There have been numerous proposal submissions for new research projects and project approvals and extensions secured with the support of the IZfB over the past two years. The success of scientists and researchers working in educational research is reflected in their extremely successful acquisition of external funding. The current DFG Research Atlas ranks the University of Duisburg- Essen as the university with the second highest amount of approved third-party funding in the “educational sciences” category nationwide. It also shows that the high standard of work conducted by the researchers in this UDE priority area can stand up in highly competitive procedures such as DFG funding awards.

Two new cooperative projects began in 2017 under the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “Academic Success and Dropout Phenomena” funding line. They are:

  •   Chemistry, Social Sciences and Engineering: Academic Success and Dropout Phenomena (CASSIS)”, a consortium project led by Prof. Maik Walpuski (Chemistry) in cooperation with Prof. Martin Lang (Engineering), Prof. Detlev Leutner (Teaching and Learning Research), Prof. Sabine Manzel (Social Sciences) and Prof. Elke Sumfleth (Chemistry). It aims to explore institutional and individual variables that affect student dropout. For degree programmes in STEM subjects in particular, there is a reported discrepancy between the expectations of higher education institutions and students meeting the academic learning requirements. In the CASSIS project, the group of scientists from the IZfB was awarded around one million euros, the largest amount the BMBF has granted in the current round of its Academic Success and Dropout Phenomena funding line.

  • Another collaborative project, “Academic dropout, habitus and image in society” (STHAGE) led by Prof. Helmut Bremer with Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts as cooperation partner, is also receiving support under the same funding line. The project sets out to understand what causes students to drop out. It relates student dropout and student doubt about their studies to “fit” based on habitus, and to perceptions of social order (“images of society”). In this process, selection mechanisms revealed on the micro level are linked according to theoretical-empirical disposition to social background on the macro level and can thus be considered plausible and valid beyond the individual case.

In a further BMBF funding line (“Research on digital higher education”), members of the IZfB also succeeded in getting approval for two projects, which began their work in 2017:

  •   n the “FUNDAMENT” project, Prof. Martin Lang and his cooperation partners at TU Kaiserslautern aim to facilitate the often difficult start on engineering degree programmes for students with the aid of digital media. The concept is to use online self-assessments to give new students personalised feedback on the existing knowledge of their subject so that they have an objective view of how much they already know. Preliminary online courses are also provided to help students bridge individual gaps in their knowledge. In Technical Mechanics, interactive online modules are to be added to the introductory courses, which students often find difficult, in an effort to extend and introduce greater flexibility to the existing teaching and learning resources. The project hopes to explore the effects of the interactive online modules in a longitudinal study.

ActiveLeaRn is a consortium project of Prof. Michael Kerres with partners at the University of Oldenburg. It explores the conditions under which activating teaching-learning settings with digital media can succeed at higher education institutions. In order to identify the conditions and design of successful “activating” teaching and learning settings, a systematic review will be conducted that aggregates and analyses the national and international situation in this area. In interviews and focus groups with higher education teachers, the statements identified in the literature analysis will be explored in relation to practical experiences of media-assisted learning in different disciplinary cultures.

In spring 2017 another consortium project financed by the BMBF “Techniques of Youth Bricolage – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Youth Cultural Practices in Interaction with Everyday Cultural Objects (JuBri)”, coordinated by Prof. Nicolle Pfaff, drew to a successful close. Youth settings are regarded as arenas of innovation in modern societies. Popular culture picks up on and economises their aesthetics, practices and forms of expression. Youth cultures are not so much breeding grounds for new inventions as spaces for redefining, connecting and transforming what already exists. These techniques of bricolage in youth cultures are explored by the interdisciplinary project consortium in a total of five subprojects, which alongside the UDE are taking place at TU Dortmund University, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, Kiel University of Applied Sciences, and the Archive of Youth Cultures.

“Schulleitungsmonitor” is a project funded by the Wübben Stiftung and conducted by the IZfB in cooperation with the Educational Research working group “bifo”. In this project, Dr. Jasmin Schwanenberg and Dr. Dominique Klein (project lead) explore the challenges faced by school head teachers and their needs and wishes in terms of support. The aim is to develop an instrument to identify where further education and training are needed. At the same time, it is also to explore the relationship between those needs and institutional, local, organisational and individual conditions. The data are intended to be of practical use in training and further education for the heads of schools and contribute to development of appropriate educational, advisory and coaching services and resources.

The federal and state government “Teacher Education Quality Offensive” is supporting 22 subprojects at the UDE between 2016 and 2019. The UDE will continue to extend its central training profile in Diversity and Inclusion, advance development of adaptive teaching and learning formats in SkillsLabs, and establish skills-oriented quality assurance/development in teacher training. Many members of the IZfB are involved in the subprojects and responsible for coordination of the separate sections.

In 2016 the SUSe1 graduate training group was launched. It is funded by the NRW Ministry for Science and Research and explores the challenges of transition from the multiple perspectives of general primary school education to the subject-specific perspectives taught at lower secondary level; it looks at seven different reference subjects and German as a Second/Foreign Language as a fundament of language and conceptual development. Members of the IZfB from subject education in six faculties are involved in the eight different subprojects (Prof. Markus Bernhardt, Prof. Stefan Fletcher, Prof. Inga Gryl, Prof. Sabine Manzel, Prof. Heike Roll, Prof. Philipp Schmiemann, Prof. Karin Stachelscheid, Prof. Heike Theyßen, Prof. Maik Walpuski).

Since the beginning of 2015 the DFG Research Unit “Academic learning and study success in the entry phase of science and technology study programs” (ALSTER) has been investigating the causes of what is, by international standards, a high dropout rate in Germany among science and engineering students. It is considered from the perspectives of educational science, psychology, and science and engineering education. Taking part in this research alongside the subject education experts Prof. Elke Sumfleth (coordinator), Prof. Hans E. Fischer, Prof. Martin Lang, Prof. Stefan Rumann, Prof. Angela Sandmann, Prof. Philipp Schmiemann, Prof. Heike Theyßen, and Prof. Andreas Borowski from the University of Potsdam, and the psychologists Prof. Detlev Leutner (coordinator), Prof. Matthias Brand and Dr. Maria Opfermann, and Prof. Joachim Wirth from the Ruhr University Bochum, are colleagues from the science and technical faculties (Prof. Axel Lorke, Prof. Jochen Menkenhagen, Prof. Carsten Schmuck and Prof. Bernd Sures). Their research will continue with greater scope as of 2018 in a research association of five DFG-funded projects.

Members of the IZfB (Prof. Albert Bremerich- Vos, Prof. Hans E. Fischer, Prof. Detlev Leutner, Prof. Angela Sandmann, Prof. Philipp Schmiemann, Prof. Elke Sumfleth) have been working within the UA Ruhr network on a high-profile coordinated project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the NRW Schools Ministry. In “GanzIn”, secondary schools in the state of NRW receive support as part of a school development project with the introduction of all-day schooling. The second project phase, in which the five participating faculties are each allocated two PhD positions, began in January 2016.

An inter-university network of junior researchers exploring the subject of “Being young – growing older: temporalities in transition” is receiving DFG funding from 2017 to 2020; Dr. Sebastian Schinkel was instrumental in setting up the network. The research projects of the network’s members take different empirical approaches to exploring the different orientations, learning processes and practices at different ages in different life phases of growing up and becoming an adult.

The success of efforts to support young researchers is apparent also from the DFG’s approval of Dr. Dominique Klein’s first proposal, “Leadership and School Improvement in Context. A Systematic Comparative Analysis of North Rhine-Westphalia and California”, in 2016. Dr. Carolin Eitemüller was also successful with her proposal for the project “Intervention study for assessment of the differential influence of adaptive feedback on the academic success of first-year students in general chemistry”, which is a component of the ALSTER research association.