New publications on case-based examinations and poster conferences (in German)

Two new articles:

Decker, C. (2017)

Fallbasierte Klausuren. In J. Gerick, A. Sommer, & G. Zimmermann (Hrsg.), Kompetent Prüfungen gestalten: 50 Prüfungsformate für die Hochschullehre (S. 80 – 83). Münster: Waxmann/UTB.

Posterkonferenzen. In J. Gerick, A. Sommer, & G. Zimmermann (Hrsg.), Kompetent Prüfungen gestalten: 50 Prüfungsformate für die Hochschullehre (S. 185 – 188). Münster: Waxmann/UTB.

Pre-conference interview “Geförderte Reflexion als Form von Deeper Learning”, Tag der Lehre 2017, FH St. Pölten, Austria (in German)

The pre-conference interview on “Geförderte Reflexion als Form von Deeper Learning” with Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher as well as Dr. Anna Mucha and me is now available on YouTube:

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

@ Christian: Thank you very much!

Fifth AIM student poster research conference on “Risk, crisis and catastrophe management”

On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the fifth AIM student poster research conference  took place at HAW Hamburg. 28 junior researchers enrolled in the degree programme Foreign Trade/International Management (B. Sc.) presented their research work.

The general topic of the semester was “Risk, crisis and catastrophe management”. Individual topics addressed a diverse set of aspects (e.g. country risk, kidnapping, piracy, hurricane, compliance, telemedicine, forensics and cyber crime). The instructors awarded Claudia Lange, Rebecca Sabrowsky, Antonio Petrovic and Christian Rohde 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 conference was framed by a keynote speech on “Global Existential Risks” that was delivered by Dr. Andreas Martin Lisewski, Scientific Fellow, Life Sciences & Chemistry, Jacobs University Bremen. Attendees received an insightful and entertaining presentation from the perspective of a natural scientist, which was followed by a brief discussion of selected issues.

@ Martin: Thank you very much for visiting us!

Additional information:

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.

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

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

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:

Interviews with Jutta Abulawi, Petra Naujoks and Christian Decker on competency-based education (in German)

The interviews with Jutta Abulawi , Petra Naujkos and me are now available on YouTube:

The interviews took place during a workshop on competency-based teaching and learning with Oliver Reis on 19 February 2015.

@ Margitta, Sabine & Ivan: Thank you very much!

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!

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: