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 addressed 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.

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.

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.

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