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Was the Switch to Digital Successful? – A Stocktaking

May 5th, 2022 | by
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The breakout of the corona pandemic has presented us with new challenges not only in our private and professional lives, but also in the organisation and the conduct of teaching and research. There was a considerable, albeit unplanned surge in digitalisation. The RDM Team at RWTH Aachen University also had to adapt and make adjustments, especially with regard to events and workshops. Meanwhile, two years have passed and it is time to take stock. Was the changeover successful?

From Presence to Digital – Together in Front of the Screens

Face-to-face events were not possible during the peak of the pandemic. A lot therefore had to take place digitally. The monthly meeting of the RDM network, which was still in its infancy at the time, was affected, as was the workshop on Research Data Management (RDM II) – both events that focus on interaction and promote exchange among participants and with the RDM team. However, those responsible managed to use the advantages of digitality to their advantage. Thus, quick surveys, joint and parallel work on the Miro board and undisturbed group work in breakout sessions have become indispensable. The new training format FDM II-modular (only in German) on focus topics in research data management now expands the range of interactive online workshops.

Expansion of the Digital Educational Offer

Even before Corona, the RDM Team had planned to expand the digital educational offer. For the winter semester 2019/20, a Moodle self-study course was offered in parallel to the attendance course “Research Data Management – an Overview (RDM I)”, so that everyone can get started regardless of time. The Corona crisis has accelerated this process and driven it forward. Digital courses for Git and GitLab have also been added.

The course Einstieg in die Versionsverwaltung mit Git und Gitlab (only in German) was previously part of the blended learning concept for the workshop “Management wissenschaftlicher Quellcodes und anderer Forschungsdaten – Grundlagen der Versionsverwaltung mit Git und GitLab“ (only in German) which is not offered online during Corona. In addition, two game-based in-depth courses were developed. One is the Git Scavenger Hunt – eine Schnitzeljagd mit Git (only in German), in which Git commands are trained and the workflows are learned, and WordGuess – ein kollaboratives Spiel mit Git und GitLab (only in German), which is based on the game idea of Just One. The great advantage of the new digital offers is above all the high flexibility. It is no longer necessary to keep a specific date free. Moreover, those interested in the courses have the possibility to participate from anywhere – as long as one has internet access. The only disadvantage is that excuses like “no time” or “too much traffic” no longer count.

The Digital Conversion – A Big Success

Corona was and still is a challenge. With the establishment of digital training courses and the implementation of interactive online events, the RDM Team at RWTH Aachen University looks back on the pandemic period with great success.

The Corona-driven digitalisation push has permanently changed the way of working, so now, with the return to a new normality, it is important to combine the best of digital and presence formats in order to offer RWTH Aachen University a suitable and contemporary range of information, further education and exchange on Research Data Management.

Learn more

If you have any questions about Research Data Management in general, feel free to write the ServiceDesk. The RDM team looks forward to hearing from you. For more information on RDM, please visit the RWTH websites.



Responsible for the content of this article are Sophia Nosthoff and Ute Trautwein-Bruns.

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