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Information on the coronavirus for members of the university

Please understand that there is still much to be clarified at this time. We are therefore updating and amending this page continuously.

Semesterstart digital | News

Semesterstart digital |April 30, 2020

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,
dear students:

Over the past two weeks, we have informed you about current topics concerning online teaching and learning. We hope that this newsletter has been useful for you, giving you an impression of how our university has started into this challenging semester. Today, you are receiving the final issue.

Of course, we will continue to keep you up-to-date on the corona pandemic’s effect on university operations in the coming weeks and months – by way of our familiar communication channels and surely, from time to time, in the form of a newsletter.

I would like to thank you all for your energy and commitment in getting the semester off to a good start and making the university run smoothly. Undoubtedly, we have achieved a great deal, and I am confident that we will continue to tackle and resolve the issues ahead.

Personally, I am particularly pleased by the federal government’s decision, taken earlier today, to provide emergency aid for students. This is by far the best news of our current "Semesterstart digital".

With kind regards on behalf the Presidential Chair, and a happy May 1st,

Sincerely yours
Prof. Dr Dr Hans Michael Piper
President


Federal government hands down decision on emergency aid for students

The German Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) is providing emergency aid for German and international students who find themselves in financial difficulties as a result of the corona crisis. Two options are available: Students in particularly acute emergencies can apply for an allowance, which does not have to be paid back, via the student unions (“Studierendenwerke”). In addition, Germany’s state-owned development bank (“Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau”, KfW) offers interest-free loans of up to 650 euros per month.

Applications for KfW loans can be submitted online starting on May 8; foreign students may begin applying on June 1. The approval process should be unbureaucratic. KfW will provide loans up to a total of one billion euros. No interest has to be paid on these or existing student loans until March 31, 2021.

Students who have lost their jobs, do not receive BAföG subsidies, and have no other source of income can apply for assistance through the emergency aid fund of the Studierendenwerke. BMBF will provide these funds to help students who, due to an acute financial emergency, may be faced with the decision to terminate their studies. The money does not have to be paid back; the fund has a total volume of 100 million euros. It is not yet clear how much stop-gap aid students will be able to receive. The German National Association of Student Unions (“Deutsches Studentenwerk”) is to distribute the total amount to the regional student unions based on a formula that has yet to be determined.

Further information (only available in German so far):
KfW Studienkredit Pressemitteilung BMBF

Cloud storage gets an upgrade

On Sunday morning, IT services will expand the functions of the cloud storage data service, which lets users store documents and share them with others. Three new tools will be integrated into the platform: The organization tool "Deck" is a kind of virtual bulletin board. It allows users to plan tasks and organize projects in teams. The "Circles" program expands the options for setting up different types of groups - for example, public groups that are visible to everyone or groups that can only be accessed with a password. These groups can then be used for different applications, such as chatting or file sharing. The “Mind Map” tool enables users to organize information visually.
 
The BigBlueButton (BBB) web conference platform, which many members of the university use for web conferences, will also be updated over the weekend. Server resources will be expanded to address sporadic sound problems that have been reported. In addition, a quick user’s guide will appear when a web conference on BBB is started.

A malfunction occurred in the cloud storage on Wednesday evening: Files could no longer be uploaded or downloaded via drag and drop in the browser window. IT services quickly corrected the underlying errors.

Information about the new tools:

Apps/deck     Apps/circles    Apps/files mindmap
 

Semester ticket - Exemption until May 31

In the past few days, partly contradictory information about the validity of semester tickets has been circulating on the internet. To be clear: A CampusCard validated for winter semester 2019/20, in conjunction with a certificate of enrolment for summer semester and official photo identification, will be recognized as a nationwide semester ticket until May 31. Students can print out a certificate of enrolment via Stud.IP. For summer semester, the CampusCard can be validated Monday through Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. at vending machines located in the foyer of the cafeteria at the Haarentor campus.

Nachgefragt

Digital start of the semester, digital teaching - wouldn't it make sense to manage examinations digitally as well?
In fact, the university already offers an online examination management system for teachers and teaching staff that has not yet been widely adopted. Since the beginning of the semester, a project member of the Academic Examinations Office has been focussing specifically on paperless examination organization, aiming to reduce bureaucracy and increase transparency for students. For instance, a lot of paper can be saved by no longer requiring module certificates to be filled out - "an important contribution to sustainability", according to Division 3. Whether teachers or teaching staff are in their offices on campus or at home: All they have to do to use the service is log in to Stud.IP.

For feedback and questions, please contact:

Erfahrungsbericht

Volker Schindel, art instructor with a focus on "Music, Scene, Theater”, Institute of Music
"This semester, I am mainly offering practical courses, such as ensemble conducting, a musical ensemble, and a musical theater project. I have been trying to convert as much of this as possible into digital formats. In some cases, I’ve been more successful than I thought. But there are some face-to-face courses that cannot be replaced - in fact, anything involving lots of people making music together. The biggest problem here is the lag in video conferences, i.e. the delay in signal transmission. As a consequence, online ensemble rehearsals are virtually impossible.
More experimental work, arrangement exercises, or conceptual tasks work much better, though. Conducting can also be taught via video. We will be able to work like this quite well for a few weeks, but a whole semester would be frustrating.
We very much hope that, with the appropriate hygiene plans in place, it will be possible to teach music in classrooms again soon. Spacing chairs in the auditorium and in the chamber would allow us to at least rehearse with a reduced cast. For students, practice rooms are also important, because some do not own instruments, and practicing percussion, tuba, or church organ can be difficult in a shared apartment.
The music theater project poses a special challenge as well. We have already postponed the June performance until November, hoping that such events may be held again with realistic constraints.”



Please also refer to the information provided on the university's corona-related website. Here, you will find concise answers to many frequently asked questions:
https://uol.de/en/info-coronavirus

Semesterstart digital |April 28, 2020

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,
dear students:

in the second week of the semester, online teaching and learning continue to gain momentum; I have received a lot of positive reports and feedback. There is a great sense of optimism and a courageous approach to the new situation. Of course, all this cannot obscure the fact that open questions and unsolved problems remain. Teaching and learning can become a balancing act and a real challenge under the current conditions - for example, when people are simultaneously providing childcare, caring for relatives, coping with a chronic illness, or financial worries. I can assure you that a great many people continue to work hard to make this semester a success for you, dear students. And we will not cease in our efforts.
 
While a few weeks ago there was a nationwide debate about a "non-semester", there is now a similarly vague and confusing term: the "optional semester" (“Kann-Semester”). So let me be clear about something important: We will continue to address specific issues in a definitive manner. As a member of the "Permanent Committee for Teaching and Studies" of the State Conference of Universities and other Higher Education Institutions (“Landeshochschulkonferenz”), I am personally committed to ensuring that the standard period of study is extended by one semester – which is crucial for the payout of BAföG and student health insurance. In addition, students in financial distress need assistance as quickly as possible. And last but not least, we as educators are called upon to be flexible in dealing with course content, examinations, or deadlines - and to act humanely when students face difficulties. For me, this is a must and not an option.

We are doing our best to ensure that students can continue to study properly during this time. I am sure that we are all open to constructive suggestions on how to organize teaching and learning. In this spirit, please become actively involved.
 
Best regards on behalf of the Bureau
Your
Prof. Dr. Verena Pietzner
Vice-President for Instruction and International Affairs


IT capacity utilization remains non-critical

After a week of online teaching, IT services can give a positive review: utilization of various platforms for web conferences and online meetings has settled at a non-critical level, and operations are running more or less smoothly.
The various systems were also in demand over the weekend: Up to 140 users made appointments on BigBlueButton on Saturday, and the number of VPN connections to the university network also temporarily exceeded one hundred on Saturday and Sunday.
The switch from meeting.uol.de to a new system on Sunday morning was successful: There are now five servers available for web meetings outside of Stud.IP. In the meantime, IT services have copied the recordings of web conferences created in the old system over to the new system.
A malfunction occurred on Sunday evening on conf.uol.de, studconf.uol.de, and webconf.uol.de. Due to incorrectly configured security settings, it become impossible temporarily to log on to these platforms. These systems allow dialing-in via telephone to a web conference or online meetings with special security precautions. By noon on Monday, IT services were able to correct the malfunction on all three platforms.

AStA assists students online and by telephone

The university’s General Students’ Committee (AStA) offers advice on a wide range of topics, such as financial emergencies, questions about BAföG amid the corona pandemic, or the reimbursement of semester tickets. Since it is not possible to provide counsel on site at the moment, those seeking advice should contact AStA by e-mail (beratung@aegxe1sta-olducenburg.de) and include their telephone number. However, the large number of e-mails currently received may cause some responses to be delayed. AStA can also be reached during telephone consultation hours. Please refer to the committee’s homepage for further information.

In addition, AStA advises on interest-free, short-term loans for those who find themselves in financial difficulties through no fault of their own. The open study group "Social Affairs, Internal University Policy, and Finances" will hold a digital meeting on May 7 at 10.30 a.m.

Anyone who would like to apply for a refund of the semester fee (semesterticket-ersrqxh2tattungdqkp@astqqta-orrbldeddblnbuwvwrg.dahwee) or a childcare allowance (kindyln1erbetrkvrreuungszuschrfuss@asta-oldenbuw7qrg.uidexpm4c) should also contact AStA by e-mail. Applications for summer semester have to be submitted by May 15. Detailed information can be found under the tab "Beratung" on AStA’s homepage (German only). Telephone inquiries are possible during the respective office hours (0441/798-3104).

Office hours reimbursement of semester ticket fee:
Thursday 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m.;
Office hours childcare allowance:
Friday 9.30 a.m. - 12.00 p.m.

More information Consulting hours

Students with family-related responsibilities

Balancing your studies and family obligations is always challenging, but all the more so in the current situation. Parents who struggle to organize their studies due to homeschooling or closed kindergartens and daycare centers may contact the counseling services offered by the university and AStA:
Family Service: https://uol.de/en/students/students-with-children
AStA – Students with children: https://asta-oldenburg.de/studieren-mit-kind/

The Family Service has compiled comprehensive information and tips for (expectant) parents which is updated regularly during the corona crisis: https://uol.de/familienservice

AStA also offers help: an online meeting focussing on "Students with children" is scheduled for Thursday, April 30, at 2.00 p.m. Parents can inform themselves about currently available assistance and find out about other potentially helpful services. Interested parties will find the meeting in the open study group "Social Affairs, Internal University Policy and Finance AStA". In addition, AStA is planning a webinar on homeschooling and homeoffice strategies. The date will be announced shortly on AStA’s homepage and in Stud.IP.

Caring for relatives is particularly challenging during the corona pandemic. Students who are care-givers may find information and advice at: https://uol.de/familienservice/pflege-von-angehoerigen

Those students whose family-related responsibilities are currently preventing them from completing their studies or certain courses as planned should speak directly to their teachers and describe the situation. Teachers and teaching staff can then assess ways to assist students struggling to attend courses and take examinations.

Last but not least, students who are foreseeing already that they will not be able to complete summer semester as planned may apply for a semester off. The application must be submitted to the Admissions Office by May 20.

Checking in

Why should teachers and teaching staff only use BigBlueButton and Stud.IP for their courses?
A seminar held as a video conference in the morning, exercises sent via a messenger service at lunchtime, a live chat in the evening, and various e-mails during the day: The multitude of digital tools and communication channels currently used in digital teaching can be confusing. Many external providers offer solutions. However, to ensure that students stay on top and do not have to install yet another app, the communication channels used by our teachers and teaching staff should be limited to the platforms provided by the university (including BigBlueButton via the UniCloud and Stud.IP). These “in-house" tools are not only easier to keep track of - they also fit into the existing infrastructure. Thus, security is guaranteed within the university's sphere of influence.
Information about the platformsInformation on data protection

Quick notes

Schools V and VI have set up informational websites: at https://uol.de/en/school5/corona-pandemic, students of mathematics and the natural sciences can inform themselves about teaching and examination procedures; School VI has compiled similar information on its programs at https://uol.de/medizin/studium-lehre/online-lehre.

Tips for online learning can be found on the e-Didactics blog. Not only have familiar forms of communicating in lecture halls or seminar rooms been suspended for the time being, but the way we obtain and acquire information is changing as well. E-learning requires a high degree of self-organization. How to succeed: https://wp.uni-oldenburg.de/edidactics/en/covid-19-current-information-about-digital-tools-for-teaching-online/tips-for-students/

In recent weeks, four doctoral students of School VI have presented their dissertations virtually - mainly via BigBlueButton - and "defended" it to the examination committee. The school is currently planning three more such virtual disputations.

The Academic Study and Teaching Unit is in the process of clarifying whether previously scheduled face-to-face events on university didactics can be postponed to a later date or offered online. Registered participants will be informed personally. In addition, up-to-date information on individual events can be found at https://uol.de/lehre/hochschuldidaktik/veranstaltungen-2020.


Please also refer to the information provided on the university's corona-related website. Here, you will find concise answers to many frequently asked questions:
https://uol.de/en/info-coronavirus

Semesterstart digital |April 24, 2020

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,
dear students:

The first week of the online semester is behind us. My personal bottom line: We got off to a good start and, by and large, have successfully mastered the transition to digital teaching. I would like to especially thank our dedicated and wonderful teachers and students along with everyone else who has been involved directly and indirectly.

What we have achieved so far is no small feat. After all, online teaching and learning in this form and breadth is new to all of us. Further improvements and adjustments will follow on a daily basis. But of course, urgent problems and questions remain. Among these is dealing with examinations or the practical parts of our academic programs. We are working on it.

At the same time, we must not forget that we are in a medical and societal emergency situation. Although the number of infections in Lower Saxony remains comparatively low, many of you now know people who have been infected with the coronavirus, have fallen ill, or suffered even worse. In addition, consider the enormous restrictions in our daily lives - both in the private and professional sphere. We are experiencing daily what it means to work in a "home office": It is no joyride. Some understandably feel virtually locked out of their normal workplace, while others struggle to reconcile work and family responsibilities. But we have to endure these restrictions - bearing responsibility for our own health and that of others.

Please do not forget that despite widespread talk of relaxing or even lifting the restrictions on public life soon, a serious threat will remain for a long time to come. Easing the university's emergency operations, which cannot take effect before 4 May at the earliest, may only proceed in small steps. We will share further details with you as soon as possible.

Much remains to be done and considered - but I think it is important that we take joy in what have achieved already.

With kind regards on behalf of the Presidential Chair

Sincerely yours
Prof. Dr Dr Hans-Michael Piper
President

 


IT changes for additional capacity

No malfunctions reported - that is the verdict of the last two days of online teaching. The number of users in the various systems stabilized at a level similar to that at the beginning of the week. The utilization of the university's internet connection also remains uncritical and is essentially below 2 gigabits per second.

There is high demand for web conferences on systems outside of Stud.IP, especially on meeting.uol.de. In order to offer this service more efficiently and with greater reliability, IT services are converting the platform's system architecture early Sunday morning and expanding it to five servers. Thus, additional capacities can be added during on-going operation, if required.

IT services expect meeting.uol.de to be available for web conferences again as early as eight o'clock on Sunday morning. Lectures and seminars that take place via Stud.IP on the BigBlueButton platform - i.e. the majority of all web meetings - will not be affected. Rather, these changes concern those virtual rooms in BigBlueButton that are also accessible to participants without a university e-mail address. Up to now, these platforms have been frequented by a maximum of nearly 250 users at once, for example during consultation hours, job interviews, or project meetings with external participants.

The rooms and recordings created will be transferred to the new system and can still be used. However, recordings may not be available until Tuesday, as they still have to be converted to the new system.

Digital teaching up close

In order to find out how well digital teaching has been working and what teachers could improve upon, the Academic Study and Teaching Unit (Internal Evaluation Division) offers a customized questionnaire for course evaluations. This questionnaire is currently being coordinated with the schools.

The procedure for this evaluation is identical to standard course evaluations; participation is voluntary. If teachers and teaching staff wish to have their online course evaluated, they may notify their respective school's evaluation officer by mid-May: https://uol.de/lve/evaluationsbeauftragte

In addition, students and teachers are to be interviewed about digital teaching at the end of the semester. What went well? Where did difficulties arise? What can be improved? These and other questions will be the focus of the survey, which will also clarify what challenges the participants faced and how they mastered them.

It won't be possible to conduct standard course evaluations due to the suspension of attendance-based courses during summer semester. The Presidential Chair is expected to decide on a one-time cancellation of standard evaluations on April 28.

All information on the evaluation of digital teaching is continuously updated at: https://uol.de/lehre/evaluation/interne-evaluation

Opencast recording via Stud.IP

It is now possible to make screen recordings with Opencast Studio using the Opencast plugin in Stud.IP courses. The recording takes place on the university's server. After creating the video, it can be uploaded directly into the course. Another advantage is that the video clip is not uploaded over a private data connection. If a home network connection makes uploading videos difficult or impossible, this can be a good alternative for creating screen recordings.

General information

Checking in

Important criteria for the use of communication tools at the University of Oldenburg are data protection, information security, and sustainability. In addition to meeting the legal requirements for data protection and security, external tools must be integrable into the university's digital infrastructure. This requires comprehensive technical and legal checks, internal coordination, and the completion of appropriate contracts. Since DFN's well-established service has been experiencing performance problems recently, and many external providers do not sufficiently meet the above-mentioned criteria, our IT services have provided their "own" additional tools (https://uol.de/en/institutions/it-dienste), which can be integrated into the existing infrastructure (including UniCloud and Stud.IP) and whose security falls within the university's sphere of influence.

Testimonials

Niklas Reinken, Institute für German Studies:
"This semester, I am teaching a seminar and a training course on the subject of 'Zweifelsfälle des Deutschen' (doubtful cases in German), which refers to linguistic disputes that we encounter every day - for example, whether we say der, die or das Nutella.
Using the program Courseware, available via Stud.IP, I have included online elements in my courses before. Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to transfer and upload content.
But if you think that offline sessions can be converted into online formats one to one, you are mistaken. For my current course, I started creating assignments, texts, videos, questionnaires, or even a quiz back in March. Now that everything runs asynchronously, students are more flexible.
Online teaching definitely means more work for me, including having to communicate more than usual. In a seminar, I may get one or two answers to a question; now all 40 participants respond. It's also more difficult to get feedback from the students if you don't see them. But so far everything is going much better than I expected - also thanks to the support of the IT services. Our colleagues in IT are very committed and react quickly when problems arise."

Prof. Dr. Oliver Zielinski and Dr. Thomas Badewien, ICBM:
"On Wednesday, we held the first of a total of 14 online courses on "Regional Oceanography". Instead of the usual 20 students, 54 registered. We had informed them in time about our new teaching concept and the expected exam performance. The idea is that the students work together on a topic in virtual groups and, based on their findings, write a text similar to a scientific publication. The results are then presented in a short film. Apparently, this approach appeals to students across disciplines.
Everyone was present at the start of the event on BigBlueButton. The direct exchange via audio worked well - everyone got a chance to speak up. Of course, it would be even nicer to be able to see everyone. But we are aware that not all students have access to the necessary technical equipment.
Holding the event in a team is advantageous. For example, at the start of the class, one of us could keep an eye on the chat function while the other was teaching. We also noticed that we are not the only ones who see the situation as an opportunity - the students do as well. Everyone is willing to explore new things - such as editing videos, learning the LaTeX program, or using co-writing tools. We are happy that that we got off to such a good start."


Please also refer to the information provided on the university's corona-related website. Here, you will find concise answers to many frequently asked questions:
https://uol.de/en/info-coronavirus
 

Semesterstart digital |April 22,2020

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,
dear students:

In the second edition of "Semesterstart digital" we can again draw preliminary conclusions that inspire confidence: In principle, digital teaching at the University of Oldenburg works. Of course, not all courses and teaching formats will have to be translated into video conferences, that is, a synchronous teaching format. In many cases, this is neither practicable nor didactically expedient. Instead, asynchronous teaching formats will continue to play an important role, as they always have in face-to-face teaching.

We are justifiably proud of how quickly our IT services have managed to expand the technical infrastructure to meet new demands. Now, we are able to combine the possibilities offered by Stud.IP with other teaching tools and techniques at our disposal. Despite all the digital competence we have gained, one thing remains certain: when this crisis is over, our university will return to its tradition of classroom-based teaching. Indeed, we will return to direct interaction on our campus more appreciative than ever.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for all the hard work, and the resulting success, of the past few days.

On behalf of the members of the Presidential Chair

Sincerely yours
Prof. Dr Verena Pietzner
Vice President for Instruction and International Affairs


Interim balance of IT services

Online teaching is gaining momentum: On Tuesday afternoon, a total of 1,180 users simultaneously took part in web meetings via the BigBlueButton web conferencing platform – a new record. Theoretically, the platform can handle up to 5,000 participants simultaneously, but only under certain conditions. According to IT services, an event featuring more than a hundred participants may push the system to its limits – especially if students are allowed to use their microphones.

This became apparent on Tuesday evening. Around 6.15 pm, a malfunction occurred after difficulties with the sound quality had arisen in a lecture involving around 300 participants. Because many users logged out and back in multiple times, more than 800 participants were eventually registered for the lecture. One of our BigBlueButton servers crashed and had to be restarted on Wednesday morning. IT services recommends that moderators configure their “virtual classroom” in such a way that the students are unable to switch on their microphones or cameras when the number of participants is large.

However, there is a good alternative to live web meetings: Lectures expected to draw a large crowd can be pre-recorded. The university provides nine video rooms for this purpose. Using the Opencast software, lectures are recorded and integrated directly into Stud.IP, where they are available for the students. Teachers and teaching staff are supported by the Media Technology and Production Service during the recording.

Information about the online summer semester in Stud.IP

From now on, students will find all relevant information for the online semester in the Stud.IP course entitled "Zentrale Informationen fürs Studium". Today, all students were automatically added to this course as participants. It is a "work in progress", which means that the collection of information is continuously updated and expanded. In addition to listing contacts in the schools, the course’s wiki page contains information concerning the university’s central administration, such as the divisions, IT services, or the library. If you have questions for the schools, please contact the persons mentioned on the wiki page directly. Questions for central administration may be asked in the corresponding forums. Any answers and resulting information will of course be provided in the course. .

Library services in high demand

With the beginning of summer semester, demand for the services offered by the university library has increased considerably. On Monday alone, the BIS team answered questions from about 500 users who submitted their inquiries, ranging from how to borrow books to the availability of digital services, by telephone or e-mail.

Many students took advantage of the opportunity to borrow literature for the upcoming semester. The library's new scan service is in high demand as well. Users may have up to ten percent of a complete work scanned – there have been around 500 such inquiries since the start of emergency operations.

Inter-library loans of printed works remain suspended throughout Germany, but the Common Library Network (GBV) is now offering a delivery service for copies. Users of the university library can order electronic copies of works from other libraries, e.g. articles from scientific journals or partial copies from books, by email.

Those who rely on the Citavi or EndNote reference management software – e.g. because they have to start writing their thesis soon – may turn to the BIS team for help. The reference management team provides individual advice by e-mail (bis-1opinfo@whauol.de/6) or via a forum on Stud.IP; here you will also find instructions and links to video tutorials.

At the beginning of summer semester, the library resumed the collection of late fees, which had been suspended since the shutdown. Effective immediately, overdue books must be returned or extended. This will ensure that students and teachers have access to the literature they need. Borrowed books can be returned contactlessly via a book flap in the foyer of the Central Library. The building is accessible Monday through Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Return by mail is also possible.

More information

Checking in

As a teacher, can I also hold consultation hours via video conference?
Yes, the BigBlueButton online conference system is available for this purpose. It is accessed via meeting.uol.de, not Stud.IP. Here, lecturers can create virtual rooms and configure them in such a way that invited students are only allowed to enter upon approval. Please select the option "Approval by moderator before room can be entered" when creating the room. The students can then attend the consultation hour in sequence – the student next in line appears on a waiting list visible to the host. In order to start the conversation, the host confirms a student’s participation with a mouse click. Please note: If you want to offer consultation hours on BigBlueButton, you should inform the participants about this procedure in advance so that waiting times can be taken into account.

More information

I would like to offer my lecture as a video via Stud.IP.
What do I have to consider with regard to the file size?

If you create a video or screencast, i.e. a recording of a screen presentation, you can reduce the file size considerably with a few simple tricks, thereby making uploading and downloading easier and relieving the university’s bandwidth. Teachers and teaching staff should seek to find a compromise between video quality and size. A simple trick is, for example, to reduce the length of a video: it should not exceed 20 minutes. Those unable to do so should divide their video into several shorter sequences. It may also be enough to simply equip your presentation with an audio track rather than webcam recordings. Even after the video or screencast has been created, the file size can still be reduced - for example, by choosing a resolution in standard definition of 480 pixels or high definition of 720 pixels instead of full HD. Some video editors allow you to reduce the bit rate, i.e. the amount of data output per unit of time, thereby further reducing the file size.

More information

Quick notes

School I has introduced a new departmental address: Using corogxnaviruliflts.fk1@reluol.den52, students and staff can report malfunctions or problems as well as submit positive feedback or suggestions for the digital summer semester.

School I teachers and teaching staff now have a room at their disposal where they can record their lectures and seminars by appointment. Equipment includes a smart board and video camera. Initial test runs have gone very well.

Faculty IV is setting up an information area for online teaching on its homepage. This includes a central e-mail address which students and teachers may use to submit problems, questions, and feedback.

For participants of the university's Voluntary Academic Year (FWJ), a first online seminar on sustainability was held yesterday via BigBlueButton. The FWJ also includes "Education Days". FWJ coordinator Nadine Brandt, Faculty VI, is offering the accompanying events online now.


Please also refer to the information provided on the university's corona-related website. Here, you will find concise answers to many frequently asked questions:
https://uol.de/en/info-coronavirus

Semesterstart digital | April 20, 2020

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,
dear students:
 
We have all been eagerly awaiting the start of the online semester. Now, at the end of the day, we can draw some preliminary positive conclusions. We started without any major incidents, and, as you can read below, the technical infrastructure held up. This was not a foregone conclusion, as we were not able to fully test the system beforehand. Admittedly, not everything went smoothly, and there are some unresolved issues and room for improvement. The most frequently asked question today concerned the examination procedures for this semester. You will find some answers below.

We have launched "Semesterstart digital" to provide you with up-to-date information over the coming days and address topics that concern us all. I am convinced that we will master the challenges ahead with great commitment, creativity, and care. Let us all work together.

On behalf of the members of the Presidential Chair
Sincerely yours
Prof. Dr Dr Hans-Michael Piper
President


IT infrastructure up to the task

On Monday morning, around 700 students took part in a total of 73 online courses via the BigBlueButton web conference platform. In some cases, more than a thousand participants were active simultaneously in the afternoon. The capacity of the platform, which can currently handle up to 5,000 participants at a time, was thus far from being exhausted.

Among the events held online were two larger lectures with 160 and 140 students, almost all of whom participated exclusively as listeners or viewers. In numerous smaller events ranging from ten to 20 participants, teachers and students took advantage of the opportunity to engage in direct exchanges via webcam and microphone.

The university's available internet bandwidth of two-times 10 gigabits per second, which has increased significantly since Easter, also proved to be sufficient: On average, the outgoing data volume on Monday morning was one gigabit per second. The system only reached the high load range for a short time around 9.50 a.m. - presumably because many users were briefly testing their cameras at that time.

Almost 500 employees and students connected to the university network via VPN on Monday morning. The load reached almost two thirds of its maximum of 750 possible connections. The number of workstations on virtual desktops (VDI), which university employees can use to access the SAP system from home, also proved to be sufficient. From an IT services point of view, the start of online teaching thus went fairly smoothly.

Learning to teach digitally

Whether it’s the eDidactic blog, online consultation hours, collegial exchanges in the Stud.IP community, or online workshops you are interested in: The university's presidential didactics department offers teachers, teaching staff, and students a wide range of information on digital teaching. Turn to the blog, updated daily, to find out about various digital technologies for learning and teaching. The eDidactics team’s popular online consultation hour takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10.30 to 11.30 a.m. Interested parties can also give the BigBlueButton video conferencing tool a try. Teachers and teaching staff may contact the eDidactics team by e-mail (edidpy7gkaktik@uol.dd6/hedu) and, if required, arrange telephone consultation appointments. There is also a lively exchange between instructors via Stud.IP - other interested parties may register here as well. And those who would like to further their education can take advantage of the workshops offered by university didactics: Many of the courses have now been converted to online classes.

eDidactics-Blog Online-consultation hour Stud.IP Online-courses of university didactics

Checking in

Will it be possible to conduct oral examinations via video conference in the future?

Yes, under certain conditions this should be possible soon. At its weekly meeting tomorrow, the Presidential Chair will decide on a recommendation for action. In this guideline, the Chair will advise the schools to allow for oral examinations to be held via a video and audio transmission system approved by the university (this also applies retroactively for winter semester 2019/20). Such a setup requires that all persons involved agree to the proceedings and abide by the rules, which have already been worked out in detail by the university's Legal Department, the Academic Examinations Office, and the Academic Studies and Teaching Unit. Please also note: If technical problems occur that cannot be solved in the short term, the examination will be cancelled and the attempt voided. As soon as more up-to-date information becomes available, you will find it here:

Informationen on the coronavirus for members of the university

Testimonial

Prof. Dr. Carsten Agert, Institute for Physics:
"I just had my first lecture in electronic format. At the beginning of the session, I tried out various tools with the 35 or so participants, and we quickly settled on BigBlueButton because it really worked brilliantly.
In the final round of questions on "What did you think of today?" we received only positive feedback from the students. You can tell that the individuals we're dealing with are "digital natives": People are perfectly familiar with digital etiquette (all microphones off, feedback loop via the chat function, usual short cuts in the chat, etc.). So, as far as I’m concerned: Thumbs up, runs great.
Tomorrow, we’ll have our first seminar in electronic format, which is naturally more difficult. Here, too, we have decided to use BBB."


Please also refer to the information provided on the university's corona-related website. Here, you will find concise answers to many frequently asked questions:
https://uol.de/en/info-coronavirus
 

Letters of the President

Letter of the President (May 6, 2020)

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,dear students:

last week, we informed you about the steps the Presidential Chair is planning to take in order to gradually expand the university's operations (from emergency to special operations). This shift towards lifting restrictions while limiting personal presence on campus is flanked by decisions taken by the federal and state governments. Since their announcement yesterday, it has become clear that the following measures can now be implemented at the university:

  • Research conducted in laboratories and outdoors (e.g. field experiments) may resume if specific organizational conditions are met and hygiene as well as protective measures are in place. This also applies to lines of work essential to such research activities.
    Prerequisite: Approved plans outlining the organization, compliance with hygiene requirements, and implementation of protective measures based on a special risk assessment. The plans are to be prepared by the heads of the organizational units, checked by the Occupational Safety Unit, and approved by the Presidential Chair. These procedural steps were communicated to the schools last week.

     
  • All other organizational units are now also being asked to prepare for the gradual expansion of university operations. This also requires the aforementioned plans, which must be prepared by the unit heads and submitted to the Occupational Safety Unit for review.

Protecting the health of its members and associates remains the university’s top priority. As a result, the Presidential Chair plans to lift restrictions on on-site operations only slowly and with utmost care.

Please understand that this cautious, step-by-step approach is the only way to prevent an uncontrollable, flood-like return into the university’s facilities, risking to put everyone’s health in danger. Most employees whose work can be done remotely must therefore be prepared to continue working from home for a while longer.

This also applies to students. As previously announced by the Presidential Chair: Regular attendance on campus will not be possible during summer semester. However, further measures with regard to teaching are being planned:

  • The schools, too, are to develop hygiene plans for experimental and other practical parts of their academic programs, thereby allowing smaller groups to participate on site.
     
  • Solutions for tests and examinations requiring personal attendance are being devised as well.

Preparing exams and practical parts of academic programs presents a challenge for our teachers, teaching staff, and other people involved. I would like to thank you, dear teachers, for your continued commitment. Meanwhile, I would like to ask you, dear students, for a little more patience. It will take time to restructure teaching practices as we know them.

Dealing with the pandemic and gradually ramping up operations on campus requires careful planning by the university’s management, the schools, and the other organizational units. We have come a long way. There is light now at the end of the tunnel!

With kind regards,
Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Michael Piper
President

Letter of the President (April 17, 2020)

Dear Sir or Madam,
dear colleagues,dear students:

You are all following the current developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting measures taken by the federal and state governments. We, as a university, also continue to be called upon to manage the situation responsibly. The Presiding Chair has discussed this matter in great depth, and I would like to inform you about the most recent decisions. Please regard this as preliminary information; further details will be provided in the coming week.

The provisions that have been effective since March 20 will be extended until Sunday, May 3, 2020.
As a matter of principle, the university's campus and all buildings will therefore remain closed and, if possible, should not be entered.

As previously communicated, courses, lectures, and seminars will start next Monday, April 20, using online teaching and learning formats only. It is safe to assume that we will not be able to return to classroom-based teaching during summer semester.

However, we are planning to cautiously ease the restrictions for on-campus operations starting on Monday, May 4.
For instance, this may affect research work in laboratories, access to the library, or your own workplace. Of course, protecting your health remains our top priority. Gradually expanding university operations requires that special hygiene and protective measures be in place and adhered to.

Successively opening up buildings poses yet another particular challenge for us as a university. There are many detailed questions that have to be addressed. We need your support to be able to successfully plan and implement concrete strategies for each individual facility.

The coronavirus pandemic will certainly continue to have a major impact on our lives - both in our private and professional spheres. Despite initial moves to ease restrictions, we will not be able to fulfill our core missions as a university - teaching and research - the way we used to for some time to come. But we are doing everything we can to operate optimally within the limits set by the pandemic.

You, our teachers and teaching staff, have been and continue to be very committed to converting your courses into online formats. I greatly respect your efforts. Please, dear students, be patient in case there are any minor hiccups early on. Your teachers and you, as well, will have to adapt at first, but cooperating constructively will certainly benefit everyone. I would like to thank all those who, with great dedication, have spent the last few weeks creating new solutions for teaching - including specifically the university's IT services, whose work is currently more important than ever.

Despite the severe limitations placed on your work, you, our researchers, are pushing ahead as best as you can. You, the staff in the schools, in central administration, and all other university-based services are working together to keep the indispensable administrative mechanisms of the university operational. I would also like to emphasize the following: Contracts concerning the implementation of research projects may be extended upon a review. Doctoral students whose salary is paid out of university funds can expect their contracts to be extended. Funding institutions on the state, federal, and EU level are also in the process of finding appropriate solutions for extending third-party grants.

These are difficult times. Please look after your health and that of the people around you by continuing to take hygiene measures seriously and keeping your distance. Each and every one of us shares responsibility for the further course of the pandemic. I hope that we as members and affiliates of the Carl von Ossietzky University will do our part to contribute to the greater public good.

With kind regards,
Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Michael Piper
President

Do you have any questions, feedback, or need information about online teaching and learning?

For students:
Contacts

For teachers and teaching statt:
Hochschuldidaktik  (German)       e-didactic       IT services

Letter of the President (March 20, 2020)

Dear members of the University of Oldenburg,

Just a few weeks ago, most of us probably would not have imagined how profoundly the corona pandemic would influence our lives as well as those of the people close to us. Now we are aware of the gravity of the situation, as unreal as it may still seem: The wave of infection will reach all parts of Germany and therefore also members of and other people affiliated with the University of Oldenburg. And it is clear that there is only one way to hinder the virus from spreading much further too quickly: We all must reduce all interpersonal contacts to the absolute necessary minimum – as hard as that may be.

Our first step as a university was to suspend all lectures, courses, and seminars requiring personal attendance in order to avoid direct contact between teaching staff and students on campus. This means a drastic measure for all those affected by it and naturally leads to insecurity.

As of today, the university will now also interrupt its research and dial the administrative activity on campus down to the minimum. Both these measures represent more painful restraint of the usual life and interaction within our university.

From the home office, we try to comply with our tasks and get the upcoming work done. This comprises an effort to be able to largely expand the university’s online teaching for you, our students. Parts of our researchers can continue their excellent work outside of campus. The experimental disciplines are most constricted as they rely on the use of their laboratories and special equipment, which is bitter.

Not a single one of us has ever experienced such a drastic and sudden cut to our familiar academic routine. In the face of the current drama, a lot of the technicalities usually preoccupying us seem to fade.

As a trained physician, I put great trust in the health care in Oldenburg and in the whole country. I am glad that already young physicians trained at the University of Oldenburg play their part in this.

For you, the university’s employees, the current measures mean a lot of challenges. Many of you have to reorganise childcare as long as nurseries, kindergartens and schools remain closed. We may not yet have answers to all of the questions that bother you, even though many colleagues have been working at that intensely for weeks. Please remember: As members of public service we are a privileged part of our society. Our jobs and salaries are guaranteed. Please show humane and practical solidarity with those in a less fortunate position.

For you, our students, the current restrictions are serious – in relation to your studies as well as to your subsistence, with ceasing options to earn something on the side. You can be sure that we do everything we can to offer you the best studies and studying experience possible under these circumstances. This is my promise to you. At the same time I ask for your understanding and patience in case things do not yet run as quickly or smoothly as we would like them to. We are working on it.

My wish to all of us is that we may get through these difficult times in the best possible way. The university’s Presidential Chair does its part. Please join us in this effort!

Yours,

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Michael Piper, President

I. Current situation at the University of Oldenburg

Gradual transition to special operations

Last updated: May 20, 2020

The Presidential Chair plans to gradually expand the university's operations (from emergency to special operations). This shift towards lifting restrictions while limiting personal presence on campus is flanked by decisions taken by the federal and state governments. The following preliminary measures will be implemented:

  • Adhering to specific organizational requirements as well as hygiene and protective measures, special operations will be phased in at the University of Oldenburg. However, strict limitations on personal presence at the university remain effective. The provisions and rules of conduct laid out in the "Explanatory notes on special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions at the University of Oldenburg" (as of April 28, 2020) continue to apply .

  • Research conducted in laboratories and outdoors (e.g. field experiments) may resume if specific organizational conditions are met and hygiene as well as protective measures are in place. This also applies to lines of work essential to such research activities.

  • On-site office work is also permitted if specific organizational conditions are met and hygiene as well as protective measures are in place. Priority is given to administrative work supporting research as well as academic study and teaching activities. Any other administrative or service-oriented work remains subject to the principle of contact minimization and thus, is to be carried out remotely. Returning to on-site administrative workplaces beyond brief appearances may be allowed only in exceptional, well-founded cases.

  • In order to be allowed to implement the reduced-presence operations (special operations) described above, the heads of the organizational units (OU) must submit a plan for organizing, complying with hygiene requirements, and putting in place protective measures. A special risk assessment provided by the Occupational Safety Unit serves as a guideline. In addition to individual workplaces, these plans are to assess commonly shared areas (such as hallways, communal spaces, break rooms [e.g. kitchenettes], sanitary facilities, etc.). Reviews may reach across different organizations.
     
  • As the university continues to gradually expand its operations (special operations), the number of members, associates, and guests inside university buildings is going to increase as well. Maintaining the required minimum distance in high-traffic areas (e.g. entrances, hallways, staircases) of university buildings and leases at all times may thus become impossible. In order to protect public health, the Presidential Chair has therefore decided to make the use of face masks, i.e. cloth masks covering the mouth and nose (MNS), mandatory in high-traffic areas of all buildings and leased properties. Please note that the mandatory use of masks takes effect immediately. Persons with physical or health restrictions may be exempt from the mask requirement in accordance with the Lower Saxony Ordinance on Combating the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The following applies to academic study and teaching:

Regular attendance on campus will not be possible during summer semester. However, further measures with regard to teaching are being planned:

  • The schools, too, are to develop hygiene plans for experimental and other practical parts of their academic programs, thereby allowing smaller groups to participate on site.
     
  • Solutions for tests and examinations requiring personal attendance are being devised as well.

Details under "Examination proceedings during spring-summer semester beginning on April 20, 2020".

Essential procedural steps

The heads of the OU prepare and are accountable for their plans. The creation of sub-processes by management, e.g.  per research area/professorship in the schools, is possible as long as  the deans sign off on them.

The Occupational Safety Unit is to evaluate these plans and check up on their enforcement. They inform Divisions 1 (Personnel/Organization) and 4 (Building Management), consulting them as necessary, and report regularly to the Presidential Chair.

If the Occupational Safety does not object, approval is granted on behalf of the Presidential Chair and communicated to the head of the OU. Only then may special operations be implemented by an OU. The heads of the OU are responsible for executing their respective plans and checking up on their enforcement regularly (randomly). The Occupational Safety Unit, alongside Divisions 1 and 4, also carries out inspections.

In addition, the regulations on building operation and opening hours of March 20, 2020 will remain in effect until further notice:

Building operations:

The ventilation systems are switched off or run at the lowest level. The ventilation of computer rooms remains in operation.

The digestor exhaust air systems run at the lowest level. Please switch off digestors that are not required decentrally. We ask you to close the windows.

Facility management: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., if necessary, available by telephone via service points.

Central post office (Tel.: -2539): 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Services include putting postage on urgent mail, delivering, or collecting mail. Mail distribution remains suspended and must be arranged within the organizational units themselves.

Central telephone exchange: Restricted operations.

Building access: Only possible via electronic chip or by borrowing the key from the service point.

IT-Service Desk: Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. by phone at -5555 (restricted) or e-mail at servicedesk@uol.de.

Central library Haarentor campus (Uhlhornsweg): No access with the exception of BIS staff to ensure services (for further information see BIS website).

Departmental library Wechloy campus: Closed.

Underground car park at Uhlhornsweg: Closed.

Parking garage A55: Closed.

Sports facilities: Closed.

Botanical garden: Closed.

Notes on special operations and risk assessment

During stage one of special operations, access to laboratories and the lines of work supporting them will be granted. Of course, specific organizational, hygiene, and safety measures have to be in place.

The "Explanatory notes on special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions at the University of Oldenburg," available as a PDF for university members below, serve as a guideline.

In preparation for special operations, heads of organizational units may also refer to the form "Risk assessment of special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions".

Explanatory notes on special operations (German)

Risk assessment during special operations (German) 

(For informational purposes only; a PDF that can be filled out electronically will become available on May 7)

Teaching during spring-summer semester beginning on April 20, 2020

Last updated: April 3, 2020

Lectures will resume on April 20, one week later than originally planned. The university is operating on the assumption that no classroom teaching can take place in the coming semester. The aim is to enable students to successfully complete as many courses as possible. Students should not experience any problems with the standard length of study (“Regelstudienzeit”) if they are unable to complete any or all of the courses scheduled for summer semester.

Examination proceedings during spring-summer semester beginning on April 20, 2020

Last updated: April 3, 2020

  • During summer semester, the university will use alternative forms of examination rather than standard in-person written or oral exams. This also applies retroactively to winter semester exams which could not be completed in March. Furthermore, the Presidential Chair is currently working on the legal basis for online oral exams.
  • The university will also organize in-person exams that cannot be postponed even during the university’s reduced operations – observing, of course, all required hygiene measures. An exam cannot be postponed if and when all other requirements for the completion of the degree have been met and no more courses need to be taken. In other words, exams that cannot be postponed are the last exams that a student must take. To register and organize in-person exams, students should get in touch with the Academic Examinations Office.

Academic Examinations Office

 

Mobile work: Employment Agreement ("Dienstvereinbarung")

Last updated: March 17, 2020

The Presidential Chair and the Staff Council have agreed upon the draft of a temporary Employment Agreement on alternative workplaces during the corona crisis. Subject to the approval of the Staff Council, the agreement will be concluded at short notice. The regulations laid out in the draft become effective immediately.

The agreement, including all relevant forms, is available on the administration portal (Personnel Service/Mobile Work).

The Employment Agreement authorizes superiors to permit individual employees to work remotely. In order to maintain the functionality and performance of the University of Oldenburg, superiors are also given the option to order individual employees to work remotely. However, it is required that the nature of an employee's job allows for mobile work to be carried out and that all necessary work equipment is available. Please coordinate requests for mobile work with your superiors.

Agreement on alternative workplaces during the Corona crisis (German)

Request for mobile work (German)

University library: Notes for use

The library is open to members of the university Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-ordered books may be picked at the library's loan desk Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Borrowed books may be returned using the book flap in the BIS foyer Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The library staff takes inquiries by telephone (0441/798-4444) and by e-mail (bis-1opinfo@whauol.de/6) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wechloy campus: The departmental library on Wechloy campus remains closed.

Please visit the page linked below regularly. There you will find the latest information regarding our services.

More information

The University Sports Centre has suspended all services

Last updated: March 16, 2020

The University Sports Centre has suspended its services until and including April 19:

  • The university pool is closed - this also applies to external groups. Only requisite exams may still be held.
  • All university sports courses are cancelled, as are open gym slots and workshops.
  • All sports facilities  are closed until April 19, including the artificial turf, grass, basketball, and beach volleyball courts in Wechloy.  This policy corresponds to that of the City of Oldenburg and its sports clubs.
  • All rentals of badminton or artificial turf courts are suspended, as are previously booked time slots. This also applies to rentrals by external groups and subscriptions.
  • The Fitness and Health Centre is closed. Previously arranged appointments for orientations are cancelled.

More information

II. Information on digital teaching

Technical information about online teaching

The IT services provide several systems for web conferences that enable communication via text (chat), audio, and/or video. Additional functions for presenting, exchanging, and jointly editing files have been integrated:

  • The existing Cloud Storage service has been expanded to include the components of Talk for chat, audio, and video conferencing as well as OnlyOffice for collaborative work on texts.
  • Stud.IP now includes the web conference platform BigBlueButton: In Stud.IP virtual rooms can be created for any event and used for online teaching. The integrated web conference platform is now designed for much more extensive use by 4,000 to 5,000 participants.
  • Additional web conference platforms are available for internal and external university communication via chat, audio, and video conference:
    • https://meeting.uol.de allows users to record web conferences. This platform is designed for 3,000 to 4,000 participants.
    • https://webconf.uol.de now also offers the possibility of participating in a web conference by telephone. The number of slots available for telephones is limited to 10.
    • https://studconf.uol.de: Students can create study groups in Stud.IP and communicate via this service. Moreover, this platform is to be used when external participants are involved.
    • https://iconf.uol.de is a platform for users with special security requirements. Access is granted upon application via the IT-Service-Desk. It enables users to record surveys, interviews, and long video segments needed for analysis in term papers, master's theses, etc.

In order to be able to use the various platforms for web conferences at the University of Oldenburg, a reasonably up-to-date technical end device is required (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone). This device needs to have a microphone and a loudspeaker; a headset usually provides better sound quality and avoids feedback. Current versions of the Chrome or Firefox browser are required. Further information about how to use web conference platforms can be found on the websites of IT services (https://uol.de/en/institutions/it-dienste) and University Didactics (https://wp.uni-oldenburg.de/edidactics/en/covid-19-current-information-about-digital-tools-for-teaching-online/).

If you have any questions, please contact the IT-Service-Desk (serv4dfficedeski9f@unj2rsi-oldenbuchxderg.6232kde, Tel.: 798-5555, Mon - Thur: 09:00 AM - 03:30 PM, Fri: 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM), preferably by e-mail.

In addition, the bandwidth of the university's connection to the DFN science network is currently being tripled, and the server infrastructure is being greatly expanded. In order to securely store data required for online teaching, personal storage space (home drive) and personal cloud storage for each member of the university has also been increased from 10GB to 100GB.

Why does the university not currently allow the use of digital communication tools offered by external providers (Skype, Teams, Zoom, etc.)?

Important criteria for the use of communication tools at the University of Oldenburg are data protection, information security, and sustainability. In addition to meeting the legal requirements for data protection and security, external tools must be integrable into the university's digital infrastructure. This requires comprehensive technical and legal checks, internal coordination, and the completion of appropriate contracts. Since DFN's well-established service has been experiencing performance problems recently, and many external providers do not sufficiently meet the above-mentioned criteria, our IT services have provided their "own" additional tools (https://uol.de/en/institutions/it-dienste), which can be integrated into the existing infrastructure (including UniCloud and Stud.IP) and whose security falls within the university's sphere of influence.

Please send feedback on this matter to: servicedesk@dgn6uol.deyoxw2. Further information can be found here: https://uol.de/info-coronavirus (in English will follow as soon as possible).

 

Where can I find further help with digital teaching?

Whether it’s the eDidactic blog, online consultation hours, collegial exchanges in the Stud.IP community, or online workshops you are interested in: The university's presidential didactics department offers teachers, teaching staff, and students a wide range of information on digital teaching. Turn to the blog, updated daily, to find out about various digital technologies for learning and teaching. The eDidactics team’s popular online consultation hour takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10.30 to 11.30 a.m. Interested parties can also give the BigBlueButton video conferencing tool a try. Teachers and teaching staff may contact the eDidactics team by e-mail (edidpy7gkaktik@uol.dd6/hedu) and, if required, arrange telephone consultation appointments. There is also a lively exchange between instructors via Stud.IP - other interested parties may register here as well. And those who would like to further their education can take advantage of the workshops offered by university didactics: Many of the courses have now been converted to online classes.

eDidactics BlogOnline consultation hourStud.IPOnline courses of university didactics

As a teacher, can I also hold consultation hours via video conference?

Yes, the BigBlueButton online conference system is available for this purpose. It is accessed via meeting.uol.de, not Stud.IP. Here, lecturers can create virtual rooms and configure them in such a way that invited students are only allowed to enter upon approval. Please select the option "Approval by moderator before room can be entered" when creating the room. The students can then attend the consultation hour in sequence – the student next in line appears on a waiting list visible to the host. In order to start the conversation, the host confirms a student’s participation with a mouse click. Please note: If you want to offer consultation hours on BigBlueButton, you should inform the participants about this procedure in advance so that waiting times can be taken into account.

More information
 

III. Information for students

General notes

From now on, students will find all information relevant to the online semester in the Stud.IP course entitled "Zentrale Informationen fürs Studium" All students are automatically added as participants.

Letter from Björn Thümler, Lower Saxony's Minister for Science and Culture, to all students (May 8, 2020; German only)

Coming soon

The summer semester will consist solely of online instruction – what does that mean for me?

The conditions and requirements for teaching vary greatly from subject to subject. For this reason, each school is working on individual solutions that fit in well with existing teaching concepts.

From a technical perspective, we will rely particularly on asynchronous tools of online teaching. In contrast to synchronous teaching, where teaching and learning take place simultaneously in a group setting, asynchronous teaching temporarily separates the teaching and learning processes. Examples of this are teaching videos or discussion forums, providing literature or using supplementary audio files for lecture slides.

Whether synchronous or asynchronous - for you, this means that you need access to a workplace with a computer and an internet connection. The PC must be equipped with a loudspeaker and microphone (e.g. headset). You should also think about a webcam to be able to participate in video conferences.

Further tips (in German)

I need psychological support in this situation. Where can I get help?

If you are a student of the university or the Jade University of Applied Sciences, please contact the staff of the Psychological Counselling Service (PBS) for help with any personal and study-related difficulties.

Psychological Counselling Service (German)

Emergency numbers for crisis situations (German)

Labor law-related information for working students

The University Information Office (HIB) has compiled important information on labor law for working students.

Current information HIB (German)

Reduced university operations (emergency operations)

University library: Notes for use

The library is open to members of the university Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-ordered books may be picked at the library's loan desk Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Borrowed books may be returned using the book flap in the BIS foyer Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The library staff takes inquiries by telephone (0441/798-4444) and by e-mail (bis-1opinfo@whauol.de/6) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wechloy campus: The departmental library on Wechloy campus remains closed.

Please visit the page linked below regularly. There you will find the latest information regarding our services.

More information

I have not yet validated my CampusCard. Where and when can I do this?

The CampusCard can be validated Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm using the machines in the cafeteria foyer.
The foyer is freely accessible during these times.

Cafeteria foyer Haarentor campus

CampusCard as semester ticket

Until further notice, the CampusCard validated for fall-winter semester 2019/20 in conjunction with a certificate of enrolment for spring-summer semester 2020 and an official photo ID is accepted as a semester ticket - including state-wide usage aross Lower Saxony. Students can print out a certificate of enrolment via Stud.IP.

FAQ list by the Studentenwerk

The Studentenwerk Oldenburg (students services organization) provides information about the coronavirus and answers any possible questions:

https://www.studentenwerk-oldenburg.de/de/corona-faq/1475-coronavirus-fragen-und-antworten.html

Teaching during spring-summer semester beginning on April 20, 2020

Will classroom teaching take place during summer semester?

The university is operating on the assumption that no classroom teaching can take place in the coming semester. The aim is to enable students to successfully complete as many courses as possible. Students should not experience any problems with the standard length of study (“Regelstudienzeit”) if they are unable to complete any or all of the courses scheduled for summer semester.

Deadline for providing evidence of required modules upon provisional admission to a Master’s program extended until September 30, 2020.

Students who have been provisionally admitted to a Master's program during winter semester 2019/20 but, due to the suspension of examinations, are unable to demonstrate by March 31, 2020 that they have completed the modules required in the admission notice may continue their studies in the second semester of the Master's program during summer semester 2020. Evidence of completion must be submitted by September 30, 2020.

Deadline for providing evidence of a Bachelor's degree upon provisional admission to a Master's program extended until September 30, 2020

In accordance with today's decision by the Presidential Chair, students provisionally admitted into a Master's program during winter semester 2019/20 who are not able to present their Bachelor's degree by March 31, 2020 due to the suspension of examinations may continue their second semester studies during summer semester 2020. Those students must complete and provide evidence of their Bachelor's degree by September 30, 2020.

Can I submit requests via e-mail?

Yes. Please submit the signed form as a PDF file attached to an e-mail. 

Will disadvantages caused by the suspension of all teaching operations be compensated for?

The university is committed to ensuring that its students do not suffer any negative consequences due to the current situation. Working with the university's schools and departments, the Presidential Chair is developing solutions to compensate for classroom instruction which has to be postponed or cancelled.

Pregnant and breastfeeding students as well as students with health restrictions

Students with health restrictions

For an individual assessment of any risks associated with being present on campus, we recommend you consult your attending physician. Further measures may then be taken.

Pregnant and breastfeeding students

On the basis of the available epidemiological data, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as well as the Committee for Biological Agents (ABAS) have provisionally classified SARS-CoV-2 as a risk group 3 pathogen under the Ordinance on Biological Agents (decision as of February 19, 2020). According to our current scientific understanding, the virus can be transmitted by inhaling aerosols and by contact with mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes). Exposure to these bio-substances may present a risk for pregnant women and nursing mothers at the university.

In order to protect students who are pregnant or nursing, the University of Oldenburg issued a directive in March prohibiting them from entering the university, its buildings, and facilities.

Other protections granted by the university to expectant and nursing mothers ("Mutterschutz") are not affected by this and remain in effect.

The regulations on working remotely from home may be applied as long as it is possible and expedient for the employee to do so without entering the university.

At her own request and her own risk, a pregnant or nurisng student may enter the university, its buildings, and facilities for a maximum of 1 hour per week in order to complete work that cannot be postponed and/or is urgently required. Entry bans (e.g. for laboratories) specified in the risk assessment remain valid.

When entering campus, it is imperative to observe personal and organizational hygiene requirements, such as social distancing, proper "cough and sneeze etiquette", face masks (non-medical cloth masks covering the nose and mouth), regular hand washing, and contactless forms of greeting.

This provision has been extended and is valid until further notice.

Oldenburg, May 8, 2020

Examination proceedings in the spring-summer semester from April 20, 2020

In what form will examinations take place during summer semester?

During summer semester, the university will use alternative forms of examination rather than standard in-person written or oral exams. This also applies retroactively to winter semester exams which could not be completed in March. Furthermore, the Presidential Chair is currently working on the legal basis for online oral exams.

I'm about to complete my studies. Can I take necessary in-person exams despite emergency operation?

The University will also organize in-person exams that cannot be postponed even during the University’s reduced operations – observing, of course, all required hygiene measures. An exam cannot be postponed if and when all other requirements for the completion of the degree have been met and no more courses need to be taken. In other words, exams that cannot be postponed are the last exams that a student must take. Please complete the following form and send it to studium@uol.bjqhdeyut6i. In the subject line, please write the name of the member of staff who is responsible for your degree programme at the Academic Examinations Office:

Form request examination in person

What about exams which do not require personal attendance, i.e. papers, essays, or portfolios?

Forms of examination not requiring personal attendance are to be submitted via Stud.IP, email, or by mail within applicable deadlines. Examiners are asked to accommodate students - particularly those with children - who request deadline extensions.

Should documents such as academic transcripts be collected from building A12?

No, they will be sent by mail.

IV. Information for employees

Reduced operations (special operations)

Rules and risk assessment for special operations

General speaking, all buildings of the University of Oldenburg are closed and, if possible, should not be entered. At present, however, so-called special operations aimed at limiting personal presence on campus are gradually being implemented.

During stage one of special operations, access to laboratories and the lines of work supporting them will be granted. Of course, specific organizational, hygiene, and safety measures have to be in place.

The "Explanatory notes on special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions at the University of Oldenburg," available as a PDF for university members below, serve as a guideline.

In preparation for special operations, heads of organizational units may also refer to the form "Risk assessment of special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions".

Explanatory notes on special operations (German)

Risk assessment during special operations (German) 

Risk assessment (English)

Distribution of face masks (everyday mask)

During special operations, the university is issuing masks that cover the nose and mouth (everyday masks). These are reusable cotton masks that can be washed and ironed. Such masks are neither a certified medical product nor personal protective equipment.

Nevertheless, these "garments" can reduce the speed of respiratory flow or droplet ejection, e.g. during coughing, and thus, may be effective in slowing down the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Distribution guidelines:

  • A maximum of 2 masks per person will be issued. If more are required, please obtain the Occupational Safety Unit's written approval.
  • The masks will only be issued on the basis of completed order forms, filled out legibly and signed.
  • As a type of personal protective equipment, the masks issued are assigned to an individual by name, recorded, and documented in accordance with the university's legal obligations.
  • Inadmissible, duplicate, or multiple orders will be charged to the organizational unit.
  • Requests for replacing lost masks must be submitted to the Occupational Safety Unit.

Who receives everyday masks:

  • Employees and student/scientific assistants, indicating their personnel number.
  • Students working on Bachelor's or Master's theses, stating their matriculation number and including a note in the field "Approval of higher volume."
  • Scholarship holders, providing exact details of their scholarship in the field "Approval of higher volume".

No mask is issued WITHOUT these specifications!

In order to distribute everyday masks as fast and contactless as possible, each organizational unit should bundle their requests in one order form.

Place of distribution:
Wechloy site, ring level
Distribution hours:
From May 11 - 29, 2020, daily from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Starting on June 2, 2020, masks will only be distributed from the laboratory supplies warehouse.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please send only one person to pick up the equipment and bring a bag or similar carrying device. An order form is required for distribution.

Downloads:
Bestellformular (German, please download before filling out)
Alltagsmaske Kurzanleitung (German)
How to wear cloth face masks (English)

 

Home office regulations during the period of reduced operations

Once the closure takes effect, all employees of the university should, wherever possible, work predominantly from home ("home office"). Please note the recently communicated regulations laid out in the draft "Employment Agreement on Alternative Workplaces during the Corona Crisis" ("Entwurf zur Dienstvereinbarung zu Arbeitsplatzalternativen während der Zeit der Coronakrise").

We kindly ask you to use your laptop or - after consulting with your superior - take your work PC along with any necessary accessories. Please note: The use of private devices to access the university's IT infrastructure has to be authorized by the IT Services. Further information will be provided by the IT Services.

IT-Services

Am I still obliged to work while reduced operations remain in effect?

Moving your place of work to your home, you are still obliged to work, unless ordered otherwise. It is expected that you can be reached by telephone during your normal working hours and that you are on call to carry out important work at the university. In addition, we ask you to check your e-mails regularly and tend to them if necessary (e.g. via webmail, https://uol.de/webmail). Please also keep yourself informed about current developments on the university's website (https://uol.de/en).

Payroll accounting is maintained at all times.

What happens to previously approved vacation days or other types of leave of absence during the period of reduced operations?

Previously approved vacation days or other types of leave of absence remain valid.

What about employees who are not allowed to enter the university and who, due to the emergency operations, are unable to perform their duties?

If you are not designated to work on site at the university and your work cannot be carried out from home, you may be released from your duties after consulting with your superior. Nevertheless, you remain under obligation to be available by telephone during your normal working hours and to be on call to perform important work at the university. You are to inform yourself regularly about current developments at the university and check your e-mails. You may be notified by e-mail and via the website when business as usual resumes.

Payroll accounting is maintained at all times.

Further guidance

Mobile work: Employment Agreement ("Dienstvereinbarung")

Last updated: March 17, 2020

The Presidential Chair and the Staff Council have agreed upon the draft of a temporary Employment Agreement on alternative workplaces during the corona crisis. Subject to the approval of the Staff Council, the agreement will be concluded at short notice. The regulations laid out in the draft become effective immediately.

The agreement, including all relevant forms, is available on the administration portal (Personnel Service/Mobile Work).

The Employment Agreement authorizes superiors to permit individual employees to work remotely. In order to maintain the functionality and performance of the University of Oldenburg, superiors are also given the option to order individual employees to work remotely. However, it is required that the nature of an employee's job allows for mobile work to be carried out and that all necessary work equipment is available. Please coordinate requests for mobile work with your superiors.

Agreement on alternative workplaces during the Corona crisis (German)

Request for mobile work (German)

Telework Agreement

In order to apply for telework, please refer to the general conditions set out in the service agreement on telework. Please note that telework does not constitute mobile work/home office work in accordance with the service agreement on alternative workplaces during the Corona crisis ("DV Mobiles Arbeiten Krise").
If you have any questions, please contact the Occupational Safety team.

You can find detailed information about teleworking on the Occupational Safety Unit’s website:

Telearbeit (German)

Information on the use of IT services during special operations

The university's IT services provide and regularly update all information on their website.

Tips for working from home with children

The German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) gives advice on working remotely from home with children. For all parents who are currently looking after their children and working from home at the same time, here are a few tips from "The safe house" campaign on how they can manage that twofold burden as safely and health-consciously as possible:

  • Try to define a fixed period of time for working remotely. Discuss with your employer beforehand whether you can also do some work in the evening, for example, when the children are in bed.
  • If you do not have your own office in your home, set up a "no-go zone". This signals to others: "Please do not disturb, people are working here." Tape or pillows on the floor, for example, could serve as barriers.
  • If there are two of you working from home, divide and define clear times for childcare. If the weather is nice: Going for walks outside with your children is still possible. If the weather is bad: a brochure by "The safe house" campaign offers ideas for indoor games: https://das-sichere-haus.de/broschueren/sicher-gross-werden (German).

Stress and a hectic pace facilitate falls - the most common cause of accidents in home offices.

  • Make sure that cables from your PC, laptop, and printer are stowed away so that you cannot fall over them or get tangled up. Stick loose cables to the floor with wide adhesive tape.
  • Toys that are lying around quickly become a trip hazard. Encourage your children to play only in their own room, if possible.
  • Stop working if you want to cook and small children live in the household. Hot food left on the stove unattended is a serious source of danger.
  • Take adequate breaks and stretch. Oftentimes, improvised home office workplaces are not ergonomic.

Closure of kindergartens and schools

If kindergartens and schools are closed, there may be an increased need for childcare. If childcare (other than personally provided care) cannot be ensured, or if home-based forms of work such as telework or mobile work are not possible, the University of Oldenburg may grant paid special leave for civil servants on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the state’s special leave regulation (“Sonderurlaub unter Fortzahlung der Bezüge gemäß Nds. Sonderurlaubsverordnung”). For employees subject to collective bargaining agreements, paid leave may be granted in accordance with § 29 Para. 3 TV-L.

Please note that these leaves of absence are limited to a few days according to collective bargaining and public service law as well as the currently applicable case law. It remains to be seen whether new regulations will be issued if current circumstances persist.

If you are affected, please report to your superiors following the same procedures that apply in case of illness.

My nursery offers emergency care. Can the university support applications for an emergency childcare place?

Yes, please submit an application in any case if you need a childcare place for your child/children. The Department 1 Personnel/Organization will support you and will make every effort to ensure that your application is successful.

Health concerns

Pregnant employees and employees with health restrictions

Employees with health restrictions

For an individual assessment of any risks associated with working on campus, we recommend you consult your attending physician. Further measures may then be taken.

Pregnant and breastfeeding employees

On the basis of the available epidemiological data, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as well as the Committee for Biological Agents (ABAS) have provisionally classified SARS-CoV-2 as a risk group 3 pathogen under the Ordinance on Biological Agents (decision as of February 19, 2020). According to our current scientific understanding, the virus can be transmitted by inhaling aerosols and by contact with mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes). Exposure to these bio-substances may present a risk for pregnant women and nursing mothers at the university.

In order to protect employees and/or students who are pregnant or nursing, the University of Oldenburg issued a directive in March prohibiting them from entering the university, its buildings, and facilities.

Other protections granted by the university to expectant and nursing mothers ("Mutterschutz") are not affected by this and remain in effect.

The regulations on working remotely from home may be applied as long as it is possible and expedient for the employee to do so without entering the university.

At her own request and her own risk, a pregnant or nursing employee may enter the university, its buildings, and facilities for a maximum of 1 hour per week in order to complete work that cannot be postponed and/or is urgently required. Entry bans (e.g. for laboratories) specified in the risk assessment remain valid.

Employees must inform their supervisor prior to their stay on campus. Supervisors must ensure that hygiene requirements are observed and protective measures based on the risk assessment for special operations under SARS-CoV-2 conditions at the University of Oldenburg are implemented.

This provision has been extended and is valid until further notice.

Oldenburg, May 8, 2020

May I be absent from work to avoid getting infected on the way to work or through contacts at work?

The fear of being infected with the coronavirus at work or on the way to work is understandable, but does not entitle employees to be absent from work, according to current risk assessments.

I commute to work and rely on public transportation. May I stay at home to minimize the risk of infection?

Due to the relatively low prevalence of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, there are currently no bans on using public transportation. Aside from that, employees generally bear the risk of travelling to work and are responsible for reaching their place of employment safely.

I have immunocompromised or chronically ill relatives at home. Can I work from home?

For the protection of your relatives, you should exercise the same caution you would during flu season. Other than that, there is no higher risk of infection in a work environment than in private life. The fear of being infected with the coronavirus at work or on the way to work is understandable, but does not entitle employees to be absent from work, according to current risk assessments.

V. Travel

I am currently planning a business trip. What do I have to consider?

International business trips are not permitted; previous approvals are revoked. Only well-founded, indispensable business travel may be approved.

Within Germany, only indispensable business travel, ideally avoiding public transportation, will be approved.

I am currently planning a private trip to a particularly affected country. What do I have to consider?

Regulation issued by the responsible ministries:

We expressly warn against planned or booked holiday travel to a particularly affected country or area listed in travel advisories issued by the RKI or AA. These travel warnings must be observed.

Note under public service law (“dienstrechtlicher Hinweis”): Undertaking holiday travel which leads to an infection with the coronavirus may constitute a breach of the employee's obligation under public service law; failure to maintain good health may result in disciplinary action (“Verstoß gegen die beamtenrechtliche Pflicht zur Gesunderhaltung”).

Note for employees subject to collective agreements (“Tarifbeschäftigte”): employees bear the sole risk (e.g. illness, local quarantine measures, obstacles to return travel) associated with visiting an affected country or area listed in travel advisories issued by the RKI or AA.

I am back from an affected area and am already in domestic quarantine as a precaution. First symptoms of illness are developing - what do I have to do?

For further clarification, please contact your general practitioner exclusively by telephone. Outside of regular consultation hours you can contact the on-call medical service of the city of Oldenburg:
Phone: 0441 75053 (Oldenburg)
Phone: 116 117 (nationwide)

I am a student at the University of Oldenburg, am currently abroad and won't be able to return due to travel restrictions. What should I do?

Please send an e-mail to studium@uol.bjqhdeyut6i describing your situation and your specific concerns (e.g. failure to attend scheduled examinations). Don't forget to include your matriculation number.

I am a student at the University of Oldenburg and would like to terminate a semester abroad. Is that possible? Will examinations and internships still take place?

Please write an e-mail to studium@uol.de describing your situation and adding any questions you may have regarding the continuation of your studies at the University. Don't forget to include your matriculation number.

VI. Events

Dealing with public events at the university

All conferences, workshops, or any other public events at the University of Oldenburg are suspended (on campus and in other locations).

 

What about committee and other work meetings?

At present, in reduced operation, no committee meetings may be held in attendance.Whether they can be held via video conference instead will be decided shortly.

VII. Health & hygiene

Infection risks

Who is considered a contact person with a higher risk of infection?

Anyone who has had contact with a sick person at least two days before that person began experiencing symptoms is considered a contact person. Contact persons have a higher risk of falling ill themselves if

  • they came in direct contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes, e.g. during a conversation.
  • they came in direct contact with an infected person's secretions or bodily fluids, e.g. during kissing or coughing.
  • they work in the medical field or nursing and, without wearing protective gear, came within less than 2 meters of an infected person, e.g. during an exam.
  • they traveled on an air plane with an infected person, but only if 1) they sat in the same row or up to 2 rows in front of or behind the infected person (regardless of the flight's duration) or 2) they were among the crew or other passengers, e.g. after a longer conversation.

Can imported goods, objects, packaging (cardboard boxes, envelopes) from regions where the disease is widespread be a source of human infection?

Based on the transmission pathways identified so far and the relatively low environmental stability of coronaviruses, it is unlikely, according to the current scientific consensus, that imported goods such as food, consumer goods, toys, tools, computers, clothing, or shoes could be a source of infection with the novel coronavirus. (BfR)

Can the virus spread from pets to humans?

There has not yet been any evidence of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreading from humans to their pets and vice versa. Therefore, no special protection for dogs or cats is necessary.

The Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs BLV of Switzerland has provided information on this (German, French and Italian).

The WHO gives the following answer to this question:

Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?

"No. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19."

How can I protect myself from infection?

Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is the foundation of personal hygiene. The Robert Koch Institute has published an information sheet on this subject (German).

Disinfecting your hands is only useful and necessary in specific cases, such as when handling potentially infectious material.

How should people behave if they are at a higher risk of the disease progressing severely (e.g. in case of a preexisting condition, a suppressed immune system, ...)?

It is particularly important to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible, for example by following the general guidelines (washing hands, keeping distance from sick people) and other measures to reduce contact.
Educating vulnerable individuals about the disease's clinical characteristics is also important, as it can help them recognize symptoms early. Infected persons should contact their family practitioner or other medical counselling services by telephone as soon as possible.

The RKI has published information specifically for higher-risk groups (German). 

Symptoms & quarantine

I feel sick and I'm showing symptoms such as fever, dry cough, and fatigue - what should I do?

For further diagnosis, please contact your general practitioner exclusively by telephone. Outside of regular consultation hours, you can contact the on-call medical service of the City of Oldenburg:
Phone: 116 117 (nationwide)

Further steps for:

  • Employees: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform your superior and Division 1 (Dezernat 1) by telephone or e-mail.
  • Students: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728).

You can find the InfoLine Studium service hours at https://uol.de/dezernat3/infoservice.

I have come in contact with people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus but are not showing any symptoms. What should I do?

Contact persons are people who came in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within two days of that person first showing symptoms.

The Robert Koch Institute divides the risk of infection associated with physical contact into different categories and provides corresponding behavioral guidelines (German). 

If one of these scenarios applies to you, please contact the University of Oldenburg immediately.

  • Employees: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform your supervisor and Division 1 (Dezernat 1) by telephone or e-mail.
  • Students: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728).

I have been officially ordered to self-isolate. Who do I contact? What are the next steps?

  • Employees: Employees who have been officially ordered to self-isolate should contact their respective superior by telephone or e-mail. Employees who cannot come to the university due to isolation measures will continue to receive their salary or remuneration regardless. They should inform Division 1 (Dezernat 1) via their superior. Whether it is practical and legally permissible for an affected individual to carry out official duties from home will be reviewed in this context as well.
  • Students: Students who have been officially ordered to self-isolate should contact the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728). The university will ensure that these students do not suffer any negative consequences.

 

Who issues quarantine orders?

In accordance with the Infection Protection Act ("Infektionsschutzgesetz"), state health authorities may order and organize quarantine measures. The Infection Protection Act authorizes state health authorities, among other things, to order persons to shelter in place or to not enter certain premises until necessary protective measures have been taken (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community).

What happens if someone violates a quarantine order?

Quarantine orders are enforced by the local police authorities.

According to § 74 of the German Infection Protection Act (IfSG), anyone who commits an intentional act described in § 73 section 1, or section 1a numbers 1 to 7, 11 to 20, 22, 22a 23, or 24 IfSG, and thereby spreads a disease or pathogen mentioned in § 6 section 1 sentence 1 number 1 IfSG or a pathogen mentioned in § 7 IfSG will be punished with up to five years of imprisonment or a fine.

 A new reporting ordinance ("CoronaVMeldeV") came into force on Februrary 1, 2020. As a result, Covid-19 now falls under the reporting obligation of § 6 section 1 sentence 1 number 1 and § 7 section 1 sentence 1 of the IfSG.

(Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Community)

Hygiene measures

Current decrees and general ordinances concerning the actions taken by the state government of Lower Saxony

In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, the government of Lower Saxony is rapidly implementing the recommendations of its crisis management team. In doing so, it is closely following the guidelines issued by the federal government and the heads of state governments for combating the corona epidemic. Here you will find a chronological overview of all regulations issued in Lower Saxony to manage the corona pandemic:

https://www.niedersachsen.de/Coronavirus/erlasse-und-allgemeinverfuegung/erlasse-und-allgemeinverfuegung-185856.html (German)

What is the correct use of disinfectants?

Disinfectants can be used to reduce the number of pathogens in the environment or on hands and skin. However, you need to consider whether the use of disinfectants is actually necessary, which disinfectants should be used, and how to apply them correctly.

Why doesn't the university provide any disinfectants?

Disinfectants are only effective if selected and applied properly. If used incorrectly, disinfectants may even cause pathogens to grow resistant to the active ingredients. Not every disinfectant is effective against every pathogen. Choosing appropriately is crucial. Disinfectants are often used incorrectly (e.g. application time is not taken into account), so that in the worst case they do not have the desired effect and give users a false sense of security.

If the basic rules of general hygiene are observed, e.g washing hands thoroughly and sneezing into the crook of the arm rather than one's hands, there is no need to use hand disinfectants in daily life.

The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) has published further information on this (German).

May I use privately purchased hygiene products in my workplace at the university?

If privately purchased hygiene products (e.g. disinfectants, liquid soaps, etc.) are used at the University and are made available to the general public, please ensure that they are only used in their original packaging with the official labelling intact.
Missing or inadequate labelling can cause serious harm to human health (e.g. poisoning, allergies).

May I use homemade disinfectant?

The WHO has issued instructions on how to make disinfectant. However, we advise against passing on homemade disinfectant to third parties, since this is not a certified production process (as is usually the case for these products). Their effectiveness and safety in humans has not been sufficiently established. In the worst case,  homemade disinfectant could be hazardous to one's health (e.g. allergies, skin and respiratory tract damage).

At this time, however, there is no evidence that would speak against using such products as a surface disinfectant.

Does it make sense for the general public to wear a face mask?

The most important and effective measures for protecting yourself as well as others from infection with pathogens causing respiratory tract infections are proper coughing and sneezing, good hand hygiene, and keeping a distance (approx. 1 to 2 metres) from persons suspected of being ill. However, these measures are recommended anywhere and at all times during flu season.

If a person suffering from an acute respiratory tract infection has to be in public, he or she may wear a face mask (e.g. a surgical mask) in order to reduce the risk of infecting others through droplets produced when coughing or sneezing (third-party protection).

For optimum effectiveness, it is important that the face mask fits correctly. It must be worn tightly and changed when it becomes wet. It should not be repositioned (even unintentionally) while it is being worn. Ask a healthcare professional to advise you on whether you should wear a mask, which mask is suitable for you, and how to put on or change the mask correctly.

On the other hand, there is not sufficient evidence that wearing a face mask reduces the risk of infection for a healthy person wearing it. According to the WHO, wearing a mask in situations where it is not recommended may create a false sense of security. This can lead individuals to neglect key hygiene measures such as good hand hygiene. Further information can be found on the BZgA's website (German).

How do I disinfect my computer or laptop?

Wipe down the surfaces of the mouse and keyboard with commercially available moist disinfecting cloths or with a soft, lint-free cloth (e.g. microfibre cloth) slightly moistened with disinfectant. Switch off the device (laptops unplugged etc.) before disinfecting and make sure that no liquid enters the casing during the process.
Pay attention to dangers caused by electrical current!

General information

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provides ongoing information on the situation as it develops. Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found there as well.

The Federal Foreign Office issues current travel warnings and an information sheet on the coronavirus.

The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) provides information for the general population on its website.

The Occupational Medical Service (BAD) of the University of Oldenburg has released a current information leaflet on the subject.

General information is also published by the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony.

English information: WHO travel advice for international traffic in relation to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV and Q&A on coronaviruses. 

Webmaavahst2s5er869+9 (christi51ian.akgrenk66en@uol.de) (05/29/2020)