Are virtual campuses the future of business education?
As advances in technology continue to impact our lives, Associate Director Stephanie Mullins and colleague Luke Kerin at specialist business education PR consultancy BlueSky Education explore three examples of how business schools have embraced technology when it comes to their campuses.
The way people live their lives has changed drastically. Even without the impact of COVID-19, people were shifting towards technology to function in their daily lives. Access to phones has replaced a large need for in-person human interaction and simple online meetings have become much more prominent, especially due to the restrictions placed on the public in the last few years so, with the development of a metaverse, face-to-face interaction could quickly become a thing of the past in many aspects of life. With the world seemingly adapting to a more online front, education has already joined what could possibly be considered the next stage in the world’s evolution.
The pandemic has shown the benefits that the likes of a virtual campus can provide to people’s lives. A number of business schools have implemented these online offerings in one way or another, here are a few that have done so exceptionally:
NEOMA Business School
In September 2020, NEOMA Business School became the first school in Europe to open a 100% digital campus, developed in partnership with Laval Virtual.
With the draining realities of online lectures over Zoom, where many students may have switched off and struggled to pay attention with the ability to turn off their camera, NEOMA led the way in providing an alternative.
The purpose of the digital campus was to create the interactions and atmosphere of a real campus, guaranteeing the most authentic and gratifying academic experience possible from a remote location. This platform allowed students to create avatars that looked extremely similar to themselves, travel around a virtual campus to mix with fellow students, and enter their lectures.
Today, NEOMA has four virtual campuses open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering the services accessible in real life, such as their wellness centre and libraries.
GBSB Global Business School
While not following the same format, GBSB Global Business School has also found great success from offering an online alternative to its courses.
GBSB Global’s anytime, anywhere approach to business education today allows its students to take advantage of their state-of-the-art degree programme, offering them the flexibility to study for their degree on their terms. This highly sophisticated online alternative offers all the same degree programmes that would be available to students on campus.
This online path offers many positive benefits that would not be in place for in-person courses, such as the freedom and flexibility to study whenever is beneficial to the student and the chance to get assistance in real-time, rather than waiting for an in-person appointment which may take more time to arrange.
ESSEC Business School
Similar to GBSB Global, ESSEC Business School has provided an online experience to make student life simpler. The school launched an augmented digital campus in 2019.
This digital campus allowed students to keep track of their education schedule, finances and work online. ESSEC’s professors and experts have been accessible online through videos, podcasts and a number of other methods. Providing this has provided students with the opportunity to improve their knowledge outside of lectures and in a programme personalised to their schedule.
Although many universities and business schools have implemented similar methods since March 2020, ESSEC Business School doing so in advance (before the coronavirus pandemic had even begun) has allowed them to build impressive expertise in the area.
Schools like NEOMA Business School, GBSB Global Business School and ESSEC Business School, which have embraced technology, will continue to attract students and faculty who are passionate about this evolution in education, in its various forms.
See more articles by Stephanie Mullins.