25 March 2020, 9 a.m.; something new and unexpected is happening at the EMBA of the University of Zurich. One professor, 25 students and I as a guest are taking part in a lecture in statistics – and this in a virtual classroom! A virus called Covid-19 is driving the digital transformation at UZH at a speed that nobody would have dreamed of a few weeks ago!
With the video conferencing tool “Zoom”, Prof. Karl Schmedders, supported by the EMBA team, has created a module on “Collecting, Analyzing, and Interpreting Data” that was simply amazing – relevant, interactive and last but not least entertaining – as always when Karl gives a lecture.
Thorsten Klein, Program Director of the EMBA “Digital Transformation” says “The temporary switch to online operation has enabled us to keep up the rhythm of the lectures so that we can accompany our students to their graduation without interruption. Thanks to the flexibility and interest of our lecturers and students in the new teaching media, this process went quite painlessly and the feedback from the students shows that it is indeed an inspiring experience”.
Can a virtual classroom replace the physical being together in a normal classroom with face-to-face interaction? I don’t think so, but it can certainly be used as a good and useful additional tool. Digital teaching can definitely be used in case of absence of EMBA students due to illness or business.
Barbara Werthmüller, EMBA student agrees with Eric “For me personally it was a very positive experience and a very valuable week of study, which was made possible by the modern online technology. However, the key to success was certainly the highly motivated speakers, who made the days very varied and interactive, the support of the Program Management , who did an excellent job in the run-up, but also my fellow students, who proved through flexibility and spontaneity that they are able to meet the requirements of the course ‘Digital Transformation’ in the truest sense of the word”.
Prof Karl Schmedders says “Despite the unfamiliar learning environment, the students participated very actively in class, asked many questions and gave great comments. This made teaching the EMBA very entertaining.”
For us alumni, networking is very important. In this module students also learn about networking online – this is the new reality and networking will probably become more digital in the future, which you can currently try out in a “safe environment” in the EMBA. All in all, the online session with the EMBA class was a great experience for me – congratulations to all who contributed!
Text: Eric Schinzel