UNIT Coronavirus Updates

On this site, the University IT keeps you up to date about the measures currently taken to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on university operations.

We are investing all our efforts into establishing and expanding our digital services. This is not only to compensate for the canceled on-campus classes in the form of digital teaching formats, but also to enable all our employees who are currently operating from home to keep on working together as well as possible. The university-wide transition to digital teaching poses a great challenge to our technical systems, which had previously not been designed to cope with such a load. Moreover, it is not possible yet to predict how the current situation will unfold nationwide, and what effects this will have on our national network infrastructure. We would therefore like to ask you to use resources as economically as possible. Please primarily use screen shots enriched with audio content, and only use them in reduced quality (not HD). And use virtual classrooms only where absolutely necessary.

We are sure you understand our position in this situation and would like to thank you for your kind cooperation. We are dedicating all our efforts to finding fast solutions and supporting you wherever we can.

Updates

We frequently keep you up to date on the latest developments. Below you can read up on all our updates in chronological order.

  • October 23, 2020

    Zoom licenses for adjunct lecturers and doctoral students
    As of now, adjunct lecturers and doctoral students can use the personal Zoom licenses for employees, regardless of their status as employee. However, adjunct lecturers may only use the Zoom rooms that can be booked via Portal² for their regular classes and must only use their personal Zoom licenses for consultation hours or similar.

    ILIAS Performance
    The University IT replaced the infrastructure of the learning platform ILIAS almost completely. This is the foundation for simple scaling and is already positively affecting the performance of the entire system. We are monitoring the system closely and are working on fur-ther improvements.

  • September 24, 2020

    Online Attendance Tracking with Checkin

    Checkin is an application for online attendance tracking in lecture halls and seminar rooms. If you take part in an on-campus class, you need to register with https://checkin.uni-mannheim.de before you enter the room.

    In addition, Checkin allows students to easily search for free work spaces in empty rooms on campus.

    We are currently in the process of creating instructions on how to use Checkin and will publish the instructions on instructions/checkin when the semester starts.

  • September 10, 2020

    Digital teaching in the fall semester

    Teaching only in central Zoom rooms / 195 rooms available:
    In order to be able to collect information on all courses in one place and to offer students an overview about all courses, we urge you to hold virtual classes in the fall semester 2020/2021 only in the central Zoom rooms on Portal². 

    To avoid a shortage of rooms, we now have 195 Zoom rooms available for digital teaching which can be booked on Portal². Four of these rooms are audimax rooms for up to 1,000 participants. You can now book the Zoom rooms for your courses for the fall semester which starts on 28 September.

    More protection against Zoom bombing:
    In order to protect central Zoom rooms against unwanted participants (so-called Zoom bombing), you need a password to join a Zoom session. Please find further information on https://www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/coronavirus/#c208426. During the semester, we will implement additional security measures. You will receive additional information on these measures in due time.

    Rooms for hybrid classes:
    On campus, about 16 rooms with the technical equipment required for hybrid classes are available. Even more rooms with the relevant equipment will be available when the lecture period starts. An overview on these rooms and additional information can be found on: https://ilias.uni-mannheim.de/goto.php?target=pg_7546_1017739&client_id=ILIAS.

    Zoom licenses for all employees

    Since many of you are using Zoom not only for teaching but also for research purposes and other meetings, the President’s Office has decided to procure campus licenses for the fall semester 2020/2021 and the spring semester 2021. We can now provide all staff members with their personal Zoom license. The campus licenses comply with data protection law and are for your personal use. Due to the aforementioned reasons, we ask you to refrain from using your personal license for conducting virtual courses.

    Zoom terms of use and data protection

    Many teachers have asked us questions about using Zoom for courses. The President's Office discussed these questions in detail. We wanted to continue to offer our teachers flexibility for courses while addressing potential data protection issues. We agreed on the following guidelines:

    • During virtual lectures or courses of a similar nature, students are not obliged to enable video and sound transmission and may use a pseudonym to participate. Such courses may also be recorded.
    • In courses where interaction is crucial, it may be mandatory for students to enable video and sound transmission and to use their real names - for example, if the students’ active participation is relevant for exams. Recording these courses is not permitted.
    • Events or meetings where personal data requiring special protection are discussed (e.g. job interviews, candidate lectures, oral examinations) may only be held on Zoom, if there is no suitable alternative or if the affected person (student, applicant, etc.) expressly asks for Zoom.   

    We want to support you while dealing with the many questions on using Zoom. The Educational Development Center and UNIT have drafted detailed Terms of Use as well as recommendations and information for different user groups (Hosting, Participating, Settings). We kindly ask you to read this information carefully.

  • September 1, 2020

    Virtual computing labs

    Since September 1, 2020, we offer students virtual computing labs in addition to the public computing labs which students can use for training. This way, all students of the University of Mannheim can now work with subject-specific software and popular office applications. All information on the virtual computing labs can be found in the Instructions.

    Since the on-campus operations are still restricted, only the public computing labs in A 5, 6 are currently open. It now possible to check online whether free spaces are available in these rooms. You will find the link to check if free spaces are available under the relevant room in the computing lab list. The link to check if free spaces are available can only be accessed from the university network or with an active VPN connection.

  • August 27, 2020

    Additional Security Options for Zoom

    Since classes and meetings in the fall semester will be mainly held digitally, the University IT is doing its best to stabilize and optimize the IT services introduced for this purpose. In online teaching and when digitally communicating  with non-university members, the video conference service Zoom has become an essential tool which the employees of the University of Mannheim will continue to be able to use.

    Zoom has initially been criticized for security issues. The software company has reacted quickly and improved its product. In contract negotiations with Zoom we were also able to negotiate configurations which enable additional security options.

    On September 1, 2020, the following changes are implemented:

    • Password-protected rooms
      All rooms in Zoom which are booked via Portal² will be password-protected. You can find the password in the link which is generated upon booking of the room and made available to the participants.
      Please note: For rooms which have already been booked a new link with a password is created after the changes have been implemented on September 1, 2020. Please check the link in Portal² prior to your event and forward the link to the participants.
    • Terms of use
      To access the link to a Zoom room, you have to agree to the terms of use. The request to agree to the terms of use including a link to those terms is shown in the room information. The link to the room is only available after you agreed to the terms of use. Please add the link to the terms of use when sending the link to the room to the participants in your meeting.
    • New host key
      The six-digits key which the host of the event has to enter when logging in will change. You can find the new key in the ILIAS course “Digitalisierung in der Lehre” (Digitalization of teaching) or request it from the IT Support.
    • Security option for presentations
      Only the host is able to make annotations of presentations, such as mark-ups or drawings.
       

    The new configurations are implemented on the above-mentioned date during normal operations without any downtime. On 1 September, 11 a.m., a new version of the Zoom instructions will be available under instructions/Zoom as well as in the ILIAS course „Digitalisierung in der Lehre“ (Digitalization of teaching).

    InfoCenter opens again from August 31, 2020

    The InfoCenter, the central contact point in Schloss Schneckenhof Süd, will also be carrying out its advisory services on site again from 31.8.2020. University members and external visitors with and without ecUM can visit the InfoCenter for advice

    Monday to Friday
    10 a.m. - 2 p.m.


    Please make an appointment in advance online.

  • June 29, 2020

    After the State representative for data protection of Baden-Württemberg (Landesbeauftrager für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (LfDI)) critized Zoom sharply for security vulnerabilities, the company reacted and improved its software. In the meantime, several updates have been implemented which ensure secure data handling. The LfDI then officially revoked the warning against using Zoom.

  • June 22, 2020

    Zoom data center in Europe

    The centrally procured Zoom licenses now allow for the selection of specific data centers for data in transit. The University of Mannheim selected servers in the European Economic Area for data in transit meaning that connection data and meeting traffic stay within the EU.

  • June 5, 2020

    Plagiarism detection software

    The campus licenses for the plagiarism detection software Urkund are now available. Introductory online seminars in German and English have been organized. We have sent out emails with the dates and the required access information. Additional training materials can be found on ILIAS in the future.

    The software Turnitin which some schools have already used is still available. We intend to integrate Turnitin in ILIAS as soon as possible to replace the manual plagiarism detection process.

  • May 26, 2020

    Urkund

    The President's Office has decided to procure the plagiarism detection software Urkund for campus-wide use to support the upcoming examination period. The software has already been procured and is currently being configured.

  • May 25, 2020

    Digital examinations

    Since May 25, 2020, digital examinations are held mostly as open-book examinations or as oral examinations.  Since then, the ILIAS examination instance newly introduced for this purpose has been tested thoroughly, by load testing as well as by test exams and final examinations and has proven that its capacity is sufficient. For this, the system has been allocated extensive system resources and is permanently supervised. In addition, we supported the written exams in close cooperation with HDZ and the Student Services in order to use the insights for improving the system and/or the templates as soon as possible.

  • May 14, 2020

    Turnitin

    For the plagiarism detection software Turnitin already used by the university a manual process is used to detect plagiarism in exams. We intend to integrate the software in ILIAS as soon as possible.

  • May 13, 2020

    The drastic increase in active courses with video streams and downloads on our e-learning platform ILIAS required an increase in storage space. The storage space allocated to ILIAS was increased by 1 Terabyte on Tueday, May 12, 2020. The increase of storage space was implemented during normal operations without any downtime.

  • May 12, 2020

    Web conference system BigBlueButton

    The video conference solution BigBlueButton is now available for confidential meetings of small groups.

    Since the beginning of May, oral examinations at the University of Mannheim can already take place via BigBlueBotton. Now we have an additional instance for all employees to be used for confidential meetings, e.g. advisory talks or job interviews or for meetings of search committees. For detailed instructions on how to use BigBlueButton, please go to https://www.uni-mannheim.de/it/anleitungen/bigbluebutton

  • May 8, 2020

    New Video “Securely Working from Home”

    As working from home continues to be the preferred option for university employees, it is necessary to set up a secure workspace in your private environment. Our information security team has compiled the most important things to bear in mind when working from home in a new video, which you can find here: https://www.uni-mannheim.de/en/informationssicherheit/coronavirus-home-office-security/#c188131

  • April 28, 2020

    Plagiarism detection software

    On the basis of the user survey from last week, the President's Office has decided to procure the plagiarism detection software Urkund.The University IT was tasked with concluding a one-year contract with the provider. The company is currently still working on an integration option for ILIAS, which should be available in June 2020. As soon as this is the case, we will integrate the software into our ILIAS instance to further facilitate your work. We will also examine an ILIAS integration for the plagiarism detection software Turnitin, which is already being used by some of the schools.

  • April 27, 2020

    Video conference solution BigBlueButton

    BigBlueButton is a video conference solution specifically intended for oral examinations. It is now available and will be put to use for the first time in the 18th calendar week. We intend to release the tool for everyone in the 19th calendar week. We are currently testing an additional BigBlueButton instance to be used by search committees and for job interviews. Depending on the test results, we might be able to release it for general use in the 19th or 20th calendar week. Corresponding documentation with a focus on oral examinations is already available. Further aspects will be added to the documentation in the next couple of days.

  • April 23, 2020

    Support and Premium Support between April 27 and May 3, 2020

    Until further notice, the University IT Support team will keep on working from home (presumably until May 3, 2020). At present, the majority of requests can be handled remotely (e.g. via TeamViewer). We regard this solution as necessary to protect our colleagues and staff, and kindly ask you to primarily use this offer. Please contact us if you require any further support services so that we can find individual solutions together.

    In case of requests, please contact the ServiceDesk by calling the hotline -2000 or writing an e-mail to itsupport(at)uni-mannheim.de.

    We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.

  • April 22, 2020

    Electronic invoices

    Unnoticed by many, the receipt of electronic invoices was activated for the University of Mannheim on April 18, 2020. This marks an important milestone in the project on introducing the ERechnung (e-invoicing). The next stage in the project will focus on implementing an entirely electronic workflow for the processing of invoices by September 2020.

  • April 20, 2020

    Camtasia licenses available

    The University IT has procured 50 licenses for the software Camtasia, which allows teachers to record course contents. The software is now being used by various chairs, who have given us positive feeback overall. There are currently still licenses available. To order a license, please fill out the form on the software procurement page and send it to software-beschaffung(at)uni-mannheim.de with the subject line “Camtasia Uni Lizenz - LS XXX” indicating your chair.

    Test lectures in Zoom

    To familiarize yourself with Zoom and find out how it works, you can make use of test classes. For each school or department, we have set up a course in Portal² that is independent from the semester. These test courses are called “ZOOM Testveranstaltung” and carry the abbreviation of the respective school or department. For further information, please read our Zoom instructions.

  • April 17, 2020

    Digital job interviews with DFNconf

    In order for departments to continue application processes that cannot be carried out in person on account of the current restrictions, the University IT recommends using DFNconf as a digital solution. The video conferencing tool by the German National Research and Education Network (DFN) has already previously been used for virtual meetings at the University of Mannheim. Please go to the official DFN homepage to find detailed instructions.

  • April 14, 2020

    Online information session “Digitalization in Teaching” for teachers and examiners

    In cooperation with Division II and the Department of Educational Development, the University IT will be offering online information sessions for teachers in Zoom starting next week. In these sessions, we will inform you of the latest developments in terms of holding exams in the spring semester 2020, didactics, technology and many other topics regarding digital teaching in this semester.

    During the session, all participants will have the possibility to ask questions using the chat function, which will either be answered directly or in the course forum after the session.

    The information session is only intended for teachers and examiners at the University of Mannheim who are already members of the ILIAS course “Digitalisierung in der Lehre” (Digitalization in teaching). More details about the planned sessions can be found in the ILIAS course.

  • April 8, 2020

    Zoom

    The software company has rectified the wrong allocation of Zoom licenses. All virtual classrooms now have a capacity of up to 300 participants. In addition, you now have the possibility of booking a room for very large courses and events (“Audimax”), which can hold up to 1,000 participants.

  • April 7, 2020

    Microsoft Teams

    Teams is temporarily available to all employees of the University of Mannheim and can be used for virtual meetings between individuals or small groups. Teams allows you to communicate via chat or audio and video conference.

    We have already sent you an e-mail with your individual login data for the installation. Please also follow all the instructions sent to your unit or institution separately via e-mail. For detailed instructions on how to use Teams, please go to www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/anleitungen/teams/

    Please observe the following security and data protection information:

    • As MS Teams only serves as a temporary solution, please make sure to only store data in the current instance if you have a backup, ideally on a storage system provided by the university.
    • The data are saved directly to the MS Cloud. Please do not upload any files containing confidential information or personal data.
    • If you are using the option to record lectures held as a video conference, please inform your course participants in advance and ask for everyone’s consent before starting the recording. We would generally advise you to only record a meeting if you see a specific didactic purpose in doing so. You should not record any online meetings in which you discuss university-internal information.

    Zoom

    The software Zoom can be used by all employees of the university to hold interactive classes and virtual meetings with non-university members. This is made possible through virtual rooms, which you can book via Portal² in the same way you book physical rooms at the university. For detailed instructions on how to use Zoom, please go to www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/anleitungen/zoom/.

    Secure use of Zoom

    In the last few days, several cases of security breaches concerning the use of Zoom have been reported. We are following this issue very closely and, as usual, making every effort to ensure that user data are only used to a minimal extent.

    We would like to reassure you that the Education solution employed by us is different from the free version that has recently been criticized, for instance in terms of the following:
    The assignment to our virtual rooms prevents users from having to verify their identity directly within the Zoom system. In addition, we have disabled the video recording option in the cloud. This means that teachers have control over their recordings at all times. Saving chat histories in Zoom is not possible either as we have deactivated the data transfer via Zoom as well. The data are exclusively made available via ILIAS. The cameras and microphones are deactivated by default so that teachers and users can actively decide whether or not to transmit their audio and video data. To find out more, please read the instructions provided on our website at www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/anleitungen/zoom/.

  • April 3, 2020

    eTutorials Digital Teaching & Examinations

    Two learning modules have been added to the ILIAS group “Digitalisierung in der Lehre” (Digitalization in teaching). The modules are about course evaluation (“Lehrveranstaltungsevaluation”) and about access to literature of the University Library („Zugang zum Literaturangebot der UB“). In addition, a new section on examinations (“Prüfungen”) has been set up and can now be used. We are currently drawing up recommendations on holding digital exams, and evaluating technical implementation options to this end.

    Plagiarism detection software

    To support teaching staff in holding the next examination period by means of electronic exams (especially for “OpenBook” exams), the President's Office has decided to procure the plagiarism detection software Turnitin. The campus agreement required for this is currently underway. We are also examining to what extent the software can be integrated into the e-learning platform ILIAS.

  • April 2, 2020

    Restrictions in using Zoom

    We would like to inform you that Zoom can currently only be used with restrictions. Unfortunately, the software company made a mistake in allocating the licenses correctly. This means that video conferences can currently only be hosted with 100 participants per virtual room instead of the 300 we had originally ordered. In addition, we are still waiting for the license for the “Audimax”, which can hold up to 1,000 participants. Zoom is working on a solution. We kindly ask for your patience and will inform you as soon as a solution has been found.

  • April 1, 2020

    Translation of Zoom and Teams instructions

    Our instructions on how to install and use MS Teams and Zoom are now also available in English.

    Zoom (Option 1 for e-teaching / meetings of university bodies / video conferences)

    100 virtual classrooms with a capacity of up to 300 participants per room are now available for use between the schools and the central university institutions. The classroom managers of the schools have already booked 450 courses for April. University-wide, there is now also a room for large-scale events and courses that can be attended by up to 1,000 participants. The room can be booked via Portal². Individual rooms have been specifically reserved and set up for university bodies to hold meetings, and can be booked accordingly. We are currently in the process of optimizing the configurations and documentation, which should for the most part be completed before Easter.

    Microsoft Teams (Option 2 for video conferences / student advising / bilateral and multilateral communication / small classes)

    After the first productive week of using the communication platform Teams, we have a clear picture of its strengths, which lie particularly in organizing video conferences and in the bilateral and multilateral communication between staff members and externals. However, we have identified weaknesses in the organization of classes. For the latter purpose, we strongly recommend using Zoom. Nevertheless, we are continuing our efforts to make it possible for you to hold classes in Teams in good quality.

    Video conference solution (Option 3 for smaller video conferences / oral examinations / digital job interviews)

    Last week, the put the product BigBlueButton into operation and started the beta phase. In testing, the product has proven to be stable. Nevertheless, we will have to carry out further quality assurance tests before the system can be made available for use with non-university members (for instance for oral exams or digital job interviews).In addition, we are planning to integrate the software into ILIAS in order to further simplify the application.

  • March 31, 2020

    Update on notebooks for administrative staff

    The university has ordered 30 additional notebooks for its administrative staff. These have now arrived and are being delivered to our staff since the beginning of the week, readily installed.

    Support

    The IT Support team has been expanded by additional staff from the University IT. The entire team has been trained in the application of Zoom and MS Teams. In addition, the Educational Development Center (HDZ) and UNIT have pooled their expertise and are now happy to assist teaching staff in the development of digital teaching offers under a joint e-mail address.

  • March 30, 2020

    Home office security

    While some employees are already familiar with working from home, others are suddenly faced with an entirely new situation. Our information security team has compiled important information and recommendations on how to set up a secure home office space and how to handle internal data appropriately.

    Increase of VPN connections

    We have doubled the number of VPN connections in order to provide employees working from home with a stable connection to the university network.

    The new hardware needed for this technical upgrade is now up and running.

    ILIAS update

    The free registration has been closed and is now access-restricted. This allows us to protect information about exams, which will soon also be published on the platform, from unauthorized access.

  • March 27, 2020

    Camtasia

    The University IT has procured 50 licenses for the software Camtasia, which allows teachers to record course contents. The licenses have now arrived and are available for use.

    Using Camtasia requires a certain level of experience in video editing. Moreover, we can currently only offer a limited number of licenses. For these reasons, we ask you to assess very carefully whether you actually need the software and to what extent you can use it, or whether other options (such as described under Lecture Recordings) may already be sufficient for you. Please understand that we can currently only grant one license per chair.

    To order a license, please fill out the form on the software procurement page and send it to software-beschaffung(at)uni-mannheim.de with the subject line “Camtasia Uni Lizenz - LS XXX” indicating your chair.

    Forum

    At present, we are all facing the enormous challenge of digitalizing our teaching operations. Within an extremely sport span of time, we have adapted and expanded our IT services accordingly. Our exchange platform on ILIAS offers teaching staff at the university a forum in which they can ask specific questions about using ILIAS, Teams and Zoom. This forum is jointly moderated by the University IT and the HDZ.

    Zoom

    The university has procured 100 Education licenses (for up to 300 participants), which teachers can now use. The licenses can be accessed via the new virtual classrooms in Portal². The virtual rooms have been set up according to school and are managed by the classroom managers of the schools. We are also planning to set up a university-wide room for large-scale lectures and events with up to 1,000 participants. The university is currently in the process of procuring a license for this purpose.

    Instructions on how to install and use Zoom are available on our website under “Anleitungen/Zoom.”

  • March 26, 2020

    Teams

    Microsoft Teams has been configured for direct use. All employees of the university have been sent an e-mail containing their individual login data as well as links to instructions, enabling them to use Teams for virtual communication with their colleagues. Instructions on how to install and use Microsoft Teams are available on our website under “Anleitungen/Teams.”

    Zoom

    We have received the licenses for Zoom and will inform you as soon as the software is ready to use. The university has also applied for an additional license for large courses and events with up to 1,000 participants.

  • March 25, 2020

    Exchange platform on ILIAS

    The exchange platform we announced last week has been set up. It is intended to be used for didactical and technical inquiries as well as questions regarding exams. Some content on didactics, equipment, and ILIAS tools has already been uploaded. The content will be expanded continuously over the next few days and weeks. Moreover, there is a forum where you can post your questions. In the long run, the platform is to become an exchange platform.

    Part of it is an ILIAS folder on “Prüfungen” (Examinations). In this folder, we intend to compile information about the individual forms of examination and possible alternative formats and enable you to exchange experiences. In the next two weeks, we are planning to open the individual forums step by step and always in connection with new information and experiences on the respective topic.

    To make sure that only teachers and examiners have access to this ILIAS course, you can register under the following link to be admitted to the course.

    https://ilias.uni-mannheim.de/goto.php?target=crs_980882_rcodeHKQXLWK9r3&client_id=ILIAS

    Information on course design and economical use of resources

    When designing your particular class, please consider carefully what kind of learning outcomes you are planning and then decide on the appropriate methods and the corresponding media you would like to use. For many learning outcomes, it is completely sufficient to simply provide reading lists, lecture scripts and tasks for self-study. Of course, recording videos for your lectures and the introduction of online seminar software for virtual seminars can also be useful.

    However, at present we cannot yet foresee whether the national network infrastructure will remain stable in the coming weeks. The statements given by Netflix and YouTube last week are an indication for the huge strain our infrastructure will be under due to the current situation. We also need to bear in mind that teaching operations at other higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg have not even started yet. Should they, too, offer their full curriculum in digital form, this could lead to network overloads.

    This will also affect the (interactive) courses you offer. We therefore ask you to take these issues into account when planning your course and to use as few resources as possible in the implementation. Please primarily use screen shots enriched with audio content and only use them in reduced quality (not HD). And use virtual classrooms only where absolutely necessary.

    Zoom

    Meanwhile, the University of Mannheim has procured a number of campus-wide ZOOM licenses. To make sure these licenses are used as efficiently as possible, we have decided to manage the use of the licenses in Portal².

    To this end, the ZOOM video conference rooms have been set up as virtual classrooms (“virtuelle Räume”) in Portal² (divided by school). Should you plan to hold a class virtually, you can request/book these rooms for a specific date in the same way you previously did for the physical rooms. To access the virtual classrooms on the ZOOM platform, please follow the link provided on the room schedule page in Portal². More information is available here: https://www.uni-mannheim.de/it/anleitungen/zoom

    Teams

    In addition to procuring the ZOOM licenses for digital teaching and learning, we have set up a separate Microsoft Teams instance in the last couple of days. Staff members will be sent their login data individually. You will receive an initial password, which you need to change after your first login.

    This cloud-based communication solution enables you to communicate virtually with individual people or small groups via chat or video/audio conference, and can also be used for digital consultation hours with your students.Further information as well as Microsoft Teams documentation can be found here: https://www.uni-mannheim.de/it/anleitungen/teams

    Please note: Microsoft Teams only serves as a temporary communication solution. It will gradually be transferred to the new Office365 environment which is to be set up over the course of the next year. However, it will not be possible to transfer any data during this migration. Therefore, it is important that you only store data in the currently used entity if you still have a backup (preferably on a storage system provided by the university).

    Recording lectures

    As an alternative to the solutions for “interactive teaching” listed above, there are also the solutions for lecture recording that we presented last week. You can find more information as well as possible teaching scenarios on ILIAS  or on the website under Lecture Recordings.

    Contacting the University IT / Educational Development Center and Support Inquiries

    Please contact our IT support via:  itsupport(at)uni-mannheim.de 

    We will categorize all inquiries received via this e-mail address and work on them successively. The University IT and the Educational Development Center are working on your inquiries together to guarantee a timely and qualified reply.

  • March 24, 2020

    Maintenance of staff mail server

    On Monday, March 30, 2020, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., we will carry out maintenance work on the mail server for staff members (staff.mail.uni-mannheim.de) in order to increase storage capacity. This measure is necessary due to the increase in e-mail traffic that is to be expected in light of the corona crisis.

    In this time frame, you will not be able to access your e-mails, neither via webmail nor via the e-mail client or Open Xchange.

    The webmail systems for professors and students are not affected by this.

    We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.

    VPN connections

    In order to allow even more employees to connect to the university network while working from home, we are in the process of doubling the number of VPN connections. The new hardware needed for this technical upgrade is now up and running.

  • March 20, 2020

    Notebooks for administrative staff

    To enable all administrative staff members to work from home, we are in the process of procuring 80 new notebooks. 60 of these have already been installed and delivered, the remaining 20 will arrive shortly.

  • March 19, 2020

    Bug on ILIAS now fixed

    Last Monday, the preparations of the e-learning platform ILIAS for the upcoming challenges caused a bug, which unfortunately took us until Wednesday to fix. We sincerely apologize to all those affected by the inconvenience. Since Wednesday, March 18, all ILIAS features are available again.

    We will continue to monitor our learning platform closely and frequently in order to be able to take immediate measures in the event of a system overload.

  • March 18, 2020

    Recording and providing course content

    To record course contents and provide them via the university learning platform ILIAS, you can choose between video and audio recordings. We have prepared three options for you, which are described in detail on the website indicated below. Some of them, particularly the MS PowerPoint recordings, can be implemented easily, even by laypersons working on their private computer.

    • Option A: Recorded slides (including audio content) with PowerPoint 365 or PowerPoint (versions 2013-2019; Windows, and macOS)
    • Option B: Screen shots (including audio and, if necessary, video content) with the operating system macOS Mojave and Catalina (macOS)
    • Option C: Screen shots (including audio or, if necessary, video content) with Camtasia or OBS Studio

    For pure audio recordings, the program Audacity is ideal, which also allows you to edit audio content.

    Tip: If the video files you have created are very large (>500 MB), it is absolutely necessary that you use the Handbrake application (https://handbrake.fr/) or reduce the resolution of the integrated video. In view of the unknown situation awaiting us in the near future, we recommend that you create the videos with a maximum resolution of 480p and in mp4 file format.

    Interactive teaching

    Due to the ongoing crisis situation, we are currently procuring licenses for the software ZOOM in order to support your digital teaching. Once we have procured these licenses, we will inform you promptly about the option of providing “virtual classrooms” in ZOOM. It is our goal to make ZOOM available by Wednesday, 25 March 2020. However, we are dependent on the software developer. If you are already using ZOOM at your chair, please continue to use it.

    We ask you to use resources as economically as possible when designing your teaching formats. Please primarily use screen shots enriched with audio content and only use them in reduced quality (not HD). And use virtual classrooms only where absolutely necessary.

    You can also create video and audio recordings yourself from home. Please find the according instructions here.

    Exchange platform on ILIAS

    Teaching and learning online differs in many ways from on-campus teaching operations. Technology must only be a means and resource to help students achieve their learning goals and successfully pass an exam. For this reason, an exchange platform will be provided for teachers on ILIAS, where didactic, technical, and examination-related questions will be dealt with in a first step. In future, it is intended to turn this platform into an exchange platform where you can share your ideas and network with each other. A direct link to the platform will be sent to all teaching staff members at the beginning of next week.

  • March 17, 2020

    Increase in VPN capacity

    To allow an even greater number of employees to access the university network from home, we are planning additional VPN access points.

    We will keep you updated on the latest developments.

  • March 13, 2020

    E-learning with ILIAS and Portal²

    In order to provide your students with learning materials and lecture recordings, you can use the e-learning platform ILIAS. For the moment, please refrain from uploading large, uncompressed video files. The ILIAS platform has not yet been adjusted to the new situation. We are working on achieving this over the course of the week.

    You can easily set up an ILIAS course via the course management in Portal². Users can easily join your course via Portal² and will be transferred to ILIAS automatically. Detailed instructions are available in Portal².

    In case you have not opened your course for students in Portal² yet, please go to Portal² to find further information (in German).

Service updates

Are you looking for updates in regard to a particular service? Below you can find more details about the setup and expansion of the individual digital services.

  • E-learning platform ILIAS

    In order to provide your students with learning materials and lecture recordings, you can use the e-learning platform ILIAS.

    You can easily set up an ILIAS course via the course management in Portal². Users can easily join your course via Portal² and will be transferred to ILIAS automatically. For detailed instructions please go to E-Learning (ILIAS) in Portal² (in German). In case you have not opened your course for students in Portal² yet, please go to Portal² to find further information (in German). 

    Find out more about how to record lectures under Lecture Recordings (in German).

    Examinations
    For open-book examinations and oral examinations a new ILIAS examination instance was introduced. For this, the system has been allocated extensive resources and is permanently supervised.

    Inquiry forum
    We would also like to inform you that we have a forum on the exchange platform, which teachers can use to ask specific questions about ILIAS, Teams and Zoom. This forum is jointly moderated by the University IT and the HDZ.

     

  • VPN access to the university network

    Use our VPN service to connect to the university network from home and to access your disc drives. To find step-by-step instructions, please click here. Please note that the instructions are currently only available in German.

    In order to allow even more employees to connect to the university network while working from home, we have increased the number of VPN connections significantly. 

  • Webmail program

    In order to be prepared for the increase in e-mail traffic, the storage capacity of the staff mail server has been increased.

    You can access the webmail programs of the University of Mannheim as usual under the following addresses:

    Webmail system for staff: https://staff.webmail.uni-mannheim.de

    Webmail system for professors: https://staffmail.uni-mannheim.de/login.php

    Webmail system for students: https://students.webmail.uni-mannheim.de/login.php

  • Zoom: Interactive lectures and virtual meetings

    The software Zoom can be used by all employees of the university to hold interactive classes and virtual meetings with non-university members. This is made possible through virtual rooms, which you can book via Portal² in the same way you book physical rooms at the university. For detailed instructions on how to use Zoom, please go to www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/anleitungen/zoom/.

    We kindly ask you to read our recommendations for

    Test lecture

    To familiarize yourself with Zoom and find out how it works, you can make use of test classes. For each school or department, we have set up a course in Portal² that is independent from the semester. These test courses are called “ZOOM Testveranstaltung” and carry the abbreviation of the respective school or department. For further information, please read our Zoom instructions.

  • Internal communication with Microsoft Teams

    Teams is temporarily available to all employees of the University of Mannheim and can be used for virtual meetings between individuals or small groups. Teams allows you to communicate via chat or audio and video conference.

    We have already sent you an e-mail with your individual login data for the installation. Please also follow all the instructions sent to your unit or institution separately via e-mail. For detailed instructions on how to use Teams, please go to www.uni-mannheim.de/en/it/anleitungen/teams/

    Please observe the following security and data protection information:

    • As MS Teams only serves as a temporary solution, please make sure to only store data in the current instance if you have a backup, ideally on a storage system provided by the university.
    • The data are saved directly to the MS Cloud. Please do not upload any files containing confidential information or personal data.
    • If you are using the option to record lectures held as a video conference, please inform your course participants in advance and ask for everyone’s consent before starting the recording. We would generally advise you to only record a meeting if you see a specific didactic purpose in doing so. You should not record any online meetings in which you discuss university-internal information.
  • BigBlueButton

    BigBlueButton is an open-source web conferencing system and can be used by all employees of the University of Mannheim. BigBlueButton is provided directly by the University of Mannheim and can be used to hold confidential meetings, for instance advisory talks or oral examinations, with small groups . Please note that BigBlueButton is only intended for sessions of small groups with about three  active video transmissions.

    • If you plan to hold virtual meetings with larger groups, we recommend that you use Zoom . Further details are provided in the Zoom instructions.
    • For virtual meetings between individual people and smaller groups, especially for the communication between employees of the University of Mannheim, you can use  Microsoft Teams . Further details are provided in the Teams instructions.

     

    Oral examinations at the University of Mannheim can already take place via BigBlueBotton. Since May 12, 2020, we have an additional instance to be used for advisory talks or job interviews or by search committees. For detailed instructions on how to use BigBlueButton, please go to https://www.uni-mannheim.de/it/anleitungen/bigbluebutton.

  • Plagiarism detection

    The President's Office has decided to procure campus licenses for the the plagiarism detection software Turnitin so that all departments can use it. The licenses are now available and the software Urkund is now available campus-wide. An ILIAS integration is also planned but will not be made available before August 2020. The plagiarism detection software Turnitin can still be used.

    The following tutorial is an introduction to the software Urkund:

    For more information on the process please refer to the ILIAS learning module.

  • DFN service

    The video conferencing tool DFNconf of the German National Research and Education Network (DFN) has already been used by employees and teachers of the university for a while now.

    As the service was repeatedly restricted in the last couple of weeks on account of a drastic increase in the number of video conference participants, DFN has now enhanced its platform and multiplied the number of conference junctions. DFNconf is thus available again for virtual meetings in small groups with few participants. We also recommend DFNconf for digital job interviews.

    As of yet, the service is not suitable for online-based teaching activities since the platform currently in place is not capable of handling such large numbers of users.

    For more information, please see the DFN news updates.

  • Camtasia

    The University IT has procured 50 licenses for the software Camtasia, which allows teachers to record course contents. 

    Using Camtasia requires a certain level of experience in video editing. Moreover, we can currently only offer a limited number of licenses. For these reasons, we ask you to assess very carefully whether you actually need the software and to what extent you can use it, or whether other options (such as described under Lecture Recordings) may already be sufficient for you. Please understand that we can currently only grant one license per chair.

    To order a license, please fill out the form on the software procurement page and send it to software-beschaffung(at)uni-mannheim.de with the subject line “Camtasia Uni Lizenz - LS XXX” indicating your chair.

  • Home office security

    While some employees are already familiar with working from home, others are suddenly faced with an entirely new situation. Our information security team has compiled important information and recommendations on how to set up a secure home office space and how to handle internal data properly. Please note that this page is currently only available in German.

IT Support

Our IT Support is happy to help you with any questions or problems you might have.