Current Students - Completing My Education

Why are the courses being delivered online?

  1. A significant proportion of our students returned to their home countries for an extended Easter break and are now unable to return due to new travelling restrictions.
  2. We want to ensure that students continuing their education with us in September have completed their previous year in order to be able to commence the following year’s education.
  3. It is the only viable way of completing courses in the current circumstances.

I am concerned that I won’t be able to produce such a good project without access to the facilities and this will impact my marks.

  1. All projects will be completable without access to the facilities. Where necessary projects are being updated to take into account the new circumstances.
  2. Marjon our UK University partner is introducing an Assessment ‘Safety-Net’ Policy. This means that as long as your remaining assessments are completed appropriately, your final mark for the academic year can only go up, not down.

What are the dates for the new term?

For 1st and 2nd years, you have 7 weeks left of term. Classes begin: April 20th. Classes end: June 5th.

For 3rd years, you have 1 weeks left of term starting April 20th.

When lessons recommence will the courses continue where they left off?

Yes. But the lessons will be reconfigured to ensure they work in an online format

Are we still having all of the same classes and workshops?

Essentially yes but they will be modified to ensure that students can complete them without access to the facilities.

What will happen when lessons recommence on 20th April?

Lessons will continue as timetabled but in an online format. You will receive invites which will contain zoom links from your advisor/tutors for all online sessions. Each programme will take the most suitable approach, but the majority of your classes will take place on zoom.

If students are not able to be back in Berlin on 20th April what should they do?

They should attend the online lessons just like everyone who is in Berlin

How will online lessons deal with anyone in a different time zone?

We are currently working on solutions for this issue which affects a small number of our students.

When the current emergency status is revoked by the German authorities, will the return to dBs be set for a re-opening day or will the re-opening be a gradual transition?

We do not know how the German authorities will revoke the emergency status so we will respond to that information when we have specific information. We can imagine that there will be some sort of transition period affecting different groups of people in the country and we will follow that guidance. It is highly unlikely that lessons will be taught from the Funkhaus this year, even if we are able to reopen for bookable time.

What will our timetable look like for online lessons?

In most cases your timetable will be the same or similar to the current published timetable. In some cases modifications to the timetable might be made.

When will we receive the modified projects?

Most of the projects will remain the same, but any modified projects will be visible on moodle before online teaching commences on the 20th. Your programme lead or advisor will be discussing these optional changes with you.

If I am finishing my course this year how will the university take into account the reduced access to facilities?

Your coursework will be marked by dBs tutors who have a full understanding of the change in everyone’s situation. Marjon, our University partner have also introduced an assessment “safety net” policy that ensures that you cannot achieve a lower grade than you have already achieved in Semester A.

How will we do the classes which were based on facilities at the Funkhaus?

They will be modified to take account of the new situation.

When will we have access to facilities again?

Equipment and room bookings are now open with specific hygiene protocols in place. Please check dbsberlin.siso.co and the moodle front page for opening times.

Is there any way to access books for my thesis in the Berlin library?

Whilst the state libraries remain closed you will not be able to access them. However you are now able to sign up for 3 months of free access to the Berlin library networks books, music, films, and magazines. There is a broad range of content from European Arthouse Films to Audio Books, to Jazz, and of course literary content.

Find them online here: https://www.voebb.de/

What type of lesson delivery will we be using in September?

Although this is not fully in our control we are expecting to be delivering our courses from the Funkhaus as normal. Germany has made much better progress than many other European countries in dealing with the situation and we therefore think it is likely that we will exit the current lock down sooner than many other countries.

How does dBs plan to make up for the lost film making time?

Once we are able to reopen we have committed to providing a voucher which will provide access to both our facilities and equipment for an extended 24 months.

What is the latest date the German government could allow dBs to reopen that would enable the FP19 year to make their 'megafilm' in the normal way?

15th June would allow the film still be made in the ‘normal’ way but there are other potential options which would still work with later dates.

Is it possible to have a later submission date for final projects?

The deadline has already been moved to accommodate for the delay in semester teaching and no further extensions will be made. We are required by our University partner Marjon to set deadlines in line with the academic boards.

Why can't we just move the classes to the summer?

There are a few reasons why this is not possible.

  1. We would not be able to provide the awards that you have all signed up for. We are validated by Marjon our University partner, and are following their regulations and academic board dates.
  2. A delay to one semester would delay the following 1 or 2 years of study for most students.
  3. Many students have already planned to leave Berlin this summer and cannot commit to an extended stay.

What happens if I fail Semester A modules because of deadlines/work affected by COVID 19?

For Semester A resit/deferred assessments submitted after 30th March, with marks within 30-39 range, the module will be condoned (i.e. where the module is deemed to have broadly met the criteria for a pass, subject to certain conditions and has been updated to condonable status). NB Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed and students are advised to talk to their module leader.

What happens if I fail modules in Semester B?

Any failed Semester B modules (or up to five X modules), with marks within 30-39 range, will be condoned (where the module has been updated to condonable status). Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed and students are advised to talk to their module leader.

If I fail a module can I opt to re-take it?

No re-sits will be authorised for Semester B assessments which have been condoned. However, if you have re-sit work or deferred work from Semester A you will still be able to submit for assessment in July (w/c 27th July is resit week).

Can predicted grades be used to determine my end of year results?

No, we won’t in general – and this is because we don’t have a consistent or formal way to measure predicted grades (such as mock exams), and all assessment has to be moderated by external examiners, so it would be hard to do this fairly across all students.

I’m a final year student and worried about my final degree outcome – how will my degree mark/classification be worked out?

The University has put in place a ‘Safety Net Policy’ – briefly, this means the usual weighted calculation for degrees will be applied (this already works proportionately where necessary and places emphasis upon the best modules at level 6).

For final year students, those module marks in Semester B that are above the Average Mark for Semester A (a straight average of performance across module marks) will count as usual; if the module mark is below the average, that module will not influence the classification (the module does still need to be passed). The calculation will not include condoned modules either. This guarantees the student the best outcome.

For those doing a Foundation degree the calculation already looks beyond simply an average across all credits and acknowledges better performance.

How will my final transcript reflect my degree marks/outcome?

Transcripts will be updated to display two versions on separate pages with the same, best calculated, classification:

  • one which includes Semester B marks which were below the Average Mark and were updated to Pass (no mark) and awarded credits
  • the second version which includes Semester B marks which were below the Average Mark and were updated to Pass and awarded credits but will also show the marks achieved
  • neither version will show marks for condoned modules.

I am a second year honours student – how will my marks/degree be affected?

For Year 2 students, the normal weighted calculation will be applied to Year 3 marks next year along with the Average Mark for Year 2.

I’m on a professional programme – what if I can’t complete the required placement/practical aspects?

For those programmes recognised by professional bodies, there will still be a need to align with assessment guidance that they provide; this will be evident in the details that your programme teams will have already communicated with you regarding assessments. Students are advised to talk to their module leader or PDT if they are unsure how they will be affected.

I’m a Taught Postgraduate student – how will my overall mark be calculated?

Your overall mark for the year will be averaged from modules already completed, aligned to the full-time or part-time pathway you are following. See the Safety Net Policy for more details.

  • All but one of the total number of X modules, with marks within 40-49 range, will be condoned, where the module has been updated to condonable status. Condonement will not be possible where there is a professional accreditation requirement for the module to be passed. 
  • Where all X modules have marks within 40-49 range, the PAB will investigate individual submitted assessment marks before making a decision.
  • All assessment work completed before the 30th March will be used to calculate an Average Mark against which passed marks will be compared before making a decision.
  • Where resits and deferred assessments have been authorised for Semester A, those modules and marks will not be included.
  • When calculating the classification, the lowest 60 credits will be excluded from the algorithm.

 

 Students should also note that precise classification predictions are not possible and in any case will have to be verified and approved by the Board as always.

Current Students - Finance & Enrolments

Should I continue to pay tuition fees?

Yes. Our facilities are currently closed as a result of actions taken by the German and Berlin authorities due to the COVID-19 situation. We are therefore unable to provide onsite classes. Nevertheless we stay committed to providing all students with their course and their qualification albeit in a different format which is equivalent to onsite teaching. If we are to fulfil this commitment we will retain all the same costs as we normally do e.g. team members, building, support services etc… plus new costs arising as a result of the crisis.

Instalment payments are not a subscription payment. They are in place to make it easier for a student to pay for the course. When students sign the contract at the beginning of their course they are committing to pay the full amount and the instalment payment is there to help them do that.

In special cases where online teaching cannot reasonably be pursued due to personal circumstances and where reasonable adjustments cannot be made, a partial refund may be considered.

I am currently unable to pay for my course. Can dBs support me financially?

  1. If you have lost your job as a result of the crisis and are not receiving any support from the German government or the government of your own country we are committed to maximising payment flexibility to ensure you can remain on the course.
  2. This will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Please contact payments@dbsberlin.net

How do we sign up for the 2nd or 3rd year of our course?

You will receive an email by June from student administration requesting you to confirm you will be staying for a 2nd year or 3rd year. Administration will then update your status with Marjon university and our payments team are then informed.

When do we need to pay our enrolment fee for the 2nd or 3rd year of the course?

The enrolment fee is due before 25th July 2020.

When is the latest I can sign up for the 2nd or 3rd year of the course?

This depends on your own situation. If you are still awaiting confirmation that you have passed your previous year then this won’t happen until August. For other students please see the FAQ “How do we sign up for the 2nd or 3rd year of our course?”

Can I get a voucher for a summer course to replace the extra bookable studio or facility time?

Not at this time.

Will the school consider a discount for the following year's tuition fee?

We are not considering a discount at this time. However we remain committed to supporting our students completing the course they signed up for. If you are in a constrained financial situation as a result of COVID-19 and will struggle to pay your tuition fee in full please contact our payments team.

I signed up to a dBs Berlin course because I wanted real 'hands on' learning. Why should I pay for facilities I cannot use?

We understand that this is frustrating and we are committed to returning to ‘hands on’ learning as soon as we are able. However we believe that we have taken the correct decision in continuing with our educational provision online in order to ensure that all of our students are able to complete their course with us.

If the school qualifies for support from the German government why should the students have to continue paying their tuition fees?

Like many organisations based in Germany, it is possible that we will qualify for a low interest loan. This is not ‘free money’. We will still have to pay this back. Whilst this may well be useful in order to remain financially viable, it does not in any way mean that we would be able to continue operating if students didn’t pay their tuition fees.

What financial support is the company able to access from the German government?

There are currently no applicable grants for companies of our size. The main support that the German government is offering which may be applicable to our situation is in the form of a long term loan. The maximum available is €500k.

It is likely that we will need to take advantage of this loan in the coming months.

What financial support is the company able to access from the UK government?

None. We are constituted as a GmbH in Germany and our company in Germany has no formal or financial links to the UK other than having UK based shareholders.

Has the company missed any deadlines to apply for loans in Germany?

No. The first tranche of monies allocated by the German government ran out very quickly but the scheme has since been updated to something which is more suitable for our situation and we will be making an application at a suitable time.

Why doesn’t the company have access to an emergency fund that it can use to provide refunds to students who don’t wish to complete their course with us?

The company has invested it’s monies in creating an outstanding facility and learning experience for our students. There is no emergency fund available that would cover unexpected crises like this pandemic. We are not unusual in this regard. Most companies including companies that are much much larger than us are looking to the governments of their respective companies to help bail them out with loans for the same reason as we may consider this option.

Why has dBs Berlin spent so much on a rebrand instead of building an emergency fund to help get it through crises like this?

dBs Berlin has not spent very much on the rebrand thus far. The exact figures are not to hand as some of the cost is merged with general marketing costs, but perhaps it equals  the tuition fees from 4 or 5 students for one year.

What is dBs Berlin doing to support their students?

Rather than giving general refunds or rebates of tuition fees dBs Berlin is supporting it’s students in two specific ways:-

 

  1. From September we expect to be supporting students who have a reduced income as a result of COVID-19 with flexible payment schemes or in extreme cases a limited number of bursaries.
  2. An increasing percentage of our student body are with us for three years or more in order to complete their bachelor degree. By remaining a viable organisation we will be supporting students who wish to complete their degree course with us.

 

Why has dBs Berlin spent so much on renting the Funkhaus instead of on an emergency fund to help it get through crises like this?

dBs Berlin remains committed to providing the extraordinary facilities of the Funkhaus to its student body as soon as it is able to do this. We do not feel the need to apologise for providing such a great facility to enhance student’s learning experiences.

How do I know that if I continue to pay for my tuition fees the money will go towards ensuring that this creative community remains viable?

For the last 7 years of operation dBs has continued to invest in creating a space for this creative learning community and providing it with the best facilities in Europe. We remain committed to the same vision and values as we always have.

Can we see the schools budget to better understand why we still have to pay tuition fees?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide you with this information however we are constantly looking at ways of increasing transparency in the organisation. In the last 18 months we have moved to providing all team members with this information so it is possible that we will consider the same thing for our students in the future.

Can I get a partial refund?

We will make a partial refund of the tuition fee for 2019/2020 if you can provide evidence that it is not possible for you to continue your studies.

The refund will be for 1250 EUR and will be limited to students in three specific circumstances:-

  1. Lack of internet
  2. Lack of necessary equipment as defined by your programme lead
  3. Extraordinary circumstances leading to an inability to continue online classes this year

Your claim for a partial refund will need to be made before 4th May. To consider the validity of your claim please provide proof of how your circumstances have changed and why reasonable adjustments are not viable in your case.

Unfortunately, anyone making a refund claim will not be able to complete their qualification with us or take advantage of the facilities being reopened for bookable time.

Current Students - General

Is there a way for students to be more actively involved in helping dBs with the current situation?

We really appreciate the large number of offers we have had from students on this front. It is a sign not only of your maturity and understanding but also of the strong relationship we have with our student body. We will let you know if we can create a mechanism for this offer to become possible. For the time being we are focused on reorganising all of our lesson delivery and sustaining the organisation in general.

What is the online creative project support option?

This will take the form of individual online mentoring sessions. A student can bring any creative project they are working on to these sessions and receive feedback from one of our tutor team.

Why has the school focused on it's own survival instead of the students?

The school’s survival is required BECAUSE of the students not instead of the students. The decisions we have taken have always been on behalf of the whole of the student body in order to ensure that everyone can complete their qualifications no matter where they are currently located. In a situation where the organisation does not survive, then the student body/community will cease to exist and the qualification will be dramatically affected.

Why is dBs still marketing and planning summer school under the current conditions?

With the information we currently have from the German authorities we are still hoping to deliver our summer courses as planned. However this will depend on a range of things which are outside of our control and it is entirely possible that these courses will be delayed or cancelled. We will continue to assess the viability of these programmes as new information is released.

Are you obligated to let us know if you receive aid from the government?

No, but we can confirm that we have not applied for nor received any aid from the government at this point.

What is the legal structure of dBs Berlin?

dBs Berlin is setup as a GmbH in German law.

Will the legal structure change when dBs Berlin becomes Catalyst Institute for Creative Arts and Technology?

This legal structure will remain the same.

How will the voucher for the bookable time offer work?

Our facilities team has made provision for this to be possible during the next 24 months. Please see this PDF for details.

Where can I find the official communications about the crisis?

You can read the letters we sent to current students here:

  1. A personal message from the director
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on our education

New Applicants - Corona Questions

Am I able to process my application during this lock down period?

Our team are all still available online as normal and we are processing applications for our summer courses and our longer courses as usual. Any applications submitted before April 30, 2020 are priority applications and will receive a guaranteed place on their course of choice.

What happens if I pay my deposit and I am not able to attend for any reason related to COVID-19?

If you make an enrolment payment (and a single tuition fee payment) to guarantee your place on any of our courses and you are unable to attend the course for any reason directly related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we will offer a full refund of your monies, as per the following situations:

 

  1. If our course delivery is onsite in Berlin and you are either not able to travel due to provable travel restrictions in your own country (or country of residence) or because you are denied entry to Germany by the German authorities.
  2. If you become ill with COVID-19 before the start of the year and have to take an extended period of time in recuperation such that you are unable to study or unable to catch up with missed work as proven by a doctor’s note
  3. Should you become ill during your studies with us you are already covered by point 9.2 of our Terms and Conditions.

 

Alternatively, you may also choose to defer your place for one year. If you have paid your enrolment fee and defer your place for one year, the course cost will be fixed at the 2020 prices.

Will the main courses starting in September be affected by COVID-19?

We are expecting courses to operate as normal in September.

Will the summer courses be affected by the current situation?

With the information we have to hand we are currently planning the summer courses will go ahead as planned. However if new information comes forward from the German authorities relevant to the delivery of these courses we will postpone them to later in the summer.

Is your open day happening in May?

We have not cancelled the open day in May but we are currently also considering alternative open day options which will take place online.