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City of Vienna Competence Team for Digitalization of the Communication Professions

The City of Vienna Competence Team dedicated itself for three years starting in April 2019 to the current and future requirements due to the digital transformation in university teaching as well as communication professions. As part of the project, the FHWien der WKW team researched and published on the topics of “(digital) communication professions in transition” and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and studies.

Funding: City of Vienna MA23 – Economy, Labor and Statistics

Project period: April 2019 to March 2022

 

Gefördert von MA 23 Stadt Wien

Initial situation

Digitalization has made communication more hybrid, global and dynamic. Communicative tasks are expanding and changing rapidly. Digital transformation also leads to a higher degree of interconnection in communication professions. All job profiles in marketing, PR, media and journalism are affected by this.

The diverse effects of digitalization are blurring the previously clear lines between disciplines and calling existing principles into question.

Results

The three-member team supported the shift to distance-only teaching – acutely needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – by providing “best practice” examples and recommendations for the optimal use of various digital tools.

With four surveys and 60 in-depth interviews on “Teaching in COVID-19 Times” in spring 2020 and 2021, the researchers also investigated how students and faculty at FHWien der WKW have received the transition to all-digital teaching.

Higher education teaching in transition

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Vienna Competence Team for Digitalization of the Communication Professions placed a special focus on the experiences and learnings of students and faculty during this time. Thus, in the process of this project, four online surveys were conducted with students and faculty of FHWien der WKW, as well as 60 in-depth interviews. The results of this research project help to identify and sustainably improve the optimal conditions for Distance Teaching. This concerns for example:

  • the ideal design of Distance Teaching Units
  • the recommended duration of Distance Units
  • the compulsory presence of students in class

The research results also contribute to

  • clarify the purpose of digital activities,
  • understand the support services or online materials required
  • and develop ways to optimize student progress through the program.

Although the findings are only a snapshot because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are useful in further developing student needs for future Distance Units and their didactics

The results of the COVID-19 series of studies have also been recognized in the international scientific community, such as in a presentation at the 2021 EADTU I-HE Conference in Bari, Italy.

Research on distance learning finds international resonance

E-assessments should be more than just a stopgap solution. Jasmin Séra presented the various approaches to this at the EADTU I-HE Conference 2021 in Bari, Italy.

New requirements in communication professions

Communication professions in the fields of marketing, PR, media and journalism are particularly affected by digitalization. One of the main concerns of the competence team was therefore to teach current and future digital trends in a practical way – to name just a few focal points:

  • Online Marketing and Communication with a focus on Programmatic, Social Media, Influencer, Search Engine and Content Marketing, Big Data and the DSGVO.
  • Digital Journalism with topics such as “fake news,” “echo chambers,” and “filter bubbles”

The focus was on the development of digital skills and the confident mastery of related tools by the students. A regular exchange with a selected expert reflection panel from leading digital, advertising and media agencies ensured that relevant trends were diagnosed. In this way, the skills sought by employers flowed directly into the teaching. In addition, the competence team regularly shared these findings with the professional community, for example as part of the Marketing Club Österreich (MCÖ).

Tilia Stingl and Georg Feldmann in the MCÖ Podcast

Tilia Stingl and Georg Feldmann speak about Digital Talents, Employer Branding, developments in the digital world and their impact on marketing and the domestic economy in the MCÖ podcast.

Photo credit: © MCÖ

Generation Z: Finding and retaining Digital Talents

Jasmin Sera and Georg Feldmann provided insights into Generation Z’s expectations of the working environment at the MCÖ.

Benefits

Overall, the project provided groundbreaking insights for the future design of innovative digital teaching settings, as well as important perspectives on the digital future of communication professions. The results of the competence team’s research and teaching were incorporated into the current curriculum development. As a result, FHWien der WKW’s positioning as a leading university of applied sciences for management & communications with teaching content on the pulse of the digital age has been significantly strengthened.