“in addition to an online option, we continue to offer in-person classes on campus”

Net benefits

In the era of Covid-19, schools with hybrid learning options come out stronger


FEBRUARY 2022 Industry Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters 

With a large percentage of Japan’s population, including students, vaccinated against Covid-19, institutions of higher education have reason to be optimistic that the new semester will see a return to some degree of normality. However, the pandemic isn’t over, so schools are employing flexible, hybrid education options, known as HyFlex — where students can choose to take part in class either in person or online. Keeping students safe while also providing a top-flight education is always a priority for the best schools.

Safety first

It is more important today than ever before that higher education institutions ensure their students learn in a safe environment. Doshisha Business School (DBS) is taking this very seriously.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure a safe environment for our staff and students,” says Professor Yong Yin, director of DBS’s Global MBA programme. “In addition to mask requirements, socially distanced classroom arrangements, and the use of partitions, everyone on campus must download the COCOA Covid-19 contact-tracing app, as well as Kyoto’s emergency contact app, Kokotoro, to help stop the spread of infection.”

Waseda Business School (WBS) is also putting safety first.

“Online lectures began on Zoom in April 2020, as a result of the spread of the coronavirus,” according to a WBS representative. “In 2021, the university resumed face-to-face classes, but we continue to offer online learning, as not everyone can come to the classroom, and there are international students who cannot enter the country and need to participate from home.”

Dealing with the pandemic

Even during the pandemic, schools of higher learning have been finding ways to provide the very best business school experience, despite the obstacles.

“At DBS, we believe that networking and personal interactions are an essential element of the MBA experience,” Yin says. “So, in addition to an online option, we continue to offer in-person classes on campus — while taking every possible precaution — to give our students the full MBA experience and that will allow them to build a network that can benefit them in their careers.”

WBS recognises that in-person interaction is important, but it also believes that hybrid options are here for the long term.

“Although WBS sincerely hopes that everyone can participate in face-to-face classes soon, the future of business schools is certain to be hybrid, and we want to ensure all students can take part in the dynamic discussions that are crucial to classroom learning,” states the representative. “So, we have invested in high-quality equipment for HyFlex lessons, including two large display screens and ceiling-mounted microphones and cameras — so everyone can see and hear one another clearly, wherever they are.”

Japan’s higher education institutions continue to equip strong leaders for tomorrow’s world — whether in person or online.