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Security, Development, Migration

A seminar from eight universities analyzes current EU-African affairs in a cross-site e-learning format

Freiburg, Apr 12, 2018

Africa and Europe have longstanding and diverse relations that are currently changing due to the so-called refugee crisis. The EU and its member states now regard development deficits or terrorism in Africa primarily as migration causes. Here, various policy fields interweave into a "security-development-migration nexus": European development policy is characterized by considerations of security policy and migration movements. What does this mean for the African states? And for Europe?

These current issues are the focal point of a class provided by eight large German universities fort he 2018 summer semester. The political science instructors and their students will work together across hundreds of kilometers on a weekly basis: from Freiburg to Hamburg to Mainz to Magdeburg. A digital video platform and e-learning formats enable students to jointly develop and discuss current theoretical and empirical knowledge. Input lectures by researchers from Germany, Italy and South Africa provide insights into the current research and practice in this field of conflict between Africa and Europe.

What makes the seminar so special is the direct student interaction through live video contact and virtual working spaces. “We are taking on students’ e-literacy and apply it to university instruction, which is often still too caught up in traditional methods of teaching,” says Prof. Dr. Tanja Brühl, Vice President for Studies and Instruction at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The students are particularly excited about the cross-university working groups. Yannik Suhre, a participating student from Mainz: "An important point for me in registering for such a seminar format was that it offers the opportunity to get to know other students from other universities." Methodically, the concept of the seminar is complemented by a variety of opportunities for scientific and journalistic work, for example in the form of production newspaper articles, video or radio segments. Around 200 students participate from the Universities of Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Magdeburg, Mainz, Marburg, and Tübingen in this seminar. “It took a lot of preparation,” admits Patricia Konrad from the Universität Hamburg. “After all, we had to agree to the topics, issues, texts and digital learning formats.” It was worth the effort, however. Of that Ingo Henneberg from the Department of Political Science at the University of Freiburg is certain. “We enable the students to work with the most up-to-date contents of the seminar in a way that is as sustainable as possible. "For the concept to be successful long-term, the contents of the course at the University of Freiburg should be converted into e-learning units and made accessible to a broader public.”

The event builds on the experiences of the cooperation projects "Reign of Terror IS / Daesh: Understanding, Classifying and Evaluating - a Multi-Site Lecture Series" in the 2016 summer semester  as well as "Threats to Peace in Europe?" in the 2017 summer semester and was honored with, among others, the E-Learning Award 2018 of the University of Freiburg, the hein @ ward 2017 of the University of Düsseldorf and the Campus Radio Prize of the Media Authority of North-Rhine Westphalia. Based on an intensive evaluation, the project will be further developed in the 2018 summer semester to be an even more interactive format.


Project home page including the seminar program and cooperation partners


Ingo Henneberg
Department of Political Science
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-67854