How Business Schools are responding to COVID-19 – examples from the PRME community (updated regularly)

I will be updating this blog post with any additional insights, examples and tips Schools send me as they come to hand, so please check back regularly. If you would like to add your examples to share with the community, or if you have an example you would like featured in a post, please contact me.

Included in this post are examples organised under the following categories:

  1. Organising and communicating your institutional response
  2. Moving everything online
  3. Supporting the transition
  4. Assessment
  5. Working from home
  6. Supporting your staff, colleagues and students
  7. Curriculum change
  8. Research
  9. Helping industry partners and the wider community
  10. Your health and wellbeing
  11. Moving forwards

 

Organising and communicating your institutional response

Our Campus is closed since 13th of March after a member of our student community tested positive for COVID-19. Nova SBE immediately activated a Contingency Plan for COVID-19. This includes a Crisis Team that meets daily. PORTUGAL Luis Velga Martins, Nova School of Business and Economics

We have a Risk Management Committee implemented and active, directly linked to the Presidency and composed by the Institution’s board of directors, managers of strategic areas, the legal office and the Press Office. In the specific case of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, even before the official shutdown announcements from the federal, state and municipal governments, the Committee had already defined its Contingency Plan including mapping the current situation of the institution areas and potential risks, definition of scenarios and actions to prevent the spread of the virus, among other initiatives including daily meetings to update and manage the crisis. BRAZIL, ISAE

Glasgow Caledonian University is providing a whole range of support for the GCU community, with daily communications to ensure that staff and students are well informed of what is a fast-moving situation. The GCU response is being led by GCU Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies. SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

 Our acting Exec Dean of the Business School, Professor Andrew Beer, has provided the below. The University of South Australia is taking a student-centred approach in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.  In our communications with students and staff we have emphasised their mental and physical health, and we have worked, and continue to work, to ensure the continuity of their learning journey through a transfer of teaching to on-line elements wherever possible.  We have reached out to both course work and research students to provide them with the resources they need to maintain their studies and their health, and we have provided counselling and other supports where needed.   Finally, we have ensured that course co-ordinators reach out to their classes on a regular basis, and this takes place in addition to university-wide correspondence. AUSTRALIA, Juliette East, UniSA Business School

Moving everything online

From about March 16th 2020, universities in the United Kingdom started to announce plans to switch all teaching from face-to-face to online. Some Institutions did this more or less overnight – but some others ‘paused’ for one week to allow for the roll-out of online faculty development workshops for those with little or no experience of online teaching. As of w/c March 23rd universities also asked all but key staff (e.g. some payroll and some security) to work from home – switching all meetings from face-to-face to online. SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

At La Trobe Business School, most content is blended so all blended/online is available to all of our students and partners. Lectures are being recorded or older recordings are being used to supplement workshop and blended material. We are using Zoom for meetings and classes. Professional staff have been testing working from home to prepare for campus closure. AUSTRALIA, Suzanne Young, La Trobe Business School

In my postgraduate Principles for Responsible Management unit I’ve been running synchronous face-to-face and online lectures/seminars via Zoom with as much F2F and online interaction via breakout groups as possible. In the future, my lectures will likely move to online only via a combination of both Zoom video recording and Universal Capture (Echo360) which will in some respects make the task of lecturing a little easier. AUSTRALIA, David Webb, University of Western Australia

My personal working day is very much the same, with the major difference being increased use of technology to interact with students (we use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra); with faculty and staff colleagues (now using Microsoft Teams); and with PRE colleagues around the world (using the trusty Zoom technology). The advantage of this mode of working is saved travel time – meaning greater productivity!  However, it is very important to ensure I get up from my computer at regular intervals to go outside, walk round the garden or take al longer walk in nearby nature! and no shortage of information available on the University website and on an array of media channels (e.g. BBC). SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

We’ve had a lot of support in switching to online, both before the closure, which was widely anticipated, and afterwards. The library is being outstanding in offering online resources to student and faculty. Practical ones in terms of going online are fairly well-documented: zoom, big blue button, the SDG academy, etc. Social media and social networks are important as long as well-curated for negativity and rumours. The best resources are friends, really, many of whom are also colleagues. IRELAND, Sheila Killian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

All seminars are moved into online mode through the Blackboard Collaborate (BbC).We are exploring alternative options for online lectures including having faculty attend the lecture theatre as per normal with no students and record lecture, use Kaltura Capture, record and upload via Deakin Video and/or Use Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom to live lecture. AUSTRALIA, Deakin University

Supporting the transition

I am not currently teaching but as the management discipline leader and one of the few who teach solely online, I have been supporting others. The collegial learning and teaching community at the school, institutional and academy level is really growing roots. We have moved meetings to Teams or Zoom; I have been meeting with post-graduate students and industry partners on Teams, then moving between Skype, and Zoom to meet with cross-institutional colleagues for research projects. Colleagues are pushing their learning curve to shift to the online context and helping them gives me both satisfaction and guilty as I enjoy working remotely. AUSTRALIA, Heather Stewart, Griffith University

Our professors, IT and pedagogical innovation teams work together non-stop to put fast and efficient tools into place.  We already manage 50 virtual classes, across all our programs, each day. In addition to this, we provide daily language classes and coaching in small groups via our applications. To keep our professors, coaches and personnel updated and supported – and therefore to ensure the smooth-running of all programs – our Support and Internal Communications teams send out daily communications to the Toulouse Business School community. Support for teaching staff and academic teams, video tutorials, applications for distance teaching and assessments and feedback exchange. FRANCE, Toulouse Business School

As a Business Faculty, we are using a range of responses to ensure the learning environment for our students is consistent and equally as enjoyable. We are very mindful of the different type of learners and ensuring equality is focus when looking at tools and techniques for remote use. This includes a number of delivery platforms including Zoom which allows for break-out rooms, Web-ex for instant chat messaging and whiteboard facilities, Webinars and Universal Captures. For some students, this is there first remote lecture experience and so supporting each other is crucial. Experiments and innovative ideas are free-flowing at the moment and our PRME principles are being realised at this time with dialogue and partnerships crucial to ensuring our values, methods and principles stay our highest priority. AUSTRALIA, University of Wollongong

All students who could not return to campus for classes from December were organised as a separate cohort and online material provided. AUSTRALIA, Suzanne Young, La Trobe Business School

Assessment

The assessment of the class will likely change as well from a F2F invigilated format to online to possibly via short-essay type questions, MCQ etc. Team based project work had already begun so many students using tools such as WeChat, Google Docs, Discussion forums on LMS (Blackboard), Skype, facetime etc. according to their preference to communicate with each other. Project teams are mostly either Perth-based or Overseas-based, but there are examples of students forming teams with a mix of Perth-based and overseas. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m getting there. AUSTRALIA, David Webb, University of Western Australia

Working with my academic and industry colleagues in their transition to online is a bonus. In one situation we brainstormed doing a supplementary exam off campus which resulted in Teams based viva presentations. Whilst not a long-term solution (large first year course), it is an immediate and positive experience.AUSTRALIA, Heather Stewart, Griffith University

Suggested alternatives for exam that are authentic in nature and more applied include alternative assessment (essay etc), online exam (open for a certain period of time), take home exam, online quiz, oral defence/presentation of content. AUSTRALIA, Deakin University

Our Vice Chancelor and the university as a whole, have done a great job as far as regular updates are concerned, including any major developments (as they occur) in relation to the evolving COVID-19 situation. The University of Adelaide has remained open and classes have continued including provision of essential services, however we have recognised that many students want to have a choice about whether or not to participate in campus life at this time. Tutorials and classes moving online. Assessment of attendance at tutorials and other classes abolished. Practical classes are being reconfigured, which are critical to our world class education. AUSTRALIA, Adrijana Asceric, Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide

Working from home

We moved our global workforce to remote work, we provide daily mindfulness sessions to keep people healthy and connected. We are also soliciting data from remote workers to better understand the implications of this level of remote work. And we are supporting our alumni community on-the-ground responses through our Project GreenCross. For more visit http://www.inse.ad/coronavirus for more. FRANCE, INSEAD

Jon Foster-Pedley, Dean and director at Henley Business School Africa discussed how students and workers can meet their deadlines and also become productive during the lock-down in a radio interview. SOUTH AFRICA, Henley Business School

We have created a dedicated Working from Home site established to assist staff to work from home.AUSTRALIA, Deakin University

Supporting your staff, colleagues and students

To support our staff through this uncertain time, a number of additional benefits are available, specifically a temporary additional paid leave benefit is available to continuing and fixed-term staff members, under certain conditions, in circumstances where they may have contracted COVID-19, are awaiting test results for COVID-19, or are caring for others in this situation. Further, the University is sympathetic to the uncertainty experienced by our casual staff so they have decided to extend salary assurances under certain conditions to casual staff, to ensure their livelihoods are impacted as little as possible. AUSTRALIA, Adrijana Asceric, Adelaide Business School

Our pedagogical and administrative teams remain active by working remotely. We have set up an emergency procedure to pay our suppliers’ invoices for deliveries or services. We will process these invoices it as soon as possible in this constrained context. FRANCE, Grenoble Ecole de Management

RANEPA has its own medical center, all student who live on campus (note: all international students live on campus) are visited by a doctor immediately if they have any symptoms or complaints. RUSSIAN FEDERATION, IBS-Moscow

Look out for vulnerable colleagues and students, and adapt your approach accordingly. SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

Curriculum change

We have been using a Reimage Education Award-winning (Bronze Award in Oceania) learning tool about sustainability challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals for several years now.  The initial motivation to develop this VR-based learning tool about a remote island in Fiji was to give students a real feel of sustainability and climate change challenges through the perspectives of a local Fijian community without the need to produce Greenhouse Gas emissions to travel there.  This tool is now key in a course on Sustainable Destination Management where it allows students to stay connected to the case study site in the Pacific, despite the travel restrictions, and to continue working on their decision-forcing group project about this remote Fijian island and its sustainability and tourism pressures.  As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve the learning tool usually run from university computers has been made available for students to download on to their home computers so that they can visit the Fijian island, its community, and pristine beaches from the comfort of their home. SDG4 in action. NEW ZEALAND, Christian Schott, Wellington School of Business and Government

Research

A subcommittee established to coordinate all activities centrally and be a conduit for researchers to raise potential issues, seek guidance on the complex challenges we face and to identify and pre-empt potential issues before they occur. AUSTRALIA, Deakin University

Our research activities do not stand still, the exchange with the research partners was simply integrated into the virtual room. In this way knowledge can continue to be generated for our region and Switzerland.SWITZERLAND, Grisons University of Applied Sciences

Helping industry partners and the wider community

I reviewed learning management systems with an industry colleague who needs to take their employee training and development online straightaway to maintain the organisation culture they have worked hard to create. AUSTRALIA, Heather Stewart, Griffith University

To give leaders insight into how a health crisis can impact business, we are curating expertise from different angles of business research and publishing relevant articles on our INSEAD Knowledge platform. INSEAD faculty have extensive expertise on humanitarian response and healthcare, which we put into the public domain to guide leaders. We are also launching a series of open webinars on navigating the COVID-19 crisis. As a school, we want to lead by example and approach every moment with academic perspective. FRANCE, INSEAD

There are plans while we’re closed to open a field hospital on campus, to add capacity to our health system. I like the idea of using the closed university facilities for wider social good, as is planned in our place (the idea of a field hospital). IRELAND, Sheila Killian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

A large free vaccination campaign is being carried out by the Fiep System to prevent outbreaks of influenza and minimize the impact of misdiagnosis. BRAZIL, Fiep System

A number of grass roots initiatives have emerged from this crisis. For example, one community member was involved in setting up the CareMongeringGuelph Facebook page highlighting community of care and support initiatives. Another initiative that has recently emerged is the development of the webpage GuelphCoronavirus.ca which lists resources available to the community. CANADA, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph

Stockholm School of Economics chose to leave the campus open, because the spacious and airy facilities can be a much better alternative for students compared to crowded cafes and dormitories. However, access was restricted for all, students and staff, with any respiratory symptoms. SWEDEN. Maria Perrotta Berlin, Stockholm School of Economics

In terms of the wider community, the campus is open for the public, as it’s a beautiful big green space and it’s a great place for people to get outside and walk, while observing social distance. IRELAND, Sheila Killian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

Your health and wellbeing

Of particular interest to colleagues in PRME Institutions may be the “Health and Well-Being” Coronavirus advice, support and guidance that has been put in place for staff during what is a challenging time.  GCU is providing staff and students with access to apps, podcasts, resources and self-help guides. For more details click here. SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

In these difficult times, it takes a lot of mental effort, to try to stay in the present moment. Yesterday was the spring equinox here and noticing spring unfolding in the garden and bird song plus delight (for once) in modern age technology which means I can see and hear family, friends and colleagues! It is also time to do the things that you may have put off – time for writing those papers etc. UK, Carole Parkes, University of Winchester

Keep calm, and carry on! Embrace the change – hopefully aspects of it will become more permanent!  Get on with it – ensuring to get plenty of fresh air, spend time with family, and use ‘home’ time to do additional research!  When the going gets tough, the tough get going!! SCOTLAND, Alec Wersun, Glasgow Caledonian University

This too will pass! We need to mind our mental health and that of our students, to avoid fixating on virus-watch on tv and social media, to keep our personal contacts to an absolute minimum, and wash our hands! IRELAND, Sheila Killian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

Think positive and stay at home for not getting infected or do not infect others. It is the time for reflection, to analyze all the consequences of this situation and re-start. PORTUGAL Luis Velga Martins, Nova School of Business and Economics

It is important to keep the focus on what’s important, chiefly health (own and near ones’ including students and colleagues) and the preservation of society. Everybody will be patient with deadlines that are not met, quality that is not as high as usual and so on. SWEDEN, Maria Perrotta Berlin, Stockholm School of Economics

Moving forwards

This does give pause, and there will be quite a lot of reflection on our priorities long-term when this is all over. IRELAND, Sheila Killian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

We should share experiences and learnings of this unexpectable situation. And with a firm focus to keep committed with the decade of action. It is not the time to reduce the pressure on the 2030 Agenda just before the dramatic event. It is time to learn from this tragic crisis! We will survive!!! Let me share with you this fabulous text: The crisis according to Albert Einstein (1955)The crisis is the greatest blessing for people and nations because the crisis brings progress. Creativity comes from anxiety as the day comes from the dark night. E ‘in the crisis that is inventiveness, discoveries, and great strategies. Who overcomes crisis overcomes himself without being ‘passed’. Who gives the crisis its failures and difficulties, violent his own talent and gives more value to the solutions to the problems. The real crisis is the crisis of incompetence. ‘Inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness in seeking solutions and ways out. Without crisis there are no challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow agony. Without crisis there is no merit. In crisis emerges the best of each, because without crisis all winds are only mild breezes. Talk of crisis means increasing it, and be silent in the crisis is to exalt conformism. Instead, we work hard. Let us stop, once and for all with the only dangerous crisis, which is the tragedy of not being willing to overcome.” PORTUGAL Luis Velga Martins, Nova School of Business and Economics

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