The transformation in learning model will not happen by investing only in digital platforms. It will materialise by developing a holistic, student-centred learning experience on campus and online. This learning experience should form part of an ecosystem that includes a changing role of faculty members becoming mentors; classrooms transforming into roundtable discussions; more campus-wide interdisciplinary curricular activities; and off-campus projects that advance societal impact and support community development.
At the School of Business of The American University in Cairo – a school that in 2022 celebrates 75 years in the higher education space in Egypt and the Middle East North Africa region – one of the primary learning goals for students is career readiness.
Since 2019, the school has been working with one of its long-standing strategic partners, PwC, to ensure that students’ skills, capacities and knowledge are relevant to today’s changing global marketplace. Last year, we also introduced an experiential learning co-op programme. This elective, three-credit course offers undergraduate students the opportunity to get that all-important hands-on experience with an organisation before graduation – whether from the private sector, government, or civil society – over the course of six months, on a full-time basis.
For our school, rigorous assessment has always been an essential pillar through a well-established and integrated culture of continuous improvement among faculty, staff and students. In this new programme, students are evaluated on the basis of learning objectives that are pre-identified by a faculty member and an executive from the host organisation. The programme seeks to provide a personalised experience for each student, depending on their field of study, with the aim of developing challenging opportunities for students to fully immerse themselves and fulfil the learning objectives.
It is a win-win proposition for both sides. On the one hand, the programme provides an excellent opportunity for employers to identify potential talent, manage short-term hiring needs and enhance their on-campus brand. On the other hand, the process of matching each student with a host organisation related to their field of study ensures a value-added and student-centred learning experience.
Accordingly, business schools should continue to transform themselves as vibrant environments through a series of reimagined and adaptive hybrid learning models. Doing this entails moving into a constant state of assessing risks and leveraging prospects, from disruption to adoption, from local to global, from risk avoidance to innovation, and from offering one-way education platforms to enabling multiple interactive and interconnected learning ecosystems.