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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.


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.

Scientific publications

Bernhard, J., Russmann U. (2023). Blurring Boundaries: A Longitudinal Analysis of Skills Required in Journalism, PR, and Marketing Job Ads. In: Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2023

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Bernhard, J., Russmann U. (2023). Digitalization in public relations—Changing competences: A longitudinal analysis of skills required in PR job ads. In: Public Relations Review, 2023

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Stingl, T. & Séra, J. (2022). Digital University: Investigating the Impact of the Pandemic on the Acceptance of E-Learning. In: Athens Journal of Technology and Engineering – Volume 9, Issue 2, June 2022 – Pages 95-118.

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Séra, J., & Feldmann, G. (2021). E-Learning in Times Of COVID-19: Insights into Management and Communication Students’ Perspectives Throughout the Global Coronavirus Pandemic. In: European Journal of Teaching and Education, 3(2), 33–41.

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Séra, J. & Stingl, T. (2021). Can e-assessments be more than just an ‘emergency solution’? – Higher education readiness for online assessments versus room for improvement. In: Proceedings of the Innovating Higher Education Conference 2021. ISBN / EAN 9789079730483.

Presentation at scientific conference

„eLearning in times of COVID-19. Insights into management and communication students’ perspectives throughout the global Coronavirus pandemic.“ Global Conference on Education and Teaching (GlobalET); 2021, presented by Jasmin Séra on June 27, 2021

To the Presentation

„eLearning best-practice‘ based on individual student profiles. Similarities and differences between full-time and part-time students and their needs for ideal online learning.“ ALT Conference, 2021, presented by Jasmin Séra on September 7, 2021

To conference page with further content

„Can e-assessments be more than just an ‘emergency solution’? – Higher education readiness for online assessments versus room for improvement.“ presented by  Jasmin Séra, EADTU, 2021

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„Is a picture worth a thousand words? Resident versus non-resident identity construction for the city of Vienna“ presented by Jasmin Séra, IPBA 2021

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“Digital University: Investigating the Impact of the Pandemic on the Acceptance of E-Learning.” Atiner Conference, Athens Institute for Education & Research, Greece – online presentation by Tilia Stingl on December 21, 2021.

Presentation or podium at practice oriented event

“Do we need ethics in communication? A digital outlook” PRVA – lecture by Georg Feldmann (March 10, 2022).

“The power of numbers in marketing – measurement vs. creativity” MCÖ – Marketing Club Austria, panel discussion on October 19, 2022 with Tilia Stingl.

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“Education for the Future” Open Salon by Open Austria, Online 2022, with Jasmin Séra.

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“The best talent is useless if it is not encouraged.” Marketing Club Austria (MCÖ), March 2022, with Jasmin Séra and Georg Feldmann.

To the press release


Brown Bag Seminar – FHWien der WKW “City of Vienna Competence Team for Digitalization of Communication Professions: Current Research and Teaching. A review” Speaker: Dr. Georg Feldmann, on December 1, 2021

iSCOM International Days Topic: Effective digital marketing strategies, on November 9 and 10, 2021, Speakers: Tilia Stingl and Jasmin Séra

International Days at artevelde hogeschool (Ghent, Belgien) Topic: Design Thinking, on February 14 and 18, 2022, Speaker: Tilia Stingl

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.


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.