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The engineering department of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University, Germany, introduced a new semester structure, in which three weeks of the semester are reserved for self-learning exercises and project-based learning. They alternate with four weeks of regular lectures, classroom exercises, and hands-on laboratory exercises in a 4-1-4-1-4-1-structure. The structure is used for self-learning exercises in the first study year to overcome problems with academic performance and promote self-learning as a personal qualification. From the second year on, projects are carried out in the three reserved weeks. This allows time for working on challenging problems. This article describes the motivation for introducing the new semester structure, explains the structure itself and the teaching formats employed, and presents experiences with projects and evaluation results.
Date of Conference: 17-20 April 2012