The business schools have conventionally been staid in their approach to teaching methods — the area in which there have been but few innovative developments for decades. The face-to-face teaching-learning process still dominates despite the advent of online learning. Faculty prefer the face-to-face mode from the viewpoint of convenience in responding to questions from a mass of students, carrying out interactive discussions and explanations, derivations or solving problems on the whiteboard.
However, the change seems to be a constant in education. The paradigm shift in pedagogy to online mode offers one means of making such change due to pandemic. Online teaching is helping us to beat the Covid-19 lockdown and catch up with the academic schedule. Nevertheless, at the same time, I fear that the paradigm shift in pedagogy to online mode may alienate economically disadvantaged students who do not have access to digital classes.
We do have some essential learnings from the online classes.
- The online teaching-learning process in business schools is undoubtedly useful. In some ways, such as making (theory and lecture) more structured, promoting self-learning, and prior class preparation among students, reducing spoon-feeding, it is perhaps more effective than the face-to-face mode.
- Examinations need not be in sit on-campus mode; open-book take-home exams designed to assess higher-order thinking skills or online exams are more effective, at least at the post-graduate level.
- Blended learning as a pedagogy appears superior to the conventional face-to-face teaching-learning process from the student’s perspective, to cater to fast and slow learners equitably.
In general, I believe that the current crisis and the response mechanisms put in place by the institute and other leading business schools will bring about a paradigm shift in pedagogy and that these new teaching-learning processes will be more effective.
Dr. Sunil Kumar Jauhar
Operations Management & Decision Sciences