COVID-19 SKEMA Among the First Global Business Schools to Offer All Courses Online in Five Continents

PARIS, March 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With the temporary closure of SKEMA’s Suzhou campus in China in mid-January, SKEMA had already set up a comprehensive distance learning system to ensure the continuity of studies for its 550 students present on the campus at that time. Since then, they have continued their programme from home. 

At the time, it was a question of continuing the delivery of 10 different programmes at this campus. Today, a hundred students are still in China and continuing their studies via total distance learning.

70 programmes moved to distance-learning mode  

After the recent announcements regarding the closure of higher education institutions in France, followed by the USA, Brazil and South Africa where SKEMA has established its campuses, SKEMA rapidly switched to a “100%” remote teaching mode.

Within a short time, SKEMA has managed to operate all of its programmes via distance learning. Across the school’s seven campuses, this impacts nearly 70 different programmes, some of which are made up of multiple groups.

“In total, we deliver an average of 250 different courses every day. By the end of the semester in April, more than 6,000 sessions will be delivered to nearly 7,000 students,” said Patrice Houdayer, director of programmes, international and student life at SKEMA Business School.

Microsoft Office resources in pole position

SKEMA’s strategic agreement with Microsoft enables us to implement Office 365 applications such as Teams (collaborative platform for teamwork) and Stream (video streaming service) on a large scale, depending on the type of need of our teachers. For external speakers and experts, specific online support (tutorials, webinars) and a dedicated hotline have been deployed.

Marcos Lima, director of the MSc IMBD programme at the Lille campus, says: “It is necessary to alternate synchronous activities (live sessions on Teams, Skype, Google Meet, etc.) and asynchronous activities. The collaborative tools of Office 365 are very effective for distance learning. The possibility of making students work on models of spreadsheets, presentations and shared documents, in groups and at a distance, greatly facilitates the maintenance of a fundamental educational principle: the application of knowledge to concrete projects (project-based learning),” he added.

For students, the transition took place smoothly. All the lessons are given to them in synchronous or “live” mode with the interaction with teachers being at least as intuitive as in a traditional classroom. If any of them have a connection problem (slow or interrupted speed), the course is also available a few hours later.

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