustment of the course design.

Nevertheless, the majority of the participating students demonstrated dedication and a professional attitude towards the course objectives. It is always deeply rewarding to observe the quality of the output that students are able to achieve once they have accepted the task at hand. We have seen some very nice financial models and are looking forward to receiving the final versions of the reports to be submitted in mid-August.

New e-book on Academic research and writing

I am happy to announce that the e-book version of “Academic research and writing” has been published today.

It looks awesome on my Kindle and on my iPad… :-))


Christian Decker & Rita Werner
Academic research and writing. A concise introduction
iCADEMICUS, Frankfurt am Main 2016
ISBN: 978-3-9815-5862-3 (E-book)
Price: 10.99 Euro (Germany)

Product details e-book

Textbook donation to HAW Hamburg’s library

Today, I donated 50 copies of my new textbook to the library of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.


Since I do not want my students to spend money on my textbooks, the copies will predominantly be reserved for participants of my courses on academic research and writing.

Third AIM student poster research conference on International Health Economics

On June 15, 2016 the third AIM student poster research conference took place at HAW Hamburg. Together with co-instructor Fabian Frielitz and student assistants Dawid Szmigielski and Serhat Akkaya, we organised the printing and hanging of the students’ posters.

The topic of this semester’s conference was “International Health Economics”. 28 posters addressed various aspects of the fast evolving health sector from an international perspective.

Dean Dr. Pape awarded Faidil Akbar, Kim Anna Kempendorf, Christian Kleeblatt, Falk Stegenwallner, Hamlet Tovmasyan, and Sönke Wallbaum with the instructor’s best poster award.

Co-instructor Fabian Frielitz gave a presentation on the status quo of the health sector, linking latest developments to the research findings documented on students’ posters.

We would like to thank Dean Dr. Pape as well as all visitors and students for participating in the event!

New textbook on Academic research and writing

Ultimately, after a three year long design phase, our textbook on “Academic research and writing” was published today. We spent substantial time and effort in order to create a textbook that corresponds with our e-learning tutorials and forms part of a classroom-tested, fully integrated and competency-based teaching concept.

The book is available in North America and Europe.

Academic research and writing 9783981558616

Christian Decker & Rita Werner
Academic research and writing. A concise introduction
iCADEMICUS, Frankfurt am Main 2016
ISBN: 978-3-9815-5861-6 (Paperback)
Price: 16.90 Euro (Germany)

Product details paperback

Workshops on “Inverted Classroom” at Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Lemgo, 28 & 29 April 2016

Last week, I held two inspiring workshops on the inverted classroom model for some highly motivated colleagues at Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe. After an unnerving breakdown of my car (transmission failure) at the periphery of Lemgo, I arrived just in time for the start of the first workshop. However, the whole team and the participants were quite empathic and helpful.

During the workshop, we had some lively, productive and insightful discussions that will help me to further refine the workshop concept.


@ Doris Ternes & Melanie Reddeker: Thank you very much for the invitation and your sympathy and support!

Successful completion of advanced training on competency-based education, 14 October 2015

Today, I was awarded my certificate of completion in competency-based examination. The last twelve months were packed with seminars, self-study and didactical projects. I experienced a rewarding introduction to a theoretical concept of high practical value. Especially, the discussions with my colleagues were worthwhile and I received a great number of intellectual stimuli. I am looking forward to the implementation and further refinement of this fascinating concept.


@ Oliver Reis: Thank you very much for a year full of insights!

Poster presentation on competency-based education, 26 June 2015

Yesterday, I presented my poster on the competency-based restructuring of one of my courses at an internal conference on “Competency-based teaching, learning and assessment” at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg).

The poster can be found at slideshare:

New publication on inverted classroom model and academic research and writing (in German)

New article:

Academic Research and Writing. Eine Fallstudie zur Implementierung eines Inverted Classroom Models (ICM) an der HAW Hamburg, in: J. Haag, J. Weißenböck, W. Gruber, C. F. Freisleben-Teutscher (Hrsg.), Neue Technologien – Kollaboration – Personalisierung: Beiträge zum 3. Tag der Lehre an der FH St. Pölten am 16. Oktober 2014, St. Pölten 2014, S. 22 – 29. (gemeinsam mit S. Beier)

Download full PDF

Workshop on “Competency-based education” with Dr. Dr. Oliver Reis @ Department Wirtschaft, HAW Hamburg

On December 18, 2014 we had a stunning five hour long workshop on “competency-based education” with Oliver Reis at the Department of Business. Approximately 25 colleagues were attentively listening to Oliver’s presentation. It is always a pleasure to attend Oliver’s workshops.

2014-12-18 14.47.46

@ Oliver: Thank you very much for the instructive and inspirational presentation!

Second AIM student poster research conference on Country Risk

On December 17, 2014 the second AIM student poster research conference took place at HAW Hamburg. Together with co-instructors Natalia Ribberink and Tine Schrammel, I organised the printing and hanging of the students’ posters.


Dean Dr. Pape awarded Thyra Dahl, Alyssa Uecker and Jan Meyer with the instructor’s best poster award.

We would like to thank Dr. Pape as well as all visitors and students for participating in the event!

New article on empirical evidence of inverted classroom model at HAW Hamburg

New article:

The Instructor as Navigator: Empirical Evidence of the Implementation of the ICM at HAW Hamburg, in: J. Handke und E.-M. Großkurth (Hrsg.), The Inverted Classroom Model – the 3rd German ICM-Conference – Proceedings, Gruyter, Berlin 2014, pp. 3 – 13. (together with Stephan Beier)


Night train to St. Pölten (3. Tag der Lehre 2014)

Right after having finished our presentation at the “Tag der Lehre 2014” at HAW Hamburg, Stephan Beier and I jumped on the night train to St. Pölten in Austria. Thankfully operated by ÖBB and not DB, which was affected by a country-wide rail strike, we were heading towards the next conference at FH St. Pölten in order to participate in the “ICM Werkstatt” and to present our poster on academic research and writing at the conference “3. Tag der Lehre 2014“.


Our poster can be found at slideshare:

In the evening, we had a beer and an entertaining conversation with the German “grandmaster” of higher education, Rolf Schulmeister. A pleasant finale for two strenuous but rewarding days!

Presentation on “Competency-based implementation of the ICM” @ Tag der Lehre und des Lernens 2014 – HAW Hamburg

Again, Stephan Beier and I had a slot at the “Tag der Lehre 2014″ at HAW Hamburg. We presented a case study on how to align the concept of competency-based education with the inverted classroom model.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-28 um 00.19.12

This combination has a great potential …

Followup: The video “Tag der Lehre und des Lernens 2014” is available on YouTube:

Train ride with the “Dark Lord”

On my way to Hamburg, I met Christian Spannagel (aka Dunkelmunkel) at Frankfurt main station. Although not knowing each other personally, we both realised that we were heading towards the same pre-conference workshop at HAW Hamburg: He as presenter and I as participant.  🙂

On board of the train, we had a good conversation with respect to educational media scenarios, which was continued when Stephan Beier was joining us for sushi and beer in the evening.

Videos are available on YouTube:

@ Dark Lord: Thanks for the inspirational day!

First AIM student poster research conference on Entrepreneurship

On June 18, 2014 the first AIM student poster research conference took place at HAW Hamburg. Together with co-instructor Stephan Beier, I organised the printing and hanging of the students’ posters.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-27 um 21.49.42

Dean Dr. Pape awarded three students with the instructor’s best poster award.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-27 um 22.00.44

Here is one of the awarded posters. It was prepared by Dawid Szmigielski:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-27 um 21.33.57

Margitta Holler and Ivan Belyaev filmed the event and interviewed some of the participants. The video will be posted later on YouTube.

Stephan Beier and I would like to thank Dr. Pape, Margitta Holler and Ivan Belyaev as well as all visitors and students for participating in the event!

Presentation on ICM @ E-Learning Roundtable – HAW Hamburg

Stephan Beier and I presented a shortened version of our slides from the “Tag der Lehre 2013” at the “E-Learning Roundtable” of HAW Hamburg.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-27 um 23.18.52

Consistently, colleagues are fascinated by the inverted classroom model. Again, we received a very positive feedback and encouraging comments from the audience, which keeps us motivated and rewards us for the efforts of the last years.

@ Christoph Wegmann: Thank you very much for the invitation!