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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Enhancing digital teaching

Role and Aims of the bologna.lab

The bologna.lab is an initiative by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) which aims to offer a wide range of creative possibilities to students and teaching staff. The projects of the bologna.lab are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the Quality Pact for Teaching (Qualitätspakt Lehre).

The bologna.lab is a cross-faculty teaching and learning laboratory of HU and reports directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. It serves as an organisational umbrella for seven projects aimed at promoting self-guided, independent learning formats which create scope for individual development and contribute to the implementation of needs-oriented academic curricula. In this way, the bologna.lab responds to criticisms which view the Bologna Reform Process as the root cause of a tendency towards ‘spoon-feeding’ curricula in higher education.

The bologna.lab as an experimental laboratory offers both students and teaching staff a range of opportunities to get involved. Firstly, students and teaching staff are invited to get actively involved in the projects, developing and testing innovative teaching and learning formats. Secondly, the bologna.lab offers advice and support in implementing the tested formats and applying them in adapted forms to other courses, institutes and faculties. The bologna.lab team welcomes initiatives, suggestions and ideas from all members of the university.


The projects hosted in the bologna.lab focus on four key issues:

  • Research-Based Learning: The Q-Programme develops and tests a variety of teaching and learning formats which provide students with early opportunities for independent research from the undergraduate level onwards. The programme comprises four core initiatives, which offer different formats for independent, research-based study for different groups and at different stages in the degree programme.
  • Interdisciplinarity: The development of interdisciplinary study formats are the main focus in the projects Diversity of Knowledge and Humboldt Bachelor. These teaching and learning formats help students to develop a reflective understanding of science and thus sharpen their grasp of their own subject and of the different academic disciplines.
  • Flexibilisation: The projects Study and High-Performance Sport and Part-Time Study develop and implement teaching and learning formats aimed which propose more flexible curricula for students and enhance their opportunities for self-organised studies. These projects seek to offer solutions for students faced with additional obstacles in their studies because they need to fit their university schedule around double (or multiple) commitments outside of university (e.g. work, (child-)care, or personal health issues).
  • Internationalisation: The projects Berlin Perspectives and International Teaching Development (finalised in September 2016) promote international study options at Humboldt-Universität. While Berlin Perspectives develops specific teaching and learning formats for incoming international students, Internationalisation of the Curricula aims at increasing internationalisation at home and creating additional opportunities for international exchange and mobility.


The development and implementation of these teaching and learning formats is scientifically evaluated. By means of Evaluation and Research the bologna.lab seeks to identify those measures that are particularly effective in addressing the above key issues. It works together with the academic departments and faculties towards a broader implementation in the curricula. In addition, the bologna.lab is a project partner in ForschenLernen, an joint research project into research-based learning (RBL) with FH Potsdam and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and 15 other RBL-projects in the Quality Pact for Teaching.

The bologna.lab has redesigned the Humboldt Award for Good Teaching and supports the Vice President for Academic Affairs in the organisation of the process from the call for nominations through to the awards procedure.

With the projects of the bologna.lab, the HU aims to make a university-wide impact and to contribute to the quality development of university teaching. Two goals in particular are crucial: honing the profile of good teaching, and reinforcing its importance at the university.

Since the beginning of 2012, the bologna.lab has been supported by funding from the Quality Pact for Teaching of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the ‘Transitions’ (FKZ: 01PL11030) proposal. The current second funding phase runs until December 2020.