Facing the challenge of pedagogical continuity at ESSEC

By Sophie Magnanou, K-lab Director

Since March 23rd, all ESSEC courses have been taught on distance learning mode.

The switch from face-to-face to distance learning in a very short period of time is the result of a strong and effective coordination between the Dean’s office, the programs and the K-lab.

This pedagogical continuity has been made possible by the choice of technical solutions, the support and mobilization of the K-lab teams, to facilitate access to services and resources, and of course by the commitment of the professors and lecturers.

Appropriate resources and tools

Zoom was already used at ESSEC for some courses, so it was natural to choose this solution in order to teach all the courses on distance learning mode (Pre and Post experience) ; today ESSEC has 250 licenses, and more than 5000 sessions were created since the beginning of containment in March.

We decided to record all the sessions in order to allow students/participants who cannot attend live online classes to be able to watch them afterwards. To do so, we selected Panopto, a platform on which we can temporarily store the classes recorded on Zoom and send them to the students/participants.

Finally, students and participants can access their course outlines and recorded classes, take online exams, exchange with one another or ask their questions on the forum on Moodle, the Learning Management System currently deployed at ESSEC.

An extended access to online resources to support distance learning

From the beginning of the lockdown, the K-lab teams have communicated special offers made by the editors. Extended contents from our subscriptions such as Cairn, Cyberlibris, Numérique premium, Dalloz, Taylor & Francis, etc… were then available.

Thousands of ebooks and many online academic journals and reviews were added to the collections. Other editors (Europresse, ENI) extended the number of simultaneous access possible on their platforms.

An article on the K-lab website identifies these offers.

A team and a set of tools to improve the distanced experience

When the containment started, a dedicated team of 10 persons in the K-lab worked on the creation of Zoom sessions. This team’s mission was also to support the Faculty. Sessions of presentation and training were organized to present solutions and tools for distance learning and an email address klab@essec.edu was used to gather requests and answer questions as quickly as possible. Last but not least, two websites were created :

  • Shifting to online teaching, a website designed to help professors and pedagogical teams. It provides information about distance learning, online classes organization, useful tools and thus allows professors to get a better understanding of the specificities of online learning, and to enjoy greater autonomy.
  • Studying remotely , a website that provides students and participants with tools and recommendations. These best practices allow them to study and follow courses remotely by accessing documents and activities on Moodle, library resources and videoconference solutions.

Committed and involved professors

Going from classroom to distance teaching required a lot of adaptation skills for professors: reorganize courses, combine the classes between online teaching and activities or exercises that students can do remotely at another time and finally, evaluate and grade students/participants online (you can read Prof. Adrian Zicari’s testimony on this matter).

ESSEC provided solutions and the K-lab teams provided support. However, the professors showed a lot of initiative to transform their pedagogy and adapt their classes to 100% online teaching. These methods, feedbacks, etc. are shared in a Google Group dedicated to professors’ online teaching practices and experiences which is regularly updated.

The feedback we receive is a good way to identify possible improvements and start planning the future processes that will be applied from September on.

Key figures

    • Around 250 sessions everyday
    • More than 6000 sessions created since mid-March
    • More than 50 ESSEC Faculty with a Zoom personal license