From left to right: Johannes Kretzschmar, David Zakoth, and Sabine Best
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Master’s Module "Innovation Methods in Photonics" Team Awarded FSU Jena Teaching Prize

Johannes Kretzschmar, David Zakoth and Sabine Best of the Abbe School of Photonics were honored for their innovative teaching concepts.
From left to right: Johannes Kretzschmar, David Zakoth, and Sabine Best
Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)
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Published: | By: Christian Helgert; translation by Gleb Chupakhin

Once a year, the Teaching Prize of the Friedrich Schller University Jena honors exceptional engagement in teaching and promotes exemplary teaching concepts. In the general Prize section, the best lecture concept is awarded.

After intense discussion, the expert committee of the Academy for Teaching Development (ALe) of our university decided on the conferring of this year's Teaching Prizes on June 15th, 2022. 20 proposals from eight faculties for the general Prize and for the Teaching Prize with a focus on "supporting independent learning and scientific work" were submitted in total. All nominations showed excellent quality and exemplified very good university teaching as well as high devotedness on the part of the teaching staff, making the decision difficult for the expert committee.

Sabine Best, David Zakoth and Johannes Kretzschmar received the general Teaching Prize for 2022 for the lecture and seminar "Innovation Methods in Photonics", which are taught as part of the master's program in Photonics. The vice president of teaching, Professor Kim Siebenhüner, explained the selection decision of the jury as follows:

The seminar and lecture "Innovation Methods in Photonics" features a teaching concept that is outstandingly successful in fostering scientific work among students and simultaneously engenders a strong connection to practice through close cooperation with regional companies. A combination of lectures, workshops and innovation projects make this possible. On one hand, the lecture consists of knowledge transfer on topics of innovation management, project planning and of property rights in addition to technical topics. On the other hand, a connection to practice is made already here by guest presentations to the students from representatives of the regional photonics industry that convey novel practical insights.

In workshops, the students learn how to generate creative ideas with the Design Thinking Method, how to build prototypes with Rapid Prototyping Tools (for example, 3D printing) and how a successful business model can be conceived for the developed ideas. The knowledge gained from lectures and workshops are then combined and applied in innovation projects: Industry and scientific partners formulate concrete innovation tasks in which students build a prototype to complete the task. This combination of elements has earned special recognition because it allows the students to apply knowledge independently as well as to learn from the mistakes that can be made within an innovation project.

Open Photonics Innovation - ACP's Lichtwerkstatt Open Photonics Innovation - ACP's Lichtwerkstatt Image: Sabine Best

The concepts of the Teaching Prize recipients will soon be presented on the websites of the Service Point "LehreLernen" as Good practices@FSU  detogether with a selection of further examples of innovative teaching design. The announcement of the Teaching Prize is supported by the Sparkassenstiftung Jena-Saale-Holzland.

The entire team of the Abbe School of Photonics sincerely congratulates the prize recipients on this success!