Oscar Wilde observed, "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

I view this quote as a design task for creating learning opportunities with guided or scaffolded instructions. I design learning as an iterative process for students that includes formative feedback and assessment. I approach teaching as the task of enabling active and student-centered, inclusive learning. 

A short video (8 mins.) created in April 2018

To my students in the ISLT9440 online course, hands-on

How to design for active-meaningful learning with technologies, and what educators can do to ensure a meaningful student learning path

First, watch the short video, 8 mins. .

Then, use the checklists to self-assess your learning designs, third, improve your learning design and do it again.


Isa Jahnke, Peter Bergström, Eva Mårell-Olsson, Lars Häll, & Swapna Kumar (2017).Digital Didactical Designs as Research Framework - iPad Integration in Nordic Schools. In: Computers & Education (2017). Volume 113, October 2017, pp. 1-15.  https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.05.006

Isa Jahnke ( 2016). Digital Didactical Designs. Teaching and Learning in CrossActionSpaces. New York: Routledge

Teaching Philosophy

To me, the goal of (digital) education is to prepare students in the best possible way for their future work e.g., as a teacher, educator or scientist, on both professional and personal level.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is important to ensure that learners are valued and have the same access to all opportunities whatever their differences. DEI cultures are learning spaces or workplaces where diverse groups and different perspectives are valued and embraced. In a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, all participants feel "comfortable sharing their ideas and other aspects of their true and authentic selves" (Washington & Patrick, 2018). My approach does not focus on helping a person to fit into an existing culture but instead to identify the strengths of the individuals (including their differences) to nurture a team culture that fosters open-mindedness and creative work. The challenge is that top-down approaches drive compliance, not commitment. Instead, I try to cultivate a participatory co-design approach that ensures that each voice counts, paying special attention to voices from women and underrepresented groups such as people of color and indigenous people.

I adopt the approach of active, meaningful learning, which is characterized by five elements: goal-directed, active, authentic, cooperative or collaborative, and reflective or constructive learning (Howland et al., 2012). I design the learning goals and authentic tasks or assignments for student interaction (e.g., online discussions of readings, models, or terminology). Moreover, each of my classes includes collaborative learning where teams usually work together for two or three weeks. More specifically, the learning environment I create offers students the opportunity to develop artifacts related to  real-world issues. These learning artifacts are, for example, Google sites, podcasts, videos, or interactive games for learning that the teams produce to showcase their learning progress. In such longer assignments, I ask students to be reflective about the learning artifact they produce, and each class ends with a reflection statement. Overall, in this activity-reflection model, I apply an iterative process of learning activities and process-based, formative feedback or assessment. (Jahnke, 2015). For each weekly or bi-weekly student assignment, I create rubrics so students know in advance how I will assess their learning. In addition, I apply the approach of iterative learning, meaning I give feedback (feedforward) so that students are able to improve their work and gain more points. This approach guides me in developing my courses.

In all of my courses, I also embed learning goals (outcomes) and accompanied learning tasks for student competence-based development of higher order thinking skills, content knowledge including methods, and social competencies. Those skills are, for example, application, analysis, and critical evaluation (Bloom's taxonomy). To promote students' development of critical thinking skills, my assignments always include reports in which they are creating new artifacts and reflecting about the experience and product. They consider what they could have done better and how to improve the learning artifact. In addition, I use peer review as a form of assessment. Students use the peer review to improve their work and I ask them to showcase the difference between their original artifact and the improved one. Using peer review has the additional benefits of allowing students to learn to give constructive feedback and of helping students consider a wider audience than just me, their professor, when completing tasks.

I perceive my role as instructor (educator) to be that of a learning companion, guide, coach, and supporter. This means, for example, to support and motivate students, especially when they face challenges in their learning process. I create a social presence and a learning community among the students online and offline so they know I am here to help and that others can help too. Furthermore, I reflect and develop my actions and myself as a teacher by a set of activities to improve my teaching on a continual basis. These activities include reading the course evaluations and using them to make changes, reading studies on how to improve learning experiences, listening to my students' feedback, discussing ideas with my peers and using feedback from peer-evaluations, and participating in professional development.

In my courses I use various digital learning technologies to enhance active, meaningful learning in synchronous and asynchronous settings. When I use such tools, I turn it from a teacher tool into a student tool in order to empower students. For example, most of my classes are online, and I use Canvas and ZOOM for synchronous meetings to interact directly with students. On the other hand, in asynchronous settings, I integrate online discussion forums and VoiceThread to enhance student engagement. I also upload YouTube videos or TedTalks. For online collaborative learning, I adopt digital mind map apps, PBWorks (wikis), Google docs, and Padlet to promote collaborative learning and many more.

In summary, I do not use technology to create artifacts that think for the students. Rather, I make use of technology to support students in developing thinking that is materialized and showcased in artifacts or digital products they develop. For example, students may plan and conduct user experience studies, or they may create a platform for digital tools that K-12 teachers can use in their digital classrooms. Such technologies become mind tools (David Jonassen) and the student products, created with such mind tools, are available for reflection on learning.

In-Person, Blended and Online

My teaching experience includes in-person lectures and seminars, blended learning with Wikis and BSCW, and online courses with the learning management system of Canvas or Moodle. I started with teaching in 2001. -- yes, it is that many years already!

Teaching in 2021/2022

University of Muenster, Germany

Wintersemester 2021/2022

  • Meaningful Learning With Digital Technologies (what can we learn from the United States?) [067219]
  • Formative and Summative Evaluation [067220]
  • Teaching Online Courses - Comparing United States and Germany [067221]
  • Kolloquium for undergraduate and graduate students (including PhD-students) in the field of 'Learning Design & Technologies' [067222]

Teaching in 2015-2021

University of Missouri-Columbia

Online-Teaching in the M.Sc. program (Learning Technologies & Design / Online-Educator / Technology in Schools) and in-person teaching in the doctoral program of Information Science and Learning Technologies:

  • Active Learning with Web-based Technologies, SISLT, online course
  • Doctoral Seminar: Research and Design in SISLT, in-person
  • Teaching Online Courses, SISLT, online course
  • Designing Computer Support Collaborative Learning, SISLT, online course
  • Designing Computer Support Cooperative Work, online course

  • Introduction to Web Development, SISLT, online course
  • Formative and Summative Assessment, SISLT, online course
  • Usability and User Experience Design/Methods, SISLT, online course

Teaching in 2011-2015 in Sweden

Umeå University

  • Theories in Educational Research, Spring 2015
  • ICT in Education, Spring 2014
  • involved in the course "Introduction into Applied Educational Sciences", Fall 2014
  • involved in the course "Applied IT in Schools", Spring 2012

Teaching in 2001-2011 in Germany

TU Dortmund & Ruhr-University Bochum

Between 2001 and 2011, I conducted about 30 classes including seminars, lectures and tutorials for Bachelor and Master students (B.A./M.A.) in different disciplines

  • Master of Organizational Management (RUB): Qualitative Methods, Communication in Organizations
  • Computer Science / Informatics e.g., Informatics & Society, Sociotechnical Design
  • Teacher Education - In early years, I already applied blended learning with BSCW and Wikis.
  • Workshops for academic staff and professors: e.g., Research project management, E-learning

Workshops for academic staff & professors, since 2008

Didactical Workshops / Professional Development Workshops

Since in 2008, I organize workshops and offer continuing education for academic staff, university teachers and professors across the disciplines. Such 2-days workshops cover the topics of digital learning, for example,

  • "Web 2.0, Social Media, eLearning and Co. in teaching and learning at universities"
  • "How to teach creativity in different disciplines" (together with Tobias Haertel, TU Dortmund)

I also offered those workshops at the universities of Trier, Münster, Cologne, Würzburg, TU Berlin, University of Jena and University of Thüringen/Weimar ("HIT" initiative). Just recently on 2020, I offered ZOOM-workshops in the USA and Germany (e.g., Duisburg-Essen, Koln) about "online teaching".

You want to "hire" me for workshops or online webinars at your institution or conference? Yes, happy to do that. Just send me an email.