Dual-mode Teaching: Here to Stay in our New Normal – An Interview with David Claivaz, Acting Dean of BSL

The outbreak of the coronavirus had a huge impact on universities around the world. Lectures, seminars, and workshops moved online, and the classroom was replaced with video call. A number of international students returned to their home countries to be with their families and loved ones throughout the pandemic. 

At Business School Lausanne (BSL), faculty members have reopened their doors to students and are prepared with a number of health and safety measures in place. BSL has introduced ‘dual-mode teaching’ to cater to both students who are able to attend classes in person, as well as those who will continue to study from home. 

We spoke with David Claivaz, Acting Dean at BSL, about the future of dual-mode teaching and what this means for students. 

What Is Dual-mode Teaching? 

Dual-mode teaching is relatively new at BSL. It means that there will be students physically in attendance in the classroom and students dialed in virtually online. “Dual-mode teaching merges two different things,” explains David, “It merges classroom teaching and distance learning at the same time.”

Essentially, “It’s the gathering of students in a classroom with students online at the same time under the leadership of a professor who is present in the classroom.”

Dual-mode teaching means that students can attend class in person as well as virtually

This unique teaching method was primarily introduced in response to the pandemic. “The idea is that we have specific needs at the moment that we have to care for,” says David, adding that, “Switzerland is reopening so we have students who aren’t in Switzerland who can’t come to the classroom and we have students who are still in their home countries.”

Dual-mode Teaching Helps BSL Maintain its Close-Knit Community 

While dual-mode teaching was introduced in response to COVID-19, there are a number of other advantages to this teaching method for students at our business school in Switzerland. BSL strives to offer students a close-knit family feel, with small class sizes and plenty of networking opportunities. Dual-mode teaching can help to recreate this environment, even when half the student body is off-campus. 

“We don’t want the community to be separated by distance,” says David, “We want to keep the community together because that’s a very important dimension at BSL. It’s a school of proximity. People know each other, they work together, they launch products together.” 

Will Dual-mode Teaching Become a Permanent at BSL?

Another advantage to dual-mode teaching is the flexibility that it offers students—especially for those earning a master of business administration who may have work commitments. This is one of the many reasons dual-mode teaching could well become a permanent fixture. 

Speaking about the future of dual-mode teaching at BSL, David explains that, “It’s there really to accommodate the students at present but also we want to keep this feature in the long run. At MBA level for instance people at BSL are executives they have their own jobs and sometimes for job reasons they cannot make it to class. So we want to give students this flexibility on a regular basis in the long run as something to really help.”

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