With universities and colleges shutting their doors in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many students now have to transition into online study for the first time.
If that’s you, you might be concerned about adjusting when you’re already accustomed to learning on campus. You may be wondering how the essential skills for a hands-on, people-focussed industry like hospitality can be delivered effectively online.
Firstly, don’t panic! Remember that these courses have been delivered online by competent staff, for many years. Before COVID came along, thousands of students every semester would choose to do their hotels or hospitality MBA online, for some very good reasons.
Actually, there are quite a few advantages to digital course delivery that you’re going to discover, as you begin your classes at home. But, don’t just take it from us.
Here to give you some tips on how to adjust to digital learning (and how you can expect to benefit!), is Timothy Cannon.
As well as working as a General Manager at Accor Hotels in Melbourne, Timothy Cannon is currently studying a Master of Business Administration (International Hotel Leadership) at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS).
Unlike many other students who are just now transitioning to online learning, Timothy enrolled in a fully online course in 2019. So, he’s already been completing all his studies digitally, for just over a year.
“My course has been 100% online since day one. I started studying my MBA online at the beginning of 2019, because I wanted to extend my knowledge.
I elected to do it online due to the demands of my job, and other commitments. It would not have been possible for me to attend classes on campus throughout the week.
As I have always been studying online, this recent transition has not been a change for myself.” – Timothy Cannon
Colleges and universities have spent years trialling and perfecting their online delivery methods, to offer the best possible learning outcomes.
From the early days of online classes that simply recreated on-campus tutorials, digital learning over the past decade has evolved in leaps and bounds. The digital classroom now takes full advantage of new technologies as they develop, offering a suite of platforms and learning tools that are not even available off-screen.
So, what does the online course delivery of an MBA of Hotel Leadership actually look and feel like, from Timothy’s perspective?
“The content is essentially broken down week by week. You are guided through the content via the online platform in a logical order, and there are regular assessments for each subject.
The content is usually mixture of journals, reports & videos from industry experts. However, you should take the initiative to complete additional research to extend your knowledge and gain further insight for your assessments.
We usually have a live online class three times a week in which you have the opportunity to ask questions & share ideas or feedback. Naturally you need to have reviewed your learning content prior to these classes, to be able to actively participate in the discussion, much the same as you would in a face to face class.”
A common concern many students have is that when you move to online learning, you may miss out on interaction and contact with other students, and staff.
After all, belonging to a school community and being involved in discussion is one of the most important (and fun!) parts of study!
“Yes, we generally have an online class 3 times a week, when you can connect with other students and the teacher. In terms of connecting with other students, it is really up to individuals to participate in the classes. The more you participate, the more enjoyable the class is.”
As a veteran of online course delivery, Timothy has already learned a few lessons that can help those of us who may have recently had to change their working habits.
For example, instead of trying to study in one place at home all the time, he’s found that variety and balance helps concentration, in the long term.
“Sometimes I sit in my room and get a quick an hour or two of study in. To be honest, I like to mix it up. I don’t have a dedicated study space, I like the freedom changing my location depending on what is happening around me, and ensuring I get a balance of family time & study.
Another tip: be disciplined, make sure you plan time in your week that is dedicated to your online study. If you fail to do this, you will quickly fall behind. The course is still demanding on your time.”
Aside from staying safe and practicing a responsible amount of social distancing, there are a few other key benefits to online learning. Other common benefits include lower costs, having a broader range of institutions to choose from, and saving on travel time.
Timothy chose to study online because the flexible timetable would allow him to work as General Manager at Accor and study at the same time.
But, not having to attend scheduled classes is just one advantage that Timothy has discovered over the past year.
“One advantage is that the tutorials and group discussions are recorded. This allows you to jump back and review something or log in later if you didn’t have a chance to attend at the specific time.
Personally, I think the online structure is good. It is certainly still demanding, however it provides some flexibility to complete the study at a time which fits in with your other life commitments.”
After years of experience in the hands-on hotel industry, Timothy has figured out how to manage his online MBA and is on his way to becoming a hotel leader. If he can do it, so can you!
See here for information about the Master of Business Administration (Hotel Leadership) at BMIHMS, and here for more information about how courses are delivered online at Torrens.