Even when the world wasn’t in a state of crisis, B-schools frequently incorporated changes so that students are exposed to salient examples of business problems. A practice that has continued throughout. The onslaught of COVID-19 simply accelerated it.
In no time, B-schools restructured to build an ecosystem of virtual teaching and learning. Leveraging technology, classes were moved from face-to-face to an online mode. With teaching and learning taking place digitally, the new priority has been to facilitate a digital infrastructure with high-speed internet to conduct online training for students and faculty. The faculty and students are trained proactively via online platforms such as Google CLASS, Google Meet, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and several others. A Standard Operating Procedure on how to conduct classes was chalked that is reviewed, updated, and circulated from time to time.
For enhanced student engagement, innovative teaching methodologies are being implemented to make learning effective. Faculty members have created interactive PPTs, use simulations, and initiate case discussions to recreate ‘experiential learning’ in the absence of a physical classroom. Adding to these, live or recorded video sessions and podcasts are some of the other ways incorporated in the teaching-learning module to drive students’ interest in what is being taught online. Sometimes, surprise “all video-on” calls are also conducted by the faculty to ensure all students are present and attentive during the classes.
Management institutes are facilitating the latest technological gadgets such as digital pens, pads, touch screen laptops, and reliable internet to conduct online education seamlessly.
Almost all B-schools are re-designing courses, evaluation parameters as well as admission processes. Several online short-term certificate courses are being offered to meet the ever-changing industry-specific requirements. The online model of education has certainly brought more flexibility in terms of scheduling the classes. It also allows students to hold discussions with faculty members as well as industry leaders from across the world, irrespective of their geographical location.
Owing to the ongoing situation, where social distancing is the need of the hour, physical exams or written aptitude tests are unlikely for a foreseeable future. The institutes are considering the possibility of AI-based exam proctoring. Despite the online system has its benefits, institutes are taking precautionary steps such as routine quality audits to eliminate any sort of online security issue.
Though late, B schools are now commencing the new academic year for aspirants. New batches have been inducted virtually and majority of the classes will still be conducted online. Of course, the holistic experience of studying at the campus is still an important part in a student’s life. However, this is witnessing a paradigm shift. Blended learning is on the cards of many B-schools as the new teaching module in the near future.
Sadly, students of pandemic-batch would regret missing activity clubs, conferences, and several events that play an important role in personality development. Student-exchange and faculty-exchange programmes have been affected due to the ban on travel.
But, B-schools are leaving no stone unturned. Virtual live sessions on skill development are conducted with industry leaders and domain experts to impart training so that students develop relevant skills on futuristic technologies. Students are also connecting with peers from other B-school institutes in India and abroad as well as alumni groups to discuss on future prospects of collaborative research on emerging subjects in the COVID-hit world.
So far, we have realized that so much disruption has already taken place across all sectors. A lot has also changed in terms of management education too. With stronger emergence of ‘education from anywhere’, B-schools have certainly paved a new path to impart high-quality management education in the post-COVID era.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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