I am an alumni of a master of science course on solar energy engineering (previously called Master Online Photovoltaics) of Universiy of Freiburg in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. This is an online and part-time basis. However, I do not recommend this course (no matter the master degree or certificate) because this course is expensive but the teaching staff is irresponsible. Many of the lecture notes and tutorials are wrong and lecturers/tutors do not answer students' questions or answer it in months. Admininstrative and technical staff is incompetent and unprofessional. They do not care what your requests are and ignore them. Their organization and communication are awful even this course exists for many years. Their imcompetence cost me 2 jobs opportunities. My classmates and I complained about the administrative staff to the lecturer, who made this course happen, for years but nothing changed.
Later, a new administrative guy came and I related how irresponsible of the previous administrative and some teaching staff were. He just said "the management did not know it", so you can see these people just turned blind eyes of every problems. What's more, administrative staff pay students and alumni to recommend this course so do not trust this.
If you want to take part in this course, I suggest you not to waste your time and money on it. If you are already a student, I suggest you to transfer to other Universities. In fact, I
regret taking this couse and I am so ashamed of it. My comments are based on my experiences in this course. These experiences are quite long because I suffered from these people for years. I wrote them below in details. I show these to warn others not to fall into this trap. Nothing more.
1. For teaching staff:
a. Lecutures and tutors were not responsive and responsible. One of them never replied our questions during the semester and some of them replied in months. Two of them even was very arrogant. When my classmates and I first met one of the arrogant lecturers, he came in without greeting. He just sat on a chair and gave us a "don't waste my time/I don't care" face
and asked "what do you want to know". When it was time for me to write thesis, this was a disaster. Most of them did not care and did not reply. One replied and said he was not work
in the University anymore. I was finally offered one. But the professor just told me to come to Germany for around 2 weeks for computer setting and gave me some papers. Coming to Germany is expensive and he just did not organize what to teach. That wasted me time and money. After I was back to my city, this professor was always not responsive and he did not provide me with tutors. I did not understand basic theory. I tried to reach him for tutor and directions for my thesis. He sometimes just ignored what I wrote or replied one or two useless sentences after weeks or months. His students were also unbelievable, either ignored or guided me wrong. I complained to the administrative staff of this course about their unresponsive. But nothing was done. I had to submit my theis anyway. The administrative staff promised me that he would submit the thesis. I tried to reach on day of deadline too see if he submitted it. However. he did not reply for long that day. So I sent email to him that if he was not reply in the evening, my friend would do it for me. That administrative staff replied late that night and blamed me that I should not order/told him what to do. He also wrote in rude way that he would not told me the result if I did not pay all the tuition fee.
After I submitted my first thesis, the staff in exam office told me about my supervisor was that administrative staff. I realized I had supervisor that time. But that supervisor did nothing to supervise me. You can see how chaotic these people were. Worst of all, this so-called supervisor told me that I was fail about my first thesis and he blamed me everything and wrote something ridiculous like, "oh you were busy about your job so you did not do your thesis and are failed. You will have another topic from the same professor. Remember to submit what you do every 2 weeks." I scarified my job when I did the thesis and I did not have any useful support. If I accepted this unresponsive professor's second thesis and even I submitted every 2 weeks and he took weeks or months to reply (I am certain he will do it again), I really couldn't graduate. I needed a master degree for my career development. So I refused to work with unresponsive professor again and I told this so-called supervisor I wanted another thesis topic from another professor. This so-called supervisor refused to find it for me in a very rude way in email that I had to find it myself. But remember how other lecturers did not reply before. So I told him I did it before and I could not find one. After pleading (yes, they were wrong and I needed to plead), I was offered another topic from another professor. And it was the worst experience I ever had. This so-called supervisor supervised my second thesis and he kept being irresponsible and incompetence. Once he told me to find faults about assumptions of certain theory for next meeting. I presented to him during next meeting. But, he replied that "Oh no, I wanted you to find any leakage current." And then told me that even I found leakage current,
it is not related to my thesis. And in the later meetings, he kept doing that: told me to do something this meeting and then next meeting told me he wanted to do something else last time. Once he told me to wrote some theories in my thesis and later I did it and sent him. He replied "why did you do that?". He never made himself clear what to do and I had to guess what
to do from his riddles. I told him many times that I did not want to guess his riddles for what to do and he kept doing so. Once we talked many parameters in the meeting and later in the email. He suddenly wrote some riddles and I did not understand so I asked in emailed twice about what he wanted me to do. He just replied with other riddles "look at the
formula in the book pagexxx (but these is no formula)" and "that formula is somwhere else, you find it yourself". Next meeting I confronted him about his riddles and he kept being
irresponsible and said "Why don't you ask if you don't understand". But I really asked him twice. And this guy was always late for our meeting and made me late for my work. Once he was very late and he wrote me that "I have to chat with friend" and kept me waiting. He also did not attend the meeting and no email told me what happened before and just gone. I had to email his colleague to find him. That was not happened once. Before few days of submission, he emailed to
ridicule me that I cannot solve certain equations and told me to accept it.
Worst of all, he guided me wrong for many months because he cannot understand correctly what's the papers say. This thesis is just 15 credits (half of the usuall thesis). And there are rules in exam office that students can have 6 months to do and they cannot do anything about it before the starting date. However, because of his irresponsibility and he cannot comprehend certain papers and he was not familiar with the subject. I had to do over a year. I figured it out now why he wasted so much of my time. There were very few students join this course over the years and he wanted to make this course to look better/more successful as a new administrative guy. He wanted more students in this course. Once method is keeping existing student staying. That's way he told me to give 500 EUR per semester and stay as student as long as I want. But I refused as I have my own career development.
b. Lecturers were not serious on the subject matters. Some of the lectures notes and tutorials were wrong. There was a Maths course, I found many mistakes in every tutorials. There was a course taking little bit about dipole-dipole attraction and organic bonding such high school chemistry knowledge. However, the the lecturer did not check his lecture notes when he made it so there were mistakes and the lecturer did not correct it. He just told us it would not be in the exam.
Another ridiculous tutors even cannot explain p-type or n-type semicondutors.
2. For administrative staff:
a. The previous administrative staff was incompetent. There was a male administrative staff replied student's enquiries in months. Once, after months of finishing previous semester,
I needed my exam results to apply a job. I emailed him I need my exam result ASAP. He sent it over a month. I lost this job opportunity.
b. There was a new administrative woman. She delayed sending my degree certificate. No apology and being arrogant that "I did not know you changed your email address and I am busy". But I had already told another administrative staff a year ago.
3. For technical staff:
a. There were problems in online platforms and meetings, either we cannot hear what others said or we cannot typed there. It happened for years.
b. Technical staff did not alert others when there was changes in software settings. He even did not know there was VPN for connecting the University and students at home. Which made
us cannot reach certain books and papers and slowing down our learning and he doesn't care.
c. His software settings was not the same as the software provider. That caused chaos and troubles and he kept being irresponsible that "I don't know".
You may think that there are new tutors and lecturers so you may give them a chance and join it. But people here allow these ridicules happened for long before, they can make it happen again. Hope my experiences and advice help making your decisions.
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