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School -[Update] Ready for the start of the 2020 academic year, Rennes SB offers an enriched student experience

[Update] Ready for the start of the 2020 academic year, Rennes SB offers an enriched student experience

For the start of the academic year in autumn 2020, Rennes School of Business is adapting its organisation and tools to enhance the student experience.

In response to the health crisis, Rennes School of Business was the first school to announce on 10th March that 100% of its courses would be offered via distance learning. This has been a totally successful operation, with 854 courses taught by 130 teachers and taken by 2,400 students between March and April.

For the start of the academic year in September 2020, the School has chosen to expand its teaching methods to ensure an optimal learning environment. It guarantees educational continuity for all, given the current uncertainty around potential future local, national and international health constraints.

This academic year will also see the implementation of original teaching methods destined to become a permanent part of Rennes School of Business. Indeed, despite major constraints, the primary objective is to emphasise educational innovation within the School’s programmes by placing students back at the heart of its pedagogy.

In compliance with health rules such as social distancing on campus, these innovations will guarantee access to classes for international students who might be subject to international travel restrictions in the autumn or early winter, while offering more flexibility to students on work/study programmes.

A wide range of educational formats to suit all situations

From the start of the academic year, three learning methods will be offered: eLive, virtual classroom and flipped learning. Face-to-face and distance learning combine to create synergies and offer the best possible student experience. This three-pronged system enables offers a Blended Learning model, in order to provide a balanced range of different teaching methods and enhance the flexibility and richness of the learning process.

ELive

This format will mainly be offered to our French and international students enrolled in the Master of Science (MSc), the Grande École Programme (PGE3) and the IBPM3 Bachelor programme. It covers courses taken by international students who cannot be present on campus due to administrative restrictions upon entering France. In this eLive format, the course takes place face-to-face for some students, while following social distancing rules. Students not present in the classroom also have direct access to the same courses via remote viewing, and can thus interact with their teachers and peers just like students present in the room. The courses also remain accessible to replay for 6 months. The eLive mode has led the School to accelerate a significant investment in equipping its classrooms, specifically to improve video recording and the audio experience.

Virtual classroom

This format is a continuation of the teaching method used to complete the second term of the 2019-2020 year. It is used for courses delivered directly and 100% remotely, without the physical presence of students on campus. The student experience and teacher-student interactions are enhanced by the widespread use of Microsoft Teams Education solutions. These classes are also available to replay. This format (implemented in March 2020 at the Rennes School of Business when classes were switched over to 100% distance learning) uses the Classilio tool, a system intended to guarantee educational continuity in exceptional contexts. It met those needs perfectly.

Flipped learning

Already used regularly at the School, flipped learning opens up a variety of teaching practices. The teaching resources made available to students, including in particular asynchronous access to the lectures, will be increased from the beginning of the academic year. This in addition to all the digital resources traditionally made available on Moodle (the Learning Management System used at Rennes SB): textbooks, videos, bibliography, business cases in particular. Teachers then offer educational activities, in the form of group work, Q&A sessions, etc. This mode makes it possible to regularly welcome students physically into the classroom and maintain in-person interactions. It also offers great possibilities for pedagogical creativity and a variety of student-teacher interactions. Digital expertise enriches the content offered and thus makes it possible to rethink face-to-face sessions with students to constantly expand their added value.
After a positive experience using the Classilio platform, Rennes School of Business is continuing to develop its teaching practices using the Microsoft Teams solution, which has already been implemented this spring for the School’s staff. The choice of Microsoft Teams facilitates the integration of the platform with Moodle, the Learning Management System used by faculty and RISE.

The Students Squad, facilitators to ease communication

Within this distance-learning set-up, a group of students known as the Students Squad act as moderators, in conjunction with the teacher and all the other students attending the courses. They facilitate interaction with students in discussion modules, thereby assisting the faculty.
Teams Education training began at the end of May for these groups and will continue until the start of the academic year for the faculty. Around a quarter of the rooms on the Rennes campus will be equipped with new audiovisual equipment to offer optimal quality broadcasts (video recording, quality sound input and output).
On 11th June, the first “pilot” eLive course will take place with students in our Executive MBA.

Thomas Froehlicher, Managing Director and Dean, explains: “In doing this we are embarking on a new, more ambitious phase. This will be rolled out from the start of the new academic year and is known as the “Flex Project”. It involves a significant investment, probably close to €500k, and a plan to recruit new employees and service providers to provide an optimal digital infrastructure and effective support for the teams. We are taking into account the strong presence of international students and the constraints linked to the pace of the work/study programme. Our priority is keeping students at the heart of the educational system in order to offer flexible, operational solutions to each member of our community. The investments being made are no longer responses to emergencies but rather the consequence of an acceleration of our 2019-2023 strategic plan and therefore the expression of our proven desire to see our teaching methods evolve: #UnframedLearning.
Organisation of lessons by programme

Excellent agility for onboarding international students

  • As every year, the Rennes School of Business is preparing for the on-boarding of several hundred international students, a process at the heart of its multicultural offering.  The uncertainties linked to the opening of borders, between continents and countries, has led the School to offer three ways of welcoming and integrating these students. In doing so, they are responding positively to the suggestions made by Campus France:
  • The start of the academic year has been adjusted so that classes resume later for these students: this means a three-week delay, with onboarding starting at the end of September and the first classes at the beginning of October.
  • For international students anticipating a delayed arrival due to a slower-than-anticipated visa process or difficulty reaching France and Rennes, the eLive mode facilitates direct access to and interaction with the course, remotely and from anywhere on the planet. Replay makes it possible to access courses asynchronously in cases of excessive time difference. Once in France, these students will continue their learning on campus without interruption.
  • For the vast majority of its Master of Science programmes, the School also offers entry in January 2021 so that all classes can be taken during the 2021 calendar year. Rennes SB already offered entry in September or January for 3 of its programmes. This possibility is therefore available to most students. Rennes SB is also planning a specific welcome package for foreign students in the event they are quarantined upon their arrival in France, to guarantee they feel a close connection with the School and its students upon their arrival in our country.

A phased September return to campus, in several stages

In addition, the start of the different programmes will take place on 5 main dates, spread over 3 weeks, postponed slightly compared to its usual start dates.

Start of term on 7 September 2020

  • PGE1 – to be confirmed according to the CPGE examination calendar
  •  UGTC4 (exchange students with Undergraduate Transfer Credits – PGE2 level)
  • PGE2 work-study students (studying for an MSc in “Manager of Innovative Projects, an MSc in “Retail & Business Development” or an MSc in “IT Business Management”)

Start of term on 9 September 2020

  • IBPM1
  • IBPM2

Start of term on 10 September 2020

  •  PGE2 “new entrants”: AST2, ASTi (AST on international exchange or Freema students), Fast Track

Start of term on 15 September 2020

  • PGE2 Progress (PGE1 2019)

Start of term on 18 September 2020

  • MSc MPCCD (Creative Project Management, Culture & Design)

Start of term on 21 September 2020

  • MSc IE (Innovation & Entrepreneurship)
  • PGE3 work-study students: Master “New Business Development Manager”; Master “Retail & Business Development”; Master “IT Business Management”.

Start of term on 28 September 2020

  • MSc programmes (Master of Science)
  • PGE3 DBM (ISEN Brest)
  • PEC (Pathway to Excellence Certificate) & SMIM (Specialised Master’s in Management – HBBA 2nd year)

Start of term on 30 September 2020

  • PGE3 DD (Double Degree students PGE/MSc)
  • IBPM3 & IBPM UGTCL3 (exchange students with Undergraduate Transfer Credits – IBPM3 level) & IBPM3 DD (Double Degree students IBPM/MSc).

Start of term on 1 October 2020

  • PGTC (Postgraduate Transfer Credit)

Start of term on 5 October 2020

  • PGE3 “classic” track (INSA / EM Strasbourg and Double Diploma exchange students)

Due to this phased entry, the All Saints holiday from 17th October to 1st November 2020 in the academic calendar is cancelled, as well as the two weeks of end-of-year exams.  All students will be subject to continuous assessment for their Semester 5, except those on a work/study programme (exams in January 2021).  One week of holiday will be maintained for IBPM1, IBPM2, MSC MPCCD and MSC IE, from 26th October to 1st November 2020. The successful experience of online courses in April and May made it possible to approve this arrangement.
Finally, a certain number of administrative operations and associations will also benefit from digital systems under construction to guarantee and enhance the smooth running of school and extra-curricular life. Community life on campus will be co-constructed with students and their representatives, on the basis of their suggestions.

Currently, the campus reopened on 2nd June with general guidelines for all employees to continue working from home as much as possible. Accessing the facilities is made possible for staff who wish to work from campus, under very strict health and safety conditions, and teams or students cannot arrive without a requesting permission in advance.

  • To stay up to date with any changes for the 2020/2021 school year, don’t forget to check regularly at aloha.www.rennes-sb.com

All the details on our press release