Tracks 2024

The programme of the University:Future Festival 2024 consists of nine thematic tracks:

  1. Shapes of Tomorrow
  2. AI & Technology
  3. Teaching & Learning
  4. Spaces & Hybrid Concepts
  5. Future Skills
  6. Structures & Strategies
  7. Exams, Legal & Data Protection
  8. Networks & Participation
  9. Let’s Play

Track: Shapes of Tomorrow

What threads weave tomorrow’s story?

The track Shapes of Tomorrow focuses on narratives as well as overarching topics and debates from which the future emerges: Which topics are being addressed and who is participating in the discussion? What values and thought models are at the foundation of technological developments? What does the future of higher education look like and what does the higher education of the future look like?

The Shapes of Tomorrow track also addresses topics that receive less media attention but shape the development of universities. These include demographic change and the associated declining numbers of new students, as well as diversity, sustainability and climate protection at universities.

We hope for contributions with a wide range of thought approaches; critical perspectives are highly desired. Because technological, societal and thus educational policy developments are shaped by the decisions we make today.

Topics covered in the track include: future narratives, future research, megatrends, demographic change, sustainability, fundamental values of universities, diversity of students and heterogeneous educational biographies.

Track: AI & Technology

Will tech save us?

The introduction of ChatGPT caused a seismic shift. Artificial intelligence is changing higher education, our everyday lives and the world of work. The debate centers around the actual impact we will witness and how the technology will continue to evolve. One thing is clear: we need to talk about these questions, both in a practical context and on a meta-level. We invite you to present visions of progress but also critically examine narratives of progress at the festival.

In the AI & Technology track, we also discuss how technology is altering our scope for possibilities in education. We take a special look at topics such as Virtual Reality and Extended Reality, as well as the role that universities play in the technological change process.

Some of the topics covered in the track include: teaching with AI, prompting, EdTechs, tools, AI competencies, impact on disciplines, willingness for change and resistance, Virtual Reality, Extended Reality and technological changes.

Track: Teaching & Learning

How do we tell the stories of tomorrow?

In the Teaching & Learning track we talk about didactic designs and the learning goals behind them. We talk about how good teaching can succeed for everyone in a digital world. And we discuss the important topic of teacher training. A special focus in this track is on the broad impact: How can the many excellent examples of good teaching be carried and anchored on a broad scale? We therefore particularly invite projects to submit sessions that are working on scaling good teaching.

The topics of the track include: innovative teaching concepts, student-centredness, learning success empiricism, teacher training, curriculum development, participatory event formats, gamification in teaching, slow learning and inclusion.

Track: Spaces & Hybrid Concepts

Where do we tell our tales?

The track Spaces & Hybrid Concepts is about educational spaces and hybrid concepts. With the merging of physical and digital presence and changing demands on teaching, both physical and digital educational spaces need to be rethought. Third spaces are gaining importance, i.e. spaces for new purposes, such as coworking spaces and FabLabs. Hybrid teaching concepts are becoming increasingly common in practice but do not always work to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

The topics of the track include: prerequisites for successful hybrid teaching concepts, space structures and development, third spaces and social learning at a distance.

Track: Future Skills

How can we practice to tell future stories?

Future skills are skills that will become more important in the job market and in society in the near future. What are these skills and how can they be identified and acquired? Personal development is also important in this context. Therefore, strategies and structures for coping with emotional challenges are highlighted in this track. In times of skilled labour shortages, the topic of upskilling is particularly relevant. What do examples of successful cooperation between universities and companies look like? Of course, conceptual thinking is also encouraged at the University:Future Festival: Critical contributions that question the concept of Future Skills are also welcome.

The topics of the track include: Future Skills, Data Literacy, Digital Literacy, Soft Skills, Media Literacy, Upskilling, Continuing Education and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Track: Structures & Strategies

How can tomorrow’s stories unfold?

The Structures & Strategies track is about the university as an organisation. It encompasses administration, strategy and leadership. In the digital transformation, universities must adapt their processes and structures. In this track, we discuss change management, processes and framework conditions, decision-making structures and financing issues. An important aspect is quality management in dynamic change processes.

The track also addresses the university as a workplace: How can good employees be recruited and retained – key terms here are new work and good working conditions. Additionally, the track covers the internationalisation of the university.

The topics of the track include: administration, change management, organisational development, process management, democratic university structures, university strategy, new work, the university as an employer, internationalisation and quality management.

What are the frameworks we need for tomorrow?

The question of appropriate examination formats in a digital world has been a concern for a long time, but the developments in the field of artificial intelligence have made it particularly urgent. Therefore, this track will focus on all aspects of assessment, including didactical, technical and legal aspects. However, the track not only addresses the topic of assessment but also discusses data protection and sovereignty as well as all relevant legal issues.

The topics of the track include: examination cultures, alternative forms of performance records, examination in times of ChatGPT, data sovereignty, data protection, higher education laws, general legal issues.

Track: Networks & Participation

Who tells the story (of tomorrow)?

Every good narrative includes a sense of togetherness. The Networks & Participation track is about collaboration and knowledge transfer – both into society and among other universities. Collaborative networks and other forms of inter-university cooperation offer great potential for finding answers to common questions and to disseminate them broadly, for example, through participation structures and effective communication.

The track is also about participation: How can all stakeholders be involved – especially students? What formats are needed to make the needs of students visible?

The topics of the track include: university networks, knowledge transfer, social impact of academic work, opening up the university, student-centredness, participation and alumni relations.

Track: Let’s Play

Which plot twists and punchlines does future entail?

What would a festival be without fun and playful elements? In Let’s Play, we aim to create a wide range of offerings that are creative, enjoyable, thought-provoking and provide a break for the busy minds, all in various formats – from quiz shows to live podcasts, from theater performances to PowerPoint karaoke, from poetry slams to short film programs. We are looking for ideas to discuss the festival’s themes in different ways and formats that encourage our visitors to think, participate, laugh and marvel.

The Press Play track is open to all topics: Anything that is creative, beautiful, surprising and witty is welcome.