WHU has switched its lectures with small groups of students, which typically characterize teaching at WHU, to virtual interactive conferences because of the current corona crisis. After the Vallendar campus was initially closed for a week in consultation with the Mayen-Koblenz health authorities, WHU’s executive committee decided a few days later to discontinue on-site teaching on both campuses until the end of the term. Instead, all lectures of the Bachelor, Master, and MBA Programs have been taking place online for two weeks now. Time to draw a first interim conclusion.
The "classroom atmosphere", as described by a student of the MSc 2021, has disappeared. Another bachelor student, who will graduate in 2021, says that he initially did not know what to expect: "At first, I was skeptical because you have to have the right person in front of your lens." Hereby he refers to the fact that although WHU reacted fast and was, therefore, the first business school in Germany to offer all lectures in a digital format, the professors and students had to get used to the new circumstances first. "When that happened," he continues, "it was one of the best lectures I’ve ever had." The main reason for this was the high degree of interactivity as well as the relaxed setting at home, he explains.
Yet, not every student is so positively disposed towards the new format. For those exchange students who have meanwhile returned to their families and home countries, the challenge lies above all in the time difference. For this reason, many professors now additionally record their lectures so that students can also review them at a different time. However, as one US exchange student reports, not being able to say goodbye to everyone was much more difficult: "Everything just stopped out of nowhere and you didn't really have time to adjust."
If one asks the students about the coming weeks, the majority is nevertheless optimistic. Although all planned events have been canceled and campus life will not be the same for the rest of the term, it will still be possible to work together very effectively and continue projects. Despite the fact that the coronavirus has arrived in Europe and has Germany firmly in its grip, the WHU community got closer together. As one bachelor student points out, the current situation is not easy, but we all have a social responsibility to fulfill and the contact to WHU and fellow students remains, regardless of whether they are in the same place or not. If everyone pulls together and continues to live the WHU spirit, she explains, we will overcome this challenge.