How do educators in Ukraine manage to provide quality education under the challenging conditions of war? In collaboration with the Ukrainian NGO HIGHER, the institution “Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Saxony (HDS)” has organized a webinar series tailored to the needs of Ukrainian university teachers. These webinars aim to empower Ukrainian educators to maintain their teaching and provide support and stability to students confronted with extreme situations.

The project “Ukraine Support” is a collaborative effort between HDS and HIGHER, a community which aims at developing teaching excellence of university teachers. It assists Ukrainian university educators in finding ways to effectively and high-quality teaching during wartime. Ukrainian educators currently work under extremely difficult conditions: classes interrupted by air raids, chronic war-related stress, unreliable internet connections. In light of these extreme situations, traditional teaching concepts are insufficient. The main goal of the project is to identify, test and disseminate teaching/learning arrangements and methods that most effectively respond to these unique circumstances.
From November 2023 to February 2024 five webinars, each comprising three parts and moderated by Ukrainian and German academic didactics experts, will focus on the following themes: student engagement in online teaching, online assessment, trauma-sensitive teaching, hybrid teaching-learning settings and intercultural teaching and learning. The webinar "Intercultural Teaching" will also include educators from Saxony to enable cross-border exchange of experiences. The participant groups are composed to represent as many educational contexts as possible faced by teachers in different regions of Ukraine due to the war.
The overarching goal of the webinars is not only to support Ukrainian educators, but also to create a knowledge and experience base that can be useful for educators worldwide. From November 7th to 9th 2023 the first webinar on "Engaging Online Teaching" took place. Together with the participants, challenges and questions were identified for which there are still no ideal solutions:

  • How to teach in a hybrid setting with students both in the classroom and online?

  • How to engage passive and shy students who do not turn on their cameras?

  • How to encourage students to independently prepare for classes?

  • How to ensure honest task completion?

  • What to do when the composition of the group changes in each session because not all students can regularly participate?

After the webinar a practical phase begins, during which participants experiment with various didactic approaches and techniques for a month to discover what works and what is not suitable for their contexts.

After participants have tried, reflected, and evaluated new methods and techniques, selected results will be published – both successful practices and failed attempts (because it is equally important to know what does not work). Based on these experiences, ideas and strategies will be formulated that can be adopted and adapted by educators facing similar challenges.

Further webinars and their results will be available on the HDS blog (German/Ukrainian) and on the Facebook page and website of HIGHER (Ukrainian).


Olha Bershadska