We want students to not only read the theories, but to also think about how to apply them. That’s why we use the FT.HTW Berlin
Providing concepts with context
With a student body of more than 13,000, as well as 280 professors and 800 associate lecturers, the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) Berlin is one of Germany’s largest universities of applied sciences. The university offers a diverse range of programmes, with over 70 Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in fields such as technology, IT, economics, law, and engineering.
HTW Berlin’s reputation as one of the country’s top education providers is founded on its ability to combine scientific theory with practice. Alongside the professional experience of professors, learning resources that help to connect classroom theory with real-life context are key to providing students with a deeper understanding of course materials and ultimately preparing them for their onward careers.
Catering for a diverse student population
In order to take the models that are being taught in class and link these to real examples, HTW Berlin makes the Financial Times available digitally for students on its Masters in International and Development Economics programme through an FT Group Subscription.
Dr Heike Joebges has been a professor in the HTW Berlin business school since 2010 and cites the FT as the go-to source of news and analysis for her and her students. The diversity of the students Dr Joebges teaches makes the breadth of the FT’s global coverage especially valuable.
“We have students from Asia, Africa, Latin and North America, as well as Europe of course,” explains Dr Joebges. “Students are most interested in what’s happening in their own countries and they want to relate that to what we discuss in the lectures.”
The broad spectrum of topics that the FT covers extensively means there is no shortage of relevant examples for Dr Joebges to draw on in class. FT analysis related to the US-China trade conflict, commentary on the brexit negotiations, as well as articles about global trade regulation have all provided excellent platforms for discussion and debate.
“Students first have to learn that we do not just teach models for the sake of it,” says Dr Joebges. “The FT has so much coverage I’ve been able to use to relate the models to what’s happening in reality and that’s what I really appreciate.”
Building a habit of wider reading
By investing in an FT Group Subscription, HTW Berlin is making a statement that it expects its students to develop an international mindset and be well-informed on the topical issues that relate to their course. It’s one thing to make the right resources available, but another entirely to ensure those resources are used effectively.
Dr Joebges talks about the challenge for her and her colleagues in encouraging students to read higher quality sources. “We see a tendency of students reading less established news providers and relying on free online information to feel informed,” she says. “We realised that it’s a good idea not just to offer the FT, but also to enforce it. By having to read FT articles regularly to pass certain tasks, it starts to become second nature.”
Integrated, real-world learning
Building assignments around the use of FT content has proven to be a successful means of helping students to relate what’s happening in the world to economic concepts.
“In every lecture students have to present in groups on related news that happened in the past week based on what’s been covered in the FT,” explains Dr Joebges. “We observed that just by being in a group and having to decide together what they present on, means they’re continuously reading the FT and discussing those topics.”
Dr Joebges also uses the tools available on FT.com in order to find and highlight relevant content. “I’m planning to use FT articles about the international trade effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” explains Dr Joebges. “I post articles on our Moodle platform. We’ll then discuss what steps countries are taking in order to stabilise their economy.”
Encouraging a habit of frequent FT reading by embedding it in programmes makes a noticeable difference to final assignments. “We realised students voluntarily use a lot of articles in their thesis,” observes Dr Joebges. “The FT provides quality coverage of relevant events in the world and once my students start using it regularly, it builds an appetite for more.”
The FT provides quality coverage of relevant events in the world and once my students start using it regularly, it builds an appetite for more.HTW Berlin
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