EBSdigital: Executive Education in the Home Office
Already at the beginning of March it became clear that the Corona crisis would bring its own challenges for professionals. Long before the whole of Germany began to distance itself socially and thus to move into the home office, employees willing to undergo further education were already restricted - in many cases by unprecedented travel bans and the employer’s requirement to reduce meetings outside the home office to the absolute minimum. It soon became clear that various EBS Executive School programmes with block seminars or even programme starts on our university campus in the Rheingau region would probably be affected until May 2020.
The second attendance phase of the “General Management Programme”, which was freshly launched in February, represents a particular challenge. In five seminar blocks, 13 participants in the programme will work out the basics for successfully competing in the VUCA (business) world. The majority of participants take the programme as a compulsory module for a Master’s degree in an economic discipline at EBS University.
Here, a rethink had to be made and the programme was redesigned in the already ongoing process. At EBS Executive School, blended learning has been at the heart of the learning concepts for some time now. For many participants - alongside renowned lecturers from academia and practice - this is a decisive factor in choosing this part-time certificate programme. “Due to the modern orientation in the mix of methods, our continuing education students are familiar with e-learning and had little difficulty in completing the second seminar block in their home offices instead of in Oestrich-Winkel in the Rheingau,” reports GMP Programme Manager Ingrid Petri. “Lecturers and participants quickly got used to the online lectures. Thanks to the alternative solutions in the virtual room, we were even able to carry out small group work wonderfully - and when questions arose, the lecturer was simply called into the virtual work room of the respective teams with a click of the mouse.
Professor Rolf Tilmes, Deputy Head of the EBS Executive School, knows that it wasn’t quite as easy as it seemed on the surface for the participants. “The team around Programme Director Jasmin Engel worked hard to make sure that all participants had access to the online lectures. In the background, curricula were rewritten, professors were trained in the new technology and online interactions such as the integration of the chat function, the use of small group rooms or even ad-hoc visualisations of the lecturers via second camera were tried out in test runs. I am very happy about the positive feedback we received from our participants regarding this online seminar block”.
This creates the basis for learning and working under the completely changed conditions in the EBS University executive education. Further online seminar units of programmes - such as the contact study Immobilienökonomie, which starts on 20 April - will follow the online concept. Together we will meet this challenge and perhaps ask ourselves in retrospect whether the crisis - despite all its difficult circumstances and consequences - has not caused exactly the same thing in every single one of us that is at the heart of all of our “General Management”: seeing difficulties as opportunities and growing with challenges.
In this time during the biggest global pandemic since the Spanish flu, we are all challenged to slow the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. EBS Universität would like to make its contribution to this and has been offering courses since Monday, 16 March 2020 until further notice completely in the form of interactive video or audio conferences and e-learning, in which students interact directly with their professors, have room for discussion and there is basically no difference to a normal lecture (except presence). In this way, we fully maintain the lectures. These measures enable us to ensure that students can complete their semester or studies on time as planned. The safety and health of the EBS community and all visitors is of utmost importance to EBS University. We have been actively following developments since the first reports of the SARS-Cov-2 based disease in China. So far, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of the disease at our university or in its environment. We continue to consider personal contact with students to be an important part of a successful study program and a successful start: all employees and professors can be reached by phone, e-mail or video call - in the home office or as the last remaining person from the office.