6 March 2020 Share

#MIPexperience Digital learning

Coronavirus and online learning: the word to our students

Davide, Massimiliano and Sergey tell about their experience with lessons via web, which are currently substituting those previously scheduled for the classroom: «A positive solution, that allowed us to also take part in complex activities like group work»

The Coronavirus has had an impact not only on productive activities and commercial establishments, but as we know also led to a temporary suspension of educational activities, including of course those of MIP. That which at first seemed like a hard to overcome obstacle, instead turned out to be an opportunity, highlighting the school’s great responsiveness and its digital DNA: indeed, numerous lessons nonetheless took place (and are taking place) regularly online. Not only those originally slated to be held via web but also many of those that were set to be held in the classroom, so as to guarantee as much as possible the continuation of activity, limiting the inconvenience for students.

Theory and practice: the lesson is via web

Davide is enrolled in the Master in Supply Chain Management programme: on Tuesday, 25 February his agenda included a classroom lesson on the negotiation of contracts with Professor Ronchi. A lesson that was also to have included group work with other 25 students, in which negotiations were to be simulated. The day before – Monday, 24 February – an e-mail informed him that the lesson (which he thought was cancelled) would be held all the same, but in a digital mode: the e-mail had a link to a virtual meeting room on the digital platform.
«It’s a tool that we were already familiar with –says Davide – and which can also be accessed via smartphone or tablet, and this made everything easy. The teaching part went smoothly, we followed the slides prepared by the professor as if we were in the classroom. Once it was time for group work, other private meeting rooms were opened to discuss – by voice or on chat – with colleagues in the same group and with other groups separately, to then all be joined up again at the end of the lesson for the debriefing». A successful experience, then? «Everything was organized very quickly, for this we must thank the course leaders. There were no particular problems with the professor’s lesson, it was like being in the classroom; it was stranger to carry out group work over a device, but we quickly got used to it and, even if all the dynamics you experience in person can’t be replicated via web, the experience was positive, especially because it allowed us to not lose the lesson».

Students also meet online

Massimiliano, enrolled in the Master in Energy Management programme, also had a similar experience. Also in his case – and with the same timing – starting from Tuesday, 25 February, different lessons were moved online: «Normal teaching, but also external testimonials from professionals in the sector who shared their experience. I must say that in the beginning I was a bit sceptical on the effectiveness of this method, but I quickly changed my mind: a microphone was sufficient to speak with the professor and participate actively in the discussion. Considering the rapidity with which the school had to implement this system, it proved to be a very valid solution».
In Massimiliano’s case, then, the stop to lessons could have led to a further complication: in those very days, his course had foreseen the delivery of a group project on energy efficiency. «We had to analyse the energy situation of a company starting from its audit, map out measures and propose new ones, obviously considering economic aspects. In short, a very complex assignment. Thanks to this method, each group managed to complete the work in time for the deadline».

For Sergey, a student from Russia, the emergency could have caused even more serious problems. Indeed, Sergey came to Milan the day before the cancellation of lessons, to attend an MBA Bootcamp on Global Management; news of the measure reached him as just as he arrived in our city. «For me the timing was really bad. However, if the Bootcamp had simply been cancelled, it would have been much worse, with all the time and effort put into participating. It’s truly fantastic that MIP gave us the possibility of studying online. Of course I was very sorry to not be able to meet the students from the other countries in person, but current technologies give us the opportunity to respect the schedule and follow education programmes even in the event of an emergency: I had to follow the lessons via smartphone – I didn’t bring my laptop with me to Milan – but I appreciated them a lot. Moreover, the events of the following day showed that it was a responsible decision, that had to be taken».


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