Staff and Students Adapt as They Confront New Protocols for the Hotel Industry
By Alain Spieser Professor, Hotel Management School of Geneva (EHG) | May 24, 2020
In Switzerland, the Covid-19 crisis has hit us as in any other country, and we were obliged to close the school the second week of March. We were nearing the end of a term (EHG has six-month terms, or semesters), so it mainly affected the running of final exams. The arrival of the school's new students for the next term had been scheduled mid-April.
"We are in an unprecedented situation. Every effort is being made to ensure that our students receive the education they require for their professional future. We were lucky, some might n even consider it prescient, to have invested in the digital platform, Canvas, only a few months before the crisis hit. This allowed us to prepare, in record time, all courses in a virtual format for the first weeks of the semester." said school Director, Alain Brunier, confident about the measures put in place in the face of the crisis.
The entire teaching staff at Ecole Hoteliere Geneve has held top-level positions within the hotel and hospitality industry. Because of the strict confinement and physical distancing regulations, the entire teaching staff had to work remotely from home. The first step was to train them on the new platform, then, have each teacher develop their own courses-an incredible challenge considering the short time allowed and the novelty of Canvas. The commitment and efficiency of the EHG team was extraordinary.
Within a few days, the staff had become proficient on the new digital software and successfully produced new courses in digital form, including PowerPoint presentations, videos, exams, etc. In addition to Canvas we've utilized the Microsoft Teams application to be able to connect live with a class.
As Christophe Dubois, the Head of Education, points out: "Such a platform that allows for quality courses and fun learning takes a long time to set up. Normally, it takes twelve-months. But in the urgency of the situation, we had to develop a whole new education system in less than three weeks." While the deadline may seem impossible, it has still been met by the faculty. "Impossible is a word we don't know about at EHG!" smiled Christophe Dubois who added: "This is a new adventure in which we had to show rigor and diligence. However, this experience is very rewarding for our students who will be the hotel managers of tomorrow."
Director, Alain Brunier, added: "This method requires rigor, self-discipline and real motivation to take full advantage of this mode of teaching. Thanks to the experience and professionalism of the professors who are in constant contact with the students, this considerable challenge has been met by the entire teaching team of the EHG as well as by its students."