School -There was a full house for the first online classes at Rennes School of Business

There was a full house for the first online classes at Rennes School of Business

On Monday 23 March 2020 on the first day of distance learning, 40 classes run by 25 professors and lecturers were held for some 900 students. The outcome was a success thanks to the tireless efforts of teams to prepare in advance, as announced on 10 March.

The first remote class took place on the morning of Wednesday 18 March at Rennes School of Business using Classilio, a virtual class platform. A 3-hour Strategic Management class was held for 27 students from the MSc in International Management. It was an all-around success for the students and the lecturer alike, 5 days prior to the official launch of distance classes.

More than 81% of students in this class went online to try out this new experience, and the feedback was encouraging: the Classilio solution is easy to use, and above all allows students to refer back to the recorded class after the event using the “replay” function, available for several months if required.

It was a very promising initial roll-out phase given that, as announced in the press release dated 10 March 2020, Rennes School of Business is the first French Management School to offer all of its classes remotely, starting on Monday 23 March and continuing until the health crisis is over. In just one day, this Monday, nearly 900 students participated in online classes.

Students and teachers satisfied with the proposed tool

By the evening of Thursday 19 March, almost all of the teaching staff who will need to use the platform had already been trained by the Rennes School of Business support teams coordinated by Dr Helmi Hammami, Academic Dean of the Faculty. Dr Ahmed Atil, professor in the Management and Organisation department at Rennes School of Business, also used Classilio to give his “Data Science for Business” class to students in the 1st year of the Grande Ecole Programme (PGE). He shared his excellent experience of the tool with us: “Using this platform is surprisingly easy. The students, familiar with virtual tools, quickly got to grips with it and used it very intuitively. Furthermore, it is very easy to tailor the classes I give (amongst which statistics) to this kind of medium.”

Since then, more and more “pilot” classes took place so that everything would be ready by Monday, and all teaching staff attended digital teaching workshops for the whole of last week.

Some 2300 students from Rennes School of Business will be able to enjoy uninterrupted classes until the end of the semester. “As I had already done distance classes in the past, I was quite happy to do so again, because it allows us to continue interacting with the teacher as well as with our classmates. From the student point of view, Classilio is a very intuitive tool and its pleasing interface helps us get the most out of online classes. Even though this tool still has room for improvement and may take time to master, it is an efficient alternative to face-to-face classes,” said Linda*, Master of Science student at Rennes SB.

A specific offer for students abroad

Students who have returned before the end of their overseas placements, or who are on exchange but no longer able to attend classes at their exchange university, will take an e-learning package of 4 classes developed by the School, which will permit 20 credits to be validated. These classes were already being run at the School. In just a few days, the number of students who will take them has gone from an estimated 200-220 to more than 400. They will be available online in a couple of days, once there is more supervising teaching staff available. Everything is therefore in place so that all classes can be taught by distance methods until the end of the semester.

Corporate events also transitioned to online on March 24

To complement this measure, other school events are also being held online, such as Corporate Day and Job-Dating for work/study programs. These two events took place virtually on 24 March. They involved 7 conferences and coaching sessions and 3 Q&A sessions for our students. The Job-Dating day included coaching sessions, Q&A sessions and interactions between the companies who were present online and research students. For the Corporate Day which took place on the same day, Rennes School of Business offered online conferences, including one given by the company Dataiku for MSc Data Analysis students, and presentations from agap2, Biocoop, and BPI France.

Alongside EFMD and Highered, Rennes School of Business is fully committed to enabling our young high-flyers to attend Highered Virtual Careers Fairs all over the world from 24 March onwards, so that they can connect with companies in China.


*The student’s name has been changed on their request.