Online Teaching in Times of COVID-19

Business Education, News from GBSN

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause disruption to the education industry.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many educational institutions around the globe to move online in just a matter of days. While many administrators have thought or hoped that this situation is going to be short-lived, the current developments indicate the opposite: online teaching is here to stay. With this realization, pressure by faculty and students mounts for administrators to step up their online game and to improve the experience for their faculty and students. Business schools have an important role to play during these uncertain times.

As part of GBSN’s commitment to providing a platform for digital information sharing and learning across our industry, we have been hosting a series of webinars focused on how schools are dealing with challenges relating to the coronavirus pandemic. With borders closing and social distancing being encouraged, we have been working on different ways to leverage technology to keep our network connected.

GBSN, in partnership with EFMD and XOLAS, presented a webinar on April 1st, Stepping Up Your Online Game. The webinar featured a panel discussion moderated by Benjamin Stévenin, CEO of RimaOne and Founding Parter of XOLAS and featured panelists: Mark Fenton O’Creevy, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, The Open University and Martin Boehm, Dean, IE Business School. The webinar attracted over 200 educators from across the globe to discuss the steps an educational institution has to take to becoming an online powerhouse.

How do you set up active learning?

The webinar panelists emphasized that tactics used for face to face teaching cannot be simply transferred to the online environment. It is important to balance synchronous and asynchronous activities and really think about what opportunities the online environment offers you.

According to Prof O’Creevy, some of the older technologies are actually helpful. Synchronous tools, like the Zoom platform, are not always the correct tools to use. There are some big advantages to using asynchronous tools, like messaging platforms. The reflective quality of student’s thinking improves in the asynchronous environment; you have fewer problems with single individuals dominating discussions. As a result, students prepare before they begin interacting. Achieving that balance of synchronous and asynchronous is really important. Students are much less tolerant with online lectures than they are with face to face lectures. Divide lectures into small chunks and incorporate them into other activities.

To wrap up the webinar, the panelists discussed best practices in terms of delivering assessments. In the short term, Prof O’Creevy notes The Open University is doing one of two things: dropping the exam and using the continuous assessment as the evaluation tool across the course, or in some cases, they are replacing the exam with an end of module assessment that is similar to an in-course assignment. At IE Business School, Dean Boehm explains that faculty typically already use more project-based assessments. They have encouraged faculty to consider other options like, project submissions, continuous assessments, open book exams at end of the course. IE also tries to leverage some technological tools in order to monitor students within the assessment environment, like ProctorU, which provides secure live and automated online proctoring services for academic institutions and professional organizations. There are many different tools like ProtcorU that can tackle different issues.

For schools that have less resources available, the panelists offered the below advice:

  • Important to understand that the pedagogy and learning design is more important than the technology
  • You can still do a good job teaching online with simple tools
  • In terms of online interaction, there are many tools that are easily accessible and free
  • Leverage what you already have available
  • Technology should not be a barrier

One thing is clear, there is no universal solution. Rely on ingenuity and experience as educators instead of relying too much on the technology. Educators across the globe must continue to learn from each other and adopt best practices to their own environments. To watch the full webinar discussion, visit the GBSN Youtube Channel.

Up next, we have a webinar on Coronavirus and Careers for Business Graduates that will address questions like:

  • How have business schools and universities adapted as the world locks down in response to the Coronavirus outbreak?
  • What are the implications in the near and long term?

Join us Thursday, April 16th at 8:00am ET for this timely webinar featuring people on the front lines of this change, trying to maintain and create opportunities for business graduates globally.

For more information on upcoming webinars and resources please visit: https://gbsn.org/businessschools_coronavirus/

For more information and resources please visit: https://gbsn.org/businessschools_coronavirus/


Nicole Zefran is the Assistant Director of Communications and Membership at the Global Business School Network.