“We want students to discover their own path”, says Alexander Ohrt, marketing manager and instructor at opencampus.sh. The initiative offers courses for students to explore subjects besides their major. By doing so, opencampus hopes to help students to discover new paths – by learning something different and making connections with others.
Learning something that is not part of the curriculum. It is often mandatory for students in Germany to gain credit points in courses that are not relevant to their respective major. This is supposed to widen their horizon and to learn practical skills like photoshop.
“It is our utopia at opencampus.sh that people learn more about something, because they want to learn more about it.”Alexander Ohrt
There is a lot to explore – try something new
Game Development, User Experience Design or how to start a startup – opencampus.sh offers a variety of different courses. Many of them are either rarely offered elsewhere or part of specific majors. But most importantly: They are not accessible for people without experience in these fields. Opencampus.sh wants to change that.
Meanwhile courses at universities are usually limited to what they have to offer. Opencampus.sh wants to add to existing structures with their own courses. Often in cooperation with other institutions. By doing so, students should get the chance to try out something for a semester and see whether it is something they would want to pursue further.
“Even if you try out something that doesn’t click for you. At least you opened the door and don’t have to wonder about ‘what if’ anymore.”Alexander Ohrt
Vitamin O(pencampus) – supplement your studies
A significant characteristic of opencampus.sh courses is the practical relevance. It all started in 2009, with weekend classes for IT-students, who wanted to try out their knowledge by actually using what they would learn in theory at university. In 2014 the initiative was granted financial support by the ministry of economics. Starting with eight courses, the project grew continuously. Nowadays there are about 27 courses each semester.
Therefore, opencampus.sh is also an opportunity for students to equal out possible deficiencies of their studies. Milena Solmecke, a student of Applied Communication Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Kiel, uses her chance:
“I participate in the Social Media Sessions, because the practical use of Social Media was not covered thoroughly in my studies. However, I think the knowledge will be beneficial for my career. As for the Blockchain sessions, I was just interested in the topic, but never motivated enough to dive into it more by myself.”Milena Solmecke
A benefit for students: All universities in Kiel accept credit points that are collected by participating in courses by opencampus.sh.
Check out current courses by opencampus.sh on their website here!
Meaningful connections – lively exchange
Up to 1000 people currently participate in courses by opencampus.sh every semester. While most of them are students, the classes are free to attend for anyone – teenagers, university students, trainees, employees, unemployed people, mothers, fathers, seniors, everyone.
This also leads to exchanges between groups of people that otherwise might not have met. Ida Wagner, instructor of Game Development Sessions, remembers a combination of two participants in particular:
“One semester I had this very enthusiastic 14-year-old boy in our sessions. He was still at school and very curious. That very same semester, we also had a senior citizen with us, who was an experienced musician. This mix of people at different points in life makes opencampus.sh special and interesting.”Ida Wagner
By having different backgrounds in their courses, opencampus.sh hopes the participants can benefit from meeting each other. “For example, if someone is interested in photography, and there is a photographer in the same course, the person can get a deeper insight into the work of a photographer”, explains Alexander. “What is great about this job? What is not? How are the working hours? The answers to these questions are much easier to find if you know someone in that field. This is how meaningful connections are made”.
Other projects by opencampus.sh
starterkitchen – coworking space
waterkant – Innovation festival
kosmos – concept store
SEEd – school education
StuJo – Job platform
fablab.sh – open workshop
Maker Cube – mobile Fablab
Legienstr. 40 – coworking café/bar
Kiel.AI – Artificial Intelligence
Some of these connections might even lead to new job opportunities. Ida herself started as a participant of Game Development Sessions.
“I was interested in Game Development for a long time, but never had a chance to learn more about it. After attending the GameDev Sessions I was able to network with people in the field and taking over the organisation of the GameDev Sessions. Eventually I started working at a Game Studio”Ida Wagner
Nourishing talents – strengthening the region
While courses by opencampus.sh are not limited to people in Schleswig-Holstein, the initiative always keeps their home state in mind. The classes are chosen to enrich knowledge and skills in Schleswig-Holstein. The interpersonal exchange builds up a network all throughout the federal state.
Opencampus.sh wishes for talents to realize that ‘there are a lot of things happening in this region. I don’t have to leave. I can pave my own way and start my career here’. Ultimately strengthening Schleswig-Holstein again – by nourishing these talents locally.
“I would like to invite everyone to try out one of our courses. Life is not linear, so take your time during your studies to try out many different things.”Alexander Ohrt