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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digitalization and strategic development of German universities



In: Desnos, J.-F., Yahyapour, R. & Vogl, R. (Hrsg) (2022). Proceedings of EUNIS 2022 – The 28th International Congress of European University Information Systems, vol. 86, pp. 87-94.


Maren Lübcke, Elke Bosse, Astrid Book, Klaus Wannemacher, Harald Gilch


The HIS-Institute of Higher Education Development (HIS-Institut für Hochschulentwikclung e. V.) conducted a nationwide survey among Higher Education leaders about the extent to which the push for digitalization at German higher education institutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic has promoted strategic engagement with digitalization and how such experiences have been integrated into concepts for the future of teaching and learning. The findings show that the effects of the pandemic are most evident in the digitalization of teaching formats, while many infrastructural and technical developments had already been initiated before the pandemic and were at most accelerated. When the COVID-19-related developments of digitalization are analyzed with regard to structural characteristics of the HEIs represented in the sample, it becomes apparent that there are no fundamental differences between universities and universities of applied sciences. Only the universities of arts and music are distinguished by the fact that the pandemic-related changes are generally smaller and fewer innovations are to be expected after the pandemic. The range of disciplines of the HEIs also proves to be relevant when comparing HEIs with and without STEM subjects, as the former group shows a significantly greater dynamic of change. Last but not least, differences can also be found with regard to the existence of a digitalization strategy. Universities with a digitalization strategy not only have a head start in terms of experience, since they already offered online teaching or hybrid formats before the pandemic. Rather, they have changed their teaching and examination formats particularly extensively in the course of the pandemic and are planning to a greater extent to use instruments and formats for digital teaching in the future.

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