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Hybrid study course at the MHB

Flexible psychology studies – Interview with Prof. Johannes Lindenmeyer

14 August 2023

The Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB) introduces a new hybrid variant of the Bachelor course in psychology pursuant to revised licensing regulations with the winter semester 2023/24. The format, also known as Blended Learning, combines classical classroom instruction with online learning. In Germany this is the first chance of psychology studies for all those who cannot pursue on-site studies in Neuruppin for various reasons. We wanted to know what exactly this means for prospective students and talked to Prof. Johannes Lindenmeyer who played a key role in developing the new concept.

Prof. Lindenmeyer, hello and welcome to the interview on the hybrid study course at the MHB. We’ve got some questions to get a clearer idea of this new program.
Prof. Johannes Lindenmeyer: Hello, I am happy to tell you more about our new hybrid course.

Then let us get started right away: How did you hit upon the idea to design such a hybrid course?
Well, during the Corona pandemic we have had a great deal of positive experience with combined online and classroom learning. Another reason is the growing number of inquiries from applicants who cannot move to Neuruppin because of family and work responsibilities. As a pioneer among universities offering the psychology program pursuant to revised licensing regulations, we wish to go on setting standards for the use of digital elements in teaching and learning.

What is the proportion of on-site instruction in the hybrid course?
Periods of on-site instruction are of decisive importance in conveying psychotherapeutic competences and occupational qualifications. This means that students will be on site for two 6-week periods of full-time block instruction in two of our cooperating hospitals during the lecture-free period. In addition, they must sit all exams on site, so they will have to spend one or two days at the MHB at the end of each semester.

And how exactly does the course work in practice?
Students enrolled in the hybrid course receive recordings of lectures on a weekly basis which they can listen to at a time of their choice. In connection with each lecture, they receive four questions to assess learning progress, and must submit answers to us within four days. These answers form the basis for the obligatory online seminar linked to the lecture. The system facilitates good and close contacts between students and instructors. Seminars are scheduled to take place every Tuesday and Thursday between 6 and 8 p.m., and every second Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This sounds like a well-structured concept. How many hours per week are required?
You decide yourself the number of hours you plan to devote to your studies per week, and you inform us accordingly. On this basis we will calculate the duration of your Bachelor studies. Prior to the conclusion of the contract we will meet you for a detailed counselling session to draw up an individual plan of studies which is binding on both parties.

A very important question: Is the quality of the hybrid course the same as the on-site variant?
To be honest: no, it isn’t. On-site instruction and face-to-face tuition will always be recommended since personal exchange and interaction in and outside the classroom are more intensive and productive. Experience shows that dropout rates are higher in hybrid courses. However, a hybrid course can be a valuable and viable option for those who cannot pursue on-site studies due to obligations related to work, family, or other personal circumstances. Teaching contents are exactly the same in both formats; however, the hybrid course requires more discipline and staying power and may be more of a burden in combination with other obligations.     

The format may be interesting for all who have already started with the on-site variant. Is it possible to switch to the hybrid course?
Unfortunately, this is not possible at present. Starting with the first semester, we are going to build up the hybrid course step by step, and it will take some time until higher semesters can change over to the hybrid format.  

Does the hybrid course meet requirements of revised licensing regulations?
Yes, definitely! Successful completion of the hybrid course qualifies graduates for the subsequent Master course, also pursuant to revised licensing regulations, and to conclude their psychology studies with the exam to acquire the license to practice. The hybrid course is officially acknowledged and certified in accordance with social law, so that graduates may continue their studies at all other institutions of tertiary education in Germany.     

A final question: Will the MHB cover accommodation costs during the obligatory on-site periods?
I’m afraid not. We cannot provide accommodation but will make a list of potential landlords available. But we intend to give financial support to keep costs down. What we can guarantee are available internship positions in our cooperating hospitals for the periods of practical vocational activity which form part of MHB courses.

Thank you very much for the exhaustive information on the hybrid course.
You are welcome. Feel free to contact me in case of further questions.

For more information on the Bachelor course in the hybrid format and the traditional classroom variant see here.

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