EBSdigital: Studying during the Corona Crisis
At the beginning of March my coming weeks promised to be full of variety and I was looking forward to it. After some final exams and appointments, I was supposed to travel to Munich to start an internship with a US law firm. I wanted to focus on internal investigations, compliance and dispute resolution. Instead, I’m now at home in a rural region of Central Hesse and constantly washing my hands.
Why? On the one hand, and obviously: Because Sars-CoV-2 has almost completely shut down public life. The novel virus dominates politics, media and society, more or less differentiated, committed, alarmed. And intervenes deeply in all our lives. On the other hand, I can also write this text because at least we students - who are not working in a medical or everyday care sector or who have to look after fellow human beings - suddenly “gain” a lot of time. Events have been postponed, unnecessary appointments canceled and the few remaining ones often run more efficiently. The fact that this is possible and that we have been able to use comprehensive online sessions since mid-March is mainly thanks to our IT department. This makes, in retrospect, all the earlier arguments against online teaching and meetings seem more petty. Perhaps this can be one of the few positive aspects of that time: to think more carefully in the future about what “really can’t be done” - inside and outside the university.
This crisis is certainly one of the biggest in the history of Germany. To see the people sitting in cafés, strolling in parks or, even better, barbecuing there in the evening was therefore even more irritating. This ruthlessness and arrogance sadly reveal why so many restrictions are needed, why assemblies have to be banned and factories closed. This is a bitter experience for a democracy such as the German one, which - not least because of its historical responsibility - is particularly careful to protect the freedom of all citizens. I was therefore particularly pleased that many of my fellow students in social media took a position against such behavior. Our student representatives also warned against “corona parties”.
Last year, EBS focused its research on the topic of “uncertainty”. If there has been one thing we were in recent days, it was precisely that: insecure. Like most universities, we too have gradually tightened regulations, canceled events and restricted campus life. These are times when everyone is “driving on sight”. It was difficult to make the right decision between maintaining the community we are so proud of under the motto EBSpirit and the goal of protecting the health of the university family. In our everyday university life, we were able to experience this: Some of us wanted to write our final exams with reference to our professional future (while maintaining high distance limits, as is now practiced in the Abitur), while others preferred not to leave their own home for weeks.
Looking back, I think three things are important. Firstly, that all those affected by Corona-related measures are lenient with the decision-makers. Secondly, that those responsible respect (also emotional) criticism and rely on direct communication, even if it leads to redundancies and a high time burden. And thirdly, that, as EBS President Markus Ogorek recently put it, “rules are there for people - and not the other way around”. In other words, that everyone makes their contribution now; whether - as a matter of course - to contain the virus or even just within the university, when it comes to allaying fears among fellow students about postponed exams and closed libraries. I am particularly looking forward to the online lectures that will begin in a few weeks’ time, and at the same time I am optimistic that we, as fellow students, will remain digitally networked despite social distancing.
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.