Distance learning in a three-country network
After the foundation of the Zentralstelle für Fernstudien an Fachhochschulen in 1995, the legal basis for cross-state cooperation between the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland was created with the ratification of the "State Treaty on Distance Learning at Universities of Applied Sciences" in 1998. This was the official start of the ZFH association. On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the ZFH was given a new, contemporary name and a new logo on 12 September 2018, emphasising the idea of the association and reflecting the changes within the higher education landscape: zfh - Zentrum für Fernstudien im Hochschulverbund. The new name is currently being implemented successively in all communication channels and information materials.
The development over the past 20 years shows that the founding fathers of the zfh network had the right instinct for a forward-looking task: In the meantime, more than 6,700 students are enrolled annually in more than 100 distance learning programmes at 21 participating universities. In the course of its 20-year existence, the ZFH distance learning association has developed into the largest provider of accredited distance learning study courses at universities of applied sciences in Germany .
While in the first years of its existence the cooperation of the zfh distance learning network concentrated on the universities of applied sciences in the three participating states and the first distance learning courses in technical and economic subjects were set up at the universities of applied sciences in Trier, Koblenz, Giessen-Friedberg and Kaiserslautern, from 2005 onwards, as the range of courses grew, cooperation with universities from other states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Bavaria and Berlin was increasingly added. The first joint project was the distance learning programme in computer science. A particularly successful model is the BASA university network, in which the universities in Fulda, Koblenz, Wiesbaden, Münster, Potsdam, Berlin and Munich have joined forces for the distance learning course BASA-online (Bachelor of Arts: Social Work), which is completed with a consecutive Master's degree - also in the university network.
In view of demographic developments, the zfh association's goal in continuously expanding its distance learning repertoire is to promote greater permeability, openness and better interlinking between the education systems and to meet the growing demand for higher qualifications.
Our partners: The universities of applied sciences
The 15 universities of applied sciences in the three states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland together with the Zentrum für Fernstudien im Hochschulverbund form the zfh distance learning network. Furthermore, for some distance learning courses there are additional cooperations with a total of five other universities in the states of Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that 21 universities are now participating in the zfh distance learning network. International cooperations, such as the one between Koblenz university of applied sciences and a provider of day-care facilities for children at the Vienna location, open the way to distance learning for new target groups.