How do business schools develop the capabilities and knowledge to bring to market transformative, high-quality online learning? This was the challenge tackled by 1,518 educational innovators from 84 countries at the 2019 Reimagine Education Awards & Conference. Singapore Management University (SMU), a member of the Future of Management Education (FOME) Alliance, emerged victorious, picking up the Gold and Silver awards respectively for the “Business Education” and “e-learning” categories.
The Reimagine Education Awards & Conference which was held in London from 9 to 10 December 2019 convened an audience of 650 educational leaders from around the world. The FOME alliance excelled in its knowledge sharing and capability building imperatives. Specifically in SMU, a world-class filming studio had been built in the span of a year. SMU is today also home to a fully trained EdTech team – comprising learning designers and media specialists – representing a cross functional collaboration between Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB), Integrated Information Technology Services (IITS) and Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at SMU.
The FOME alliance comprises SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB), Imperial College Business School (UK), ESMT Berlin (Germany), BI Norwegian Business School (Norway), EDHEC Business School (France), IE Business school (Spain), the University of Melbourne (Australia) and Ivey Business School (Canada). FOME is premised on a shared vision that online learning should have the same transformational impact as the very best face-to-face courses. SMU and the other seven business schools actively collaborate to combine faculty expertise and cutting-edge technology through a shared learning platform to deliver modern and high quality online courses and degree programmes for students across the world.
As most traditional industries get disrupted by the modern digital technology enabled enterprises, FOME alliance aims to collaboratively respond to the new market demand for accessible, flexible and high-quality online education. This is done by focusing on developing in-house capacity-building creative, highly skilled Edtech teams at each business school.
“Since we are all sharing a platform, we are all sharing thoughts and visions about what management education should look like,” said Dr Pascale Crama, Associate Professor of Operations Management and Academic Director of Blended Programmes, SMU. “We will all get to share courses from one school to another, so that our students will get exposed to the best minds from the different schools.”
SMU has played a proactive role in the alliance by developing over 12 courses in the shared online learning platform with in-house capabilities and getting ready to launch a blended Master’s in Management (MIM) programme in 2020 based on the same. In November 2019, SMU hosted the FOME Alliance annual meeting to help to chart out the way forward for the alliance. More than 47 delegates from the 8 universities gathered at the city university’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business campus. During the two-day session, delegates shared insights on how to advance its future-back agenda as well as best practices to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise across geographies with each other.
In the keynote session, Prof. Richard Smith, Deputy Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Business, encouraged alliance members to think specifically on how the FOME alliance will create a level of differentiation amidst brand proliferation in the online degree market and create relevance in the age of available knowledge.
Hologram Technology Exhibition
During the FOME meeting, hologram technology was delivered featuring guest speakers from the United Kingdom. The hologram, which was developed by LA-based company ARHT Media, is designed to enable academics and guest speakers to present to students in real time, via hologram link, without requiring them to be in person at the university campus.
The technology will make it possible for the Business School to host lectures in multiple classes and locations simultaneously, as well as discussion panels and events with a mixture of both in-person and virtual speakers present.
Looking to the future, SMU is excited to build upon the shared learning platform as part of the FOME alliance and launch the Blended Master’s in Management Programme in 2020. For the busy professionals, who want to stay in the workforce while advancing their professional qualifications, these modern blended learning programmes can be a great fit. SMU also expects to have a shared global programme as part of the FOME alliance soon and to advance the open innovation processes.