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Six Rooms, Central Location, Wifi

The IT center has opened new rooms for PC pools and e-examinations

Freiburg, May 03, 2019

Six Rooms, Central Location, Wifi

Photo: Jürgen Gocke

The University of Freiburg’s new IT pool and e-examination center opened its portals in April 2019. New teaching concepts and electronic examinations will in future be introduced using the 165 workstations. The facility is a central port of call for students and staff from various faculties. The project is financed jointly by the student body Verfasste Studierendenschaft and the Rectorate.

Students have plenty of space to learn and practise in the new rooms.
Photo: Jürgen Gocke

The 40 workstations in the largest room in Werthmannstraße 4 are soon occupied: Besides visitors, the celebrations for the opening of the University of Freiburg’s new IT pool and e-examination center drew members of the Rectorate and representatives of the Verfasste Studierendenschaft (VS). Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, vice president of digital transformation and director of the IT Center (RZ), highlighted the benefits of the service, “The IT pool center combines traditional pools that have had different configurations and were not always fully-used into a new operating concept, and therefore offers new possibilities for teaching, such as for e-examinations. An infrastructure without parallel in Freiburg has been created.”

This central infrastructure at the university has been available for use by students and staff from all faculties since this April. Situated in the city center, the facility includes six rooms with a total of 165 workstations; there are up to 46 computers to each pool. The concept makes it easier for teachers to organize and realize events and e-examinations, which were previously either impossible in the decentralized IT pools of individual faculties or only possible at considerable expense.

Greater quality together

The VS is providing the project with 130,000 euros from the student suggestions budget, the rectorate is providing up to 176,000 euros for basic equipment. Tobias Becker and Robin Eger from the committee for allocating the student suggestions budget have one notable goal: to finance innovative measures that go beyond the basic offering of the university. The IT pool and e-examination center has a dual function: students can take part in IT-based lessons, and it is also a central location for informal learning and practice. Becker and Eger hope that the PC pools will become better known and more used in future. Above all, extended opening hours are important to the high quality of the service.

“The core competency of the IT center is providing infrastructure,” explains Dr. Dirk von Suchodoletz from the E-Science department. The bwLehrpool plays a leading role: this flexible basic infrastructure enables EDP and IT courses, informal student practice and work, and more e-examinations. The department developed the PC pool concept. Use is primarily reserved for students and staff from economics, law and geography studies – however the workstations are bookable for all matriculated students and for teachers of the University of Freiburg. Central screens enable visitors to see which workstations are available. The IT center team evaluates the frequency, user numbers and times when the rooms are occupied.

The IT pool and e-examination center offers an infrastructure without parallel in Freiburg, says Gerhard Schneider, vice president for Digital Transformation at the University of Freiburg. Photo: Jürgen Gocke

New forms of examination

In future, more electronic examinations may take place in the rooms. Marking e-examinations takes about 30 per cent less work than written examinations, said Dr. Nicole Wöhrle from the IT center at the opening ceremony. The head of the E-Learning department presented some of the electronic forms for which her team uses a separate ILIAS environment as an independent and specially-secured examination server. Whether for e-exams with multiple choice and open questions, or including multimedia elements such as videos or use of a special software for programming tasks: the infrastructure can be adapted to all subjects and types of examination.

One successful example was carried out by the University of Freiburg’s Department of English, which tested the examination system of the IT center back in January 2016. Applicants who wish to take English and American Studies can register for the admission test each semester and avoid expensive standardized language tests. Sissy Bräuer, study coordinator of the Department of English, is very happy with the switch to the ILIAS software, “The last test cycles showed a clear difference in efficiency and usability compared to our old system, so we are very happy to recommend use.”

Patrick Siegert


The IT pool and e-examination center is fully accessible, and each room has at least one wheelchair-accessible workstation. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 9.45 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; user support is available from Tuesday to Friday.