gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Teaching in times of COVID-19. Challenges and opportunities for digital teaching. Part 2

editorial digital teaching

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  • corresponding author Daniel Tolks - Klinikum der LMU München, Institut für Didaktik und Ausbildungsforschung in der Medizin, Munich, Germany; Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Zentrum für angewandte Gesundheitswissenschaften, Lüneburg, Germany
  • author Sebastian Kuhn - Universität Bielefeld, Med. Fakultät OWL, AG 4 Digitale Medizin, Bielefeld, Germany
  • author Sylvia Kaap-Fröhlich - Careum Bildungsentwicklung, Zürich, Switzerland

GMS J Med Educ 2021;38(1):Doc32

doi: 10.3205/zma001428, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0014282

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: January 16, 2021
Revised: January 16, 2021
Accepted: January 18, 2021
Published: January 28, 2021

© 2021 Tolks et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at


In the second edition there are now again 31 contributions about the topic of teaching in COVID-19 times. In sum the special issue features 71 contributions. This is apparently the most comprehensive issue in the history of JME.

In this issue, didactic scenarios such as the Inverted Classroom Model are increasingly described. In addition, the diversity of disciplines has been expanded once again. Projects from pharmacology, health communication and social work are described as well as topics from ethics and communication. The subject area of simulations is also more strongly represented in this edition, also the classical topics like examinations and tests are described. It is much about collaboration – peer teaching and peer learning, but also interprofessional education.

It is also clear in the second edition that the challenges for teaching in all areas of education had and currently has an impact. All the more, there is now an opportunity to learn from other disciplines as well. The basic requirements for teaching are, with subject-specific aspects, similar after all.

What is important now is that the so-called “digitization push” is also sustainably developed further. The new findings must be documented in evaluations and studies, the barriers must be sustainably dismantled, and the newly acquired competencies must be secured and expanded. This can only succeed if the faculties also promote the new processes. The transfer of competencies can be conveyed through structured cross-faculty offerings, and questions about the creditability of digital teaching should be standardized by the faculties, even beyond the federal states. Local university structures have once again shown during this period that they are not always up to the demands of the digital transformation.

With this concluding issue, we hope to provide some good suggestions for our own design of teaching. The projects described are wide-ranging in terms of topic and content and thus provide a good overview of the multitude of new ideas and concepts that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With these two issues, we hope to have supported and promoted the further development and continuation of new and innovative teaching and learning scenarios, be it digital or analog, in the coming years and are curious to see which new concepts will endure in the long run.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.