The state of Lower Saxony has announced a funding line as part of the project "OER for Higher Education - Promoting the Creation, Maintenance and Expansion of Open Educational Resources at Lower Saxony's Universities". In this funding line, selected applications receive project funding for a period of 18 months for the creation and expansion of free teaching and learning materials (OER). Such OER can be of a very different nature - individual visualizations, videos, podcasts, scripts, course materials or complete lectures.
Lower Saxony's project supports the development of a portal for free educational materials for university teachers. The funding envisions that resources will be available to university teachers to enable the creation of free OER as well as the development of already existing materials in different subjects. As an impulse generator and start-up funding, the program also aims to promote greater networking of OER-based teaching, with the goal of establishing an OER Portal Lower Saxony and to fill it with content. In the long term, the materials are supposed to become part of the teaching offered by the universities and thus be subject to constant further development. The Ministry of Science and Culture is providing 1.25 million euros for this project.
For university graduates, interdisciplinary qualifications such as intercultural and diversity-related skills are becoming increasingly important. They must be able to act successfully, effectively and without conflict in our highly diverse society, especially in the globalized world of work. In order to prepare students for the world of work, the development of intercultural and diversity-related key competencies is often embedded in teaching. To date, these key competencies have been developed primarily through experiential training or projects that allow for a high level of face-to-face interaction and personal exchange. However, in the current pandemic, many existing formats cannot be implemented as planned. Furthermore, there is general growing need for flexibility of study location and times.
Due to this, micro-interventions can create new formats and opportunities to gain experience in dealing with other cultures and diversity in the digital space. Micro-interventions are short (5- 20 minutes) digital training units that address affective, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of learning content and therefore effectively develop competencies.
Based on the didactic PITT model (Hoberg, 1988), short, self-contained training sequences and case studies will be implemented digitally. First, an affective learning experience is created in order to sensitize for the topic of the micro-intervention. Afterwards there will be a transfer of knowledge, followed by elements of interaction, which pursue behavioral and affective goals. The focus is on contextualizing the learning content. Like this, micro-interventions take a holistic approach in developing students' skills, supported by their own simulated experience and immersion. These standardized micro-trainings allow skills to be explicitly trained and practiced, while engagement with case studies promotes the development of implicit attitudes. In this way, intercultural and diversity competencies are further integrated into teaching regardless of space and time. Likewise, the interventions can be used to accompany student groups with specific support needs in their studies (e.g. international students).
The applicant, Prof. Dr. Genkova, is a professor of business psychology (W2) at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, where she holds seminars and lectures on topics including diversity and intercultural business psychology.
In addition to her teaching activities, Prof. Dr. Genkova has been working on or leading research projects for almost thirty years. Her main focus is on in-depth research on intercultural competence and communication, as well as on the topic of diversity.
The applicant Prof. Dr. Karsten Müller is Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology with a focus on Intercultural Business Psychology at the University of Osnabrück. In addition to his teaching activities, Prof. Dr. Müller acts as a consultant in numerous international organizational diagnosis and development projects. His research focuses on cross-cultural comparisons of work attitudes, job satisfaction and commitment as well as methods of business psychology.
In addition, the project is integrated into the structures of the University of Osnabrück (UOS) and the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (HOS) on several levels during its development, implementation and evaluation.
In particular, the Bachelor's program in Business Psychology, the Center for International Students, the Competence Center Global Competence, the LearningCenter as well as the certificate course Diversity and Diversity Management of the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences help the applicants to realize the project.
The University of Osnabrück also participates in "Ready for a Colorful World" as a cooperating partner. In particular, the International Office, the Career Service, the LehrKolleg, the Master's program in Intercultural Psychology, the Service Center Teaching Evaluation, the Summer School "Intercultural Competencies", the further education program for Intercultural Trainers, as well as the Center for Digital Teaching, Campus Management and University Didactics (virtUOS) support the research project.
Furthermore, the project is supported by the scientific assistants Marisa Neul and Marina Schefer.