The Computer Science Student Council congratulates Dr. Stephan Krusche on the Ars legendi award for excellent university teaching

Posted on June 26, 2020 by Viktoria Kirchleitner ‐ 12 min read

The Computer Science Student Council congratulates Dr. Stephan Krusche on the Ars legendi award for excellent university teaching

We would like to congratulate Dr. Stephan Krusche on the Ars legendi Prize for excellent university teaching!

The prize is awarded every three years since 2011 by the umbrella organisation of the Faculty Days of Engineering and Computer Science (4ING) and is endowed with 25,000 euros. It is intended to highlight the special significance of university teaching for the education of young engineers and computer scientists and to create a career-effective incentive to become involved in university teaching and to promote it beyond one’s own sphere of influence. At the same time, the quality of teaching is to be more firmly anchored as a central quality criterion for top universities and a strategic goal of quality management at universities. Since we as a student body want to promote and reward good teaching (e.g. also through our annual TechInfAwards), we have encouraged Krusche to apply and supported him in his application. All the more reason for us to be pleased that his commitment is paying off and that we can congratulate him on this award today.

The press release of the Stifterverband can be found here.

The press release of the TUM can be found here.

You can read our nomination to the jury here: Proposal by the Computer Science Student Council of Dr. Stephan Krusche for the Ars Legendi Prize for excellent university teaching

Outstanding teaching quality and ensuring this quality is one of our top priorities as student representatives. Therefore, we are always happy to support lecturers who strive to improve teaching every day. For this reason, the Student Council of the Department of Computer Science at the Technische Universität München hereby nominates Dr. Stephan Krusche for the Ars legendi faculty award for excellent university teaching. The reasons for this proposal are numerous, but in the following letter we would like to explain the reasons that led us to make this decision.

Dr. Krusche is only at the beginning of his academic career, but he has already proven his outstanding qualities in excellent teaching at our faculty. In recent years, he has developed and supervised numerous innovative teaching concepts. One example is the so-called iPraktikum, in which students learn the practical use of iOS programming in real-life projects and in cooperation with renowned companies such as Siemens, Audi or Allianz.

The iPraktikum was initiated in 2008 by Prof. Bernd Brügge, who was recently awarded the “Prize for Good Teaching” by the Bavarian Ministry of Science and Research at the end of last year. Dr. Krusche follows in Prof. Brügge’s footsteps and has been organizing and developing the iPraktikum for several years. Meanwhile, the lab course, which is part of the Bachelor/Master lab course module, is offered on a semesterly basis and, through various cooperations, offers more than 100 participant places, which are also fully utilized each semester. In contrast to other offered practical courses, the iPraktikum offers the participants a practical insight into industrial software processes, as real, challenging projects are realized in a team. The participants are largely given a free hand in designing their projects: Failure is explicitly allowed and small mistakes are deliberately not immediately corrected by the project management in order to achieve a far-reaching learning effect for the students. And even though the development of professional software for various application areas ranging from optimization methods for industrial workflows to games is the main focus of the iPraktikum, special attention is also paid to the acquisition of soft skills such as professional presentation and teamwork.

However, Dr. Krusche has not only made a name for himself at our faculty in the organization and further development of teaching concepts. He has also had a lasting influence on teaching at our university through the development of Artemis.

Artemis, described in his paper “ArTEMiS - An Automatic Assessment Management System for Interactive Learning” 1, is a learning platform that is supposed to enable and support interactive learning, especially in lectures with many students, by offering a variety of different functionalities. For example, it is possible to hand in programming tasks and to get direct feedback about the functionality of the code by automatic tests. In computer science studies it is essential to get feedback on written programs, because especially with little experience in the field boundary conditions are often overlooked. Artemis checks the behavior of the code by a mixture of public and hidden tests at submission to prevent the easy mapping of the expected solution. Seconds later, Artemis gives the student feedback on the test results. This gives students the opportunity to learn from mistakes and gain a deeper understanding of the problem. But Artemis can not only be used to hand in homework in the form of code or files. By providing quizzes (both multiple-choice and drag-and-drop, graph drawings or short text answers) and text or modelling tasks, Artemis can also be used in lectures for interactive learning.

Indicative of the flexible application possibilities as well as the professional and stable implementation of the tool is the fact that Artemis has recently been successfully used in some of the largest basic lectures in computer science studies - including “Fundamentals of Operating Systems”, “Practical Course Fundamentals of Programming”, “Introduction to Software Engineering” and “Fundamentals: Algorithms and Data Structures”. Each of these lectures is attended by over 1000 students. It is especially worth mentioning that Artemis is enabling the first pilot test of a digital exam at our faculty. The repeat exam for the “Practical Course Fundamentals of Programming”, which traditionally always consisted of programming on paper, will be written this year for the first time on computers with Artemis. If this attempt is successful, it is to be hoped that it will trigger a small revolution in computer science studies and that programming on paper, which often is not considered to be representative for real programming knowledge and quite remote from practice, will soon be a thing of the past. To make this first pilot project a success, Dr. Krusche has actively sought dialogue with the student representation at our faculty to get the opinion of the student body and to identify possible sources of errors and problems and to eliminate them.

Our Faculty of Computer Science has experienced enormous growth in recent years. While in 2015 only 4200 students were studying at our faculty, today it already comprises about 6500 students. This increase in student numbers poses a great challenge for the quality of teaching. For example, in the basic studies of computer science, in many courses a tutoring relationship necessary for the effective communication of content can only be maintained by student tutoring. Even with this challenge, Dr. Krusche has proven to be an active participant in our efforts to ensure good teaching. By linking some tutoring positions to bachelor seminars and internships to increase the attractiveness of the tutoring job, he has made an important contribution to combating the lack of tutors and relieving the training company, which is operating at the extreme limits of its capacity. He also manages to further relieve and motivate tutors by constantly improving automatic homework corrections and rewards for the best tutors in order to further increase the quality of the training company.

At least as praiseworthy as Dr. Krusche’s commitment to recruiting new tutors is his extraordinary dedication to supervising the tutors of his courses. He spends a great deal of time communicating with his tutors and the students he supervises in order to resolve questions and other problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. He has also ensured optimal practice by introducing tutor peer review, in which tutors visit the exercises of other tutors and provide feedback, and by conducting recruitment interviews. Even on business trips, he can be reached by video calls or the like if problems arise, which clearly sets him apart from other trainers and instructors.

In addition, Dr. Krusche has not shied away in the past from actively seeking dialogue with the student representatives in order to identify problems in tutorials and courses and to solve them in the course of operations. In university committees such as the faculty council, he also always works together with the student representatives and is in active contact with the student representatives in these committees. This is further proof of his sincere interest in the continuous improvement of the quality of his courses.

But of course, he has not only distinguished himself by developing and supporting innovative teaching concepts, Dr. Krusche also shows his commitment and interest in good teaching through his lectures every day. For example, he gave the basic lecture “Introduction to Software Engineering” (EiST), which is listened to by students from a wide variety of courses of study. In the last semester, this lecture had about 1700 participants and is therefore one of our largest lectures. Many lecturers would have capitulated to the sheer mass of students and would have avoided traditional frontal teaching, but Dr. Krusche managed to meet this challenge and mastered it with flying colors. By using interactive teaching methods such as quizzes, surveys and exercises during the lecture and last but not least by using Artemis EiST he managed to make it one of our most interactive lectures. By means of a livestream, which had an audience of 500 people almost continuously throughout the entire semester, he also managed to let those students, who had no more room in the too small lecture hall, participate in the interactive lecture and enable questions during the lecture by means of a live chat. Even outside of the lecture times, he himself and tutors were available around the clock to answer questions and to discuss things that were still not understood. This commitment does not go unnoticed by the students. For example, Dr. Krusche received an average grade of 1.6 for his EiST lecture in the teaching evaluation survey conducted by the student council among the students and also comments from students such as “Mr. Krusche is a very pleasant lecturer, school grade definitely 1” or “Krusche is always very well prepared and goes into the different models in detail and with examples. Very good lecturer” are not unusual.

Accessibility in university teaching is an extremely relevant topic for us as student representatives - with regard to equal opportunities and inclusion. In a subject such as EiST, which is largely about visualisation and diagrams, students with visual impairments in particular face major obstacles. Here, too, Dr. Krusche has distinguished himself through his far-reaching commitment and, in his former position as a trainer, has made it possible for a blind student to participate in the lecture and exercises. For example, he and his tutors ensured a pleasant learning atmosphere and task sheets in Braille in teamwork. In addition, a tool was created as part of a project to enable people with visual impairments to work with UML diagrams. As a lecturer he also strives for accessibility in his teaching. The digitalization of teaching, which Krusche is pushing for, contributes to more accessibility in teaching in addition to the traditional ways, such as sets of transparencies that are also compliant for color-blind students. For example, the location-independence of the digital examinations made possible by Artemis can lead to an improvement in the examination conditions of students with walking impairments. In this respect, it plays an absolute pioneering role within our university.

Of course, EiST is not the only highly praised lecture that Dr. Krusche gives at our faculty. His lecture “Project Organization and Management in Software Engineering” (POM) is very popular every summer semester and receives top ratings from our students every time. As a result, POM has been awarded the TeachInf-Award for the second time in a row, in 2018 and 2019. The TeachInf-Award 2 is a teaching award at our university, which is awarded every year by the Faculty of Computer Science with the support of the Student Council of Computer Science to the courses and lecturers with the best teaching concepts and surveys in the categories best elective lecture and best compulsory lecture. These continuous top performances in teaching after only a few years of teaching at the university prove its great potential and its commitment to teaching.

But of course Dr. Krusche is not merely resting on his laurels, but is constantly working to improve his teaching. Thus he attended numerous workshops, seminars and intensive courses to improve and develop his teaching skills. In his research, too, he is constantly engaged in teaching and learning and strives to ensure that other lecturers also improve their teaching methods. He has already organized several workshops and conferences in the field of teaching, e.g. ISE 2018, ISE 2019, SEUH 2020 or CSEE&T 2020 in Munich.

Dr. Krusche is regularly praised in evaluations of his lectures for his presentation style and his clearly structured and easily understandable lectures. He is always considered well prepared and committed in his efforts to impart knowledge to students using modern and activating teaching methods. His detailed explanations with many examples are very popular with students. The interactivity of his lectures and the deliberate alternation of lecture contents and practical exercises during the course of the lecture is very popular with the students, which is also evident in the free text comments of the evaluations. The use of media in lectures is praised by the students and leads to a better understanding of the contents by the participants. The teaching of practical content in lectures, which is indispensable especially in the field of software engineering, is also highlighted by the students.

Dr. Krusche is highly appreciated among students and is known for his excellent and innovative lectures. He is regarded as very likeable and highly committed. Not only participants of his lectures praise him, but also his tutors and the students he supervises speak highly of him. His highest goal is always the learning success of his students, not only the progress of the top 10% but of everyone. Whether lecture, internship or seminar, the team around Dr. Krusche reaches more and more students, and this success clearly speaks for the teaching concepts he has developed.

In our eyes, Dr. Krusche is an ideal candidate for this award, not only because of his numerous innovative teaching concepts, but above all because of his far-reaching commitment, which is probably unparalleled not only at our university, but throughout Germany.

For the Computer Science Student Council at the TUM The speakers of the Student Council and the student representatives in the faculty council

Garching the 11.03.2020