Closed borders and working from home: What is the future of cross-border projects on the European Campus during the Corona crisis? In this series we are asking researchers and teachers about the effects of the crisis on their bi- or trinational cooperation.

Instruction at universities has been severely affected by the corona crisis and the measures taken to contain the virus. Lectures, seminars, workshops, practical exercises are no longer allowed to be held in person. How are the instructors dealing with the situation? Elena Makarova, Professor of Educational Sciences at the University of Basel, is investigating this very question.

Prof. Makarova, You have initiated a study on the impact of the crisis on teaching. What is your central question?
Prof. Elena Makarova: In our comparative study, we want to examine how university lecturers mastered the transition from conventional teaching arrangements to online teaching after the corona virus-induced lockdown and what organizational and didactic challenges they faced in this process. The country comparison is very exciting in that the lecturers of the participating universities were in the same situation. They had to, so to speak from one day to the next, immediately convert and adapt their teaching to digital channels. Now we would like to find out how these challenges were overcome and to what extent this will shape university teaching in the short and long term.

How was the study enriched by the involvement of the partners of Eucor – The European Campus?
Makarova: The study was initiated by a team of researchers from universities in Argentina, Germany, Israel, USA and Switzerland. Since we at the Institute for Educational Sciences at the University of Basel already have collaborations with the School of Education at the “Freiburg Advanced Center of Education” (FACE) in the area of promoting young talent, we already had relations with colleagues on the European Campus before. Within the framework of this scientific connection, joint conferences have already been organized and new events have been planned. These existing collaborations gave rise to asking the researchers from the European Campus to work with us in our comparative study. I was particularly pleased about the commitments made by colleagues from the universities of Haute-Alsace and Strasbourg! The more countries and institutions we can include in the study, the more comprehensive our results will be. Moreover, it will enable us to better empirically substantiate statements on the generalizability of our findings. Apart from the benefits for the study, I hope that this research collaboration will lead to a long-term relationship with the educational and didactic departments of the universities on the European Campus, which will mutually enrich our work in the areas of research and teaching.

Do you think the changes in teaching will continue to have an effect after the crisis? And can the crisis also become a driver for more cross-border or international teaching?
Makarova: Our study will be able to provide well-founded answers to precisely such questions based on data from several countries. Personally, I think that the crisis has certainly given an impetus to the professional development of university lecturers in the field of digital teaching, which will be of a sustainable nature. Our study shows that international relations have also been promoted in this context. Of course, university teaching also benefits from it.