Contemporary universities are no longer places of teaching but institutions of shared learning experiences for future careers. The traditional role as teaching institutions or the function of lecturers and professors as instructors has become more and more obsolete. Teaching staff at universities no longer presents abstract truth and knowledge – as was still the case in the second half of the 20th century – but facilitate a process of self-capacity and knowledge building for each individual student.
In this context. I see myself first and foremost as a facilitator of such capacity-building processes. In the contemporary learning environment by far more information than a student will ever need is available and at reach within seconds. My role as a teacher is to guide research and information selection processes to enable student’s differentiation of relevant and irrelevant materials as well as the translation of abstract information into concrete learning realities.
In my experience, students learn best through participative approaches, exchange of ideas and experiences as well as examples and problem-solving tasks which relate a theoretical concept to concrete examples. I aim to conduct my courses as close as possible to the professional realities which students aim to enter to transport competence, motivation and self-assurance for their future endeavours. I also often rely on team work experiences, knowing that in their future careers students will approach most tasks as interdisciplinary teams.
The success of learning can hence not be measured in abstract knowledge which is reproduced in a written exam but by a student’s ability to respond to a given task or problem in a methodologically sound, confident, reliable but creative fashion. Learning success for me is achieved, when I start learning from the critique students have become able to provide to each other and last but not least to myself.
Britta Rudolff, interim Chair of Cultral Heritage Management