AUC School of Business Executive Education Shifts to Live Online Learning
With the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak and campus closures worldwide, education institutions are confronted with a new normal to which they have to adapt. The AUC School of Business Executive Education introduced live online learning for the first time, to continue providing learners with the knowledge to navigate the uncertainty.
While the outbreak of COVID-19 was an unanticipated form of disruption that brought about instantaneous changes, the AUC School of Business Executive Education remained determined to deliver cutting-edge knowledge for its participants, particularly during such uncertainty. Confronted with one of two choices: to freeze 40 running programs (consisting of 1200 participants) or to shift online for the first time, the team took the leap and shifted to online learning!
Given the AUC campus closure, the School of Business Executive Education team utilized the university state of the art infrastructure to ensure the continuation of the programs seamlessly, yet in a different format. A two-week transition period, starting March 22, ensured a smooth move, during which instructors received a series of training sessions on the new learning platforms to be utilized and were provided with flexible training schedules to ensure their availability, also allowing them to repeat the sessions when needed. 38 instructors went through 4 consecutive orientation programs, divided into 2, and in some instances, 3, cohorts.
Other than the technological navigation of the platform, instructors were supplied with resources on how to run interactive online classes and tools that would engage participants. In addition, support groups were established to provide one-on-one coaching upon request.
Participants were presented with a choice of proceeding virtually with their programs, or receiving a refund for their course fees if they don’t wish to proceed. Trusting in their instructors and in the institution, 99% of participants opted to continue, with only 8 discontinuing the program for the time being, out of 540 current participants.
Before the official start of virtual classes, a one-hour trial session for each program was held to break the ice, discuss concerns and questions, reassure participants, as well as familiarize and orient both participants and instructors as a ‘pilot’ run of the class.
Just one month after campus shutdown, 20 courses are already running online through live virtual learning platforms, namely Zoom and Blackboard’s Collaborate tool for Moodle, with the remaining courses to be incrementally introduced online by the end of April.
Until that time, continuous feedback and assessment will be collected from instructors and participants through anonymous surveys to determine the overall effectiveness of the new learning methods.
Furthermore, as a form of quality assurance, each course session is attended by two staff members as co-hosts to monitor the classes and ensure high standards of program delivery, while providing any needed technical or logistical-related support.
Just a few months ago, in December, the AUC School of Business Executive Education had unveiled its new revamped programs, marking the start of a new chapter replacing the previously operating one-size-fits-all model to a more focused progressive programs portfolio.
Today, with the widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the structure of operation and teaching methodology are yet again being re-invented and revamped to remain relevant to the needs of the market and provide the best-in-class executive education. Being agile and adapting to change are essential skills that executives are taught to master, and the AUC School of Business Executive Education aims to lead by example.