Jari Domke demonstrating ASP's streaming setup.


The digiPHOTON project aims to enable international students to fully study in the M.Sc. Photonics program digitally.
Jari Domke demonstrating ASP's streaming setup.
Image: Falko Sojka
digiPHOTON logo digiPHOTON logo Graphic: Falko Sojka

The digiPHOTON project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and aims to enable studying remotely through digitalization of the M.Sc. Photonics program and thus, to improve educational equity and equal opportunities. Abbe School of Photonics will successfully offer a comprehensively digitalized range of courses in symbiosis and equivalence with the on-campus courses within the M.Sc. Photonics program. This parallelized online and on-campus education offer is foreseen to be continued also in 2023 and further.

Digitalization of the courses is carried out at the module level. Therefore, every student has the opportunity to choose between the digital and the on-campus offer within each module. This allows the students to customize their Master’s studies by deciding what is the most convenient and efiicient way for them to complete the modules: online or on-campus. Hence, the digiPHOTON project offers equal opportunities to all students who want to study at the M.Sc. Photonics program, regardless of their physical, family, work, or travel conditions.

Our Projects

XRTwinLab header
Web-based application to control optical experimental setups with the integration of VR and AR endpoints.
Lab Buddy System with highlighted components.
The Lab Buddy System is one of our approaches to a truely hybrid experimental photonics lab.The concept is already embedded in the M.Sc. Photonics course.
Virtual copy of the ACP Plaza.
Abbe School of Photonics now offers an opportunity for the students and lecturers in a digital twin environment of our real-world teaching facility in Jena: Gather.town!
Students on their arrival in Jena
A moodle-based collection of useful information for a successful start in the M.Sc. Photonics program.
The first online conference on digital education held in the Gather.town twin of the Abbe Center of Photonics powered by digiPHOTON.

Thanks to digiPHOTON...

  • The Abbe School of Photonics will permanently and successfully offer the fully digital international Master’s degree in Photonics on the global education market. 
  • Digital and intercultural competencies of teachers and students will be well established at the ASP. 
  • The digitalization of the M.Sc. Photonics program will lead to the participation of previously excluded students, e.g. with limited mobility. 
  • The digitalization of the M.Sc. Photonics program should lead to an increase in the quality and efficiency of teaching. 
  • The range of courses at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena will become increasingly digital and will make the study location more versatile and attractive.  
  • The documentation and dissemination of the digitalization experiences of the M.Sc. Photonics program at the ASP will contribute to the increasing digitalization. 
  • The development of a community of practice and transfer of experience to further digital master’s courses becomes possible.
Students on their arrival in Jena
Image: Johannes Kretschmar
Kickstarter Information Course
A moodle-based collection of useful information for a successful start in the M.Sc. Photonics program.
Demonstration of a virtual photonics lab.
Image: Steffen Walther.
AR/VR methods
Essential parts of the research-oriented training and central laboratory internships are currently being transferred to virtual rooms. Technologies and interaction schemes from virtual and augmented reality will be used. It will be possible to enter laboratories virtually and complete the training modules without the need for a real presence.
XRTL experiment sidview
Image: Clara Henkel
In order to facilitate remote students’ active participation in the laboratory experiments, a remotely controlled system will be developed in close collaboration with the Lichtwerkstatt Jena.
Scheme of the Lab Buddy System
Illustration: Fako Sojka
Lab Buddy System
Multiple cameras installed in the labs will get the students involved in the experiments, as well as communicate with the fellow students in the lab. It will also be possible for students to do adjustments required for the experiments via their computer.
The UC2 development team (from left to right) Benedict Diederich, René Lachmann and Barbora Maršíková.
Image: Leibniz-IPHT
A young research team from the Jena Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology has developed an optical kit (You.See.Too.) that can be used to build microscopes that deliver images as high-resolution as commercial microscopes. It is dispatched to the remote students and allows them to do experiments without needing to be physically present at our photonics labs.
ACP PI Prof. Malte Kaluza offering a hybrid lecture on ultrafast physics.
Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)
Hybrid Learning Solutions
Due to an increasing demand for hybrid and online lectures and seminars in the early days of the pandemic, the number of streaming-ready lecture halls at the FSU was not sufficient and could not be increased fast enough. To counter that, conference systems were installed in all seminar rooms of the ACP to enable bothe students, as well as lecturers to attend events remotely and interact with one another.
Graphic: Subham Adak
The first online conference on digital education held in the Gather.town twin of the Abbe Center of Photonics powered by digiPHOTON.
Claudia Rödl explaining fundamental math concepts in a hybrid lecture.
Image: Falko Sojka
Video Production
To prepare for future interruptions of the day-to-day studies, some core elements of the initial study phase, like the Prep Course Math, were recorded and edited with the help of our partners at the Max Planck School of Photonics to serve as backup learning material in case of lecture outages.
Jari Domke demonstrating ASP's streaming setup.
Image: Falko Sojka
This was made possible by Max Planck School's mobile streaming setup, which allows to create an environment for studio quality records including Green-Screen technology in nearly every location.

Educational Video Example:

Video: Falko Sojka, Animation: Fabian Lukas

Digital Community Interaction

Exclusive digitalization of the study program might not be enough to enable all students to acquire appropriate skills. Indeed, the loss of direct personal communication among the students and with the teachers has caused deficits in student efficiency and personal well-being during the Corona Semester.  

Due to the international aspect of the MSc Photonics, the support accompanying the course is of particular importance. This applies especially to digital distance learning in virtual space. In order to strengthen the social interaction and emotional ties of the students, there are some strategies that are currently being put into practice: 

  • A digital buddy program: every online student will be linked to a face-to-face student on various levels. 
  • Social networking with the teachers: Through offering online consultation hours and digital meet-the-prof evenings, it is aimed to strengthen the relationship between the professors and the students. 
  • Digital events: Virtual city tours in Jena and live stream visits to photonics trade fairs are planned as well as digital workshops that enable the transfer of competencies for the German study culture. 
  • Gather.town: In order to virtually connect, a video conferencing tool called Gather.town is used by our lecturers and students.

Expected Outputs of the Project

As part of the system accreditation of the courses at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the systematic evaluation of the courses from various perspectives is an integral part of the university culture. The digital teaching and learning formats are secured by the internal quality management of the university, describing a competence-based examination system, and guaranteeing legal security.  

digiPHOTON project outputs digiPHOTON project outputs Graphic: Elif Cevik


Falko SOJKA Falko SOJKA Image: Private

Dr. Falko SOJKA

Project team leader digiPHOTON
Phone:         +49 3641 9-47578
Email:          falko.sojka@uni-jena.de

Digitalization of the MSc Photonics course

Abbe Center of Photonics - Office 202