Corona virus
Frequently Asked Questions // Students

Hochschule Niederrhein. Your way.

Dear Students,

We have put together a list of FAQs for your information.

We will continue to focus on answering as many questions as possible. We hope that you understand that finding some solutions will still take some time. 

Please check this website daily for the latest information.

Status 2 June 2020

What is the current situation at the university?
Until now the summer semester has been run on a solely digital basis. Except for the libraries (see below), the buildings are closed and only accessible to persons with special access authorisation. Employees can be reached by phone or e-mail. Committee meetings are allowed, but all other events are not permitted.

Has the standard time to degree been affected?
Yes. The standard time to degree for all currently enrolled students will be extended by one semester.

To which examinations does the free attempt regulation apply exactly?
The free attempt scheme was extended by the Decree of 15 May. It now generally applies to all examinations of the summer semester 2020 that are taken and not passed. These will be regarded as if they had not been taken. The free attempt regulation also applies to examinations that are held after 31 August, the official end of the semester, but which are still part of the SS 2020 examination programme. It does not apply to Bachelor's theses, Master's theses and the related colloquia. If several examination dates are offered, the free attempt regulation only applies to the first date on which the examination is taken. A free attempt will not be granted if the failure to pass the test is based on any attempt at deception.

Will expiring examination regulations be extended?
The faculties are currently making decisions on regulations and will be providing information on their websites or by email.

Which degree programme contents will be continued in the winter semester 2020/2021?
The current semester is being held as usual – only online. This means that the degree programme pathway will not change and the courses planned for the coming semester will also be available. The summer semester will not be repeated.

Does the extension of the standard time to degree mean that my BAföG entitlement will also be extended?
One of the reasons for issuing regulations on the extension of the standard time to degree was to specify an extension to BAföG entitlement. However, you must contact your BAföG office to clarify whether your entitlement to the grant will be extended in your individual case.

Does the extension of the standard time to degree mean that I now have to study one semester longer?
No, this is a precautionary arrangement for students who cannot complete their studies in the planned time. The originally planned degree programme pathway is guaranteed, i.e. you can complete your studies within the normal standard time to degree.

How can I obtain certification of the extension to the standard time to degree?
Corresponding certification will be available shortly. You will be informed separately how you can obtain this certification.

How will the extension to the standard time to degree affect me?
The extension to the standard time to degree is a precautionary measure to protect students who are unable to complete their studies in the planned time due to the corona pandemic against any negative consequences (e.g. BAföG). However, you can still complete your studies in the planned time, and in this case the regulation will not have any advantages or disadvantages for you.

Will the semester be extended? 
The universities in NRW, together with the State Ministry for Culture and Science (MKW), have agreed to postpone the start of the lecture period. The lecture period will end on 17 July. The semester will therefore be shorter.

Have the deadlines for assignments been postponed?
Not necessarily. Our professors are making every effort to find individual solutions. It goes without saying that assignments or theses cannot be handed in on time if you are not allowed to enter the laboratories or if you do not receive any literature.

Can I still hand in my bachelor thesis/assignment?
Please contact your examiner to discuss a digital submission. Upload possibilities should be used whenever possible.

Will colloquia take place?
No, these are also face-to-face events. To discuss a digital alternative, please contact your examiner.

Are there any regulations concerning the pre-study internships?
Our Student Service has prepared an overview of the regulations. This is available here: Overview of pre-study internships and regulations on the extension of the period of certification for pre-study internships.

Are the university buildings accessible?
No, the buildings are still closed to the public.

Are the cafeterias open?
The cafeterias are closed.

How can I now contact the university's counselling services?
An overview of all contact options is available here: www.hs-niederrhein.de/pandemievorbeugung/beratende-institutionen

Is the library open?
The Krefeld South and Mönchengladbach libraries are open daily from 10:30 to 12:30. Pre-ordered media can be collected at these times from Monday to Friday. For more information visit: www.hs-niederrhein.de/bibliothek/

I am currently doing an internship/dual studies at a company, etc. What should I do now?
Please contact your employer so that you can arrange individually whether and how you can continue working. You can also always contact your supervising faculty or professor if you have any questions.

Are the language courses being held?
All language courses are being held in digital form via Zoom and Moodle.

I am a student assistant. What applies in my situation?
Student assistants should also stay away from the university. The contracts will not be terminated.

Why does the Hochschule Niederrhein use Zoom despite its known security problems?
The University is aware of the reports on the security gaps and these were taken into account when decisions were made. Zoom itself has been working on improvements regarding data protection in recent months and years and ensures compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In consultation with the University's Data Protection Officer, default settings have been made which are applied to all accounts registered through the University, which ensures a higher level of security. For more detailed information refer to our privacy statement.

Why has no other video conferencing tool been introduced?
For some years the Hochschule Niederrhein has been using Adobe Connect through the German Research Network (DFN). The coronavirus pandemic quickly led to a higher demand, so that it was no longer guaranteed that the established systems would be available without any problems. The stability of Zoom in comparison to other videoconferencing tools was the deciding factor in choosing this solution.

Why are lecturers not all committed to one tool but use different programmes?
Although Zoom has been introduced at the Hochschule Niederrhein, there is no obligation for lecturers to use this tool. A binding commitment to one tool is not possible, as this would be contrary to the principle of freedom of teaching, and lecturers are free to decide which methods and software they use to hold their courses.

Why is Microsoft Teams not used although the University uses the Office programmes?
Until now, the Hochschule Niederrhein has only used locally deployed Microsoft software, so-called "on-premise software". Microsoft Teams is not software that you can install and then use. It is a Microsoft working environment (cloud platform) in which all Office programmes are integrated and which are activated in accordance with the respective licence level. Using this option would mean that some services (e.g. email, Active Directory ... ) that have been running on the University's own servers until now would have to be outsourced to Microsoft servers, and reconnected to the University infrastructure from there. Another factor is that before this would be possible, a data protection review would have to be carried out in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For these reasons it will not be possible to introduce this cloud service in the foreseeable future.