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Prototype-testing at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg

Initiating the process

As a relatively concise and closed social system the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg seemed to fit perfectly as a testing environment. By including only selected institutes, the number of participants was reduced to approximately 1010 students plus 52 staff members.
In coordination with the university's presidency, an appropriate object of discussion was found: the evaluation of lectures on campus. The university had initiated an evaluation program on the Internet some time ago without nameable success and was eager to find possible reasons for this failure. In a six weeks process, conclusions where to be found in a mediated discussion, starting on the 5th of November 2001.
In order to keep the debate structured and on time, three phases of discussion where announced. First, the general subject was to be examined, secondly small forums where to be created, in which specific topics should be discussed. Finally the assessments where to be presented in order to find solutions.
To stimulate participation, a set of promotion activities was put forward, including invitations via email to students and staff, visual representation of the project using posters and flyers on campus and the online publication of filmed interviews with the head of the presidency and a student's representative.