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The Bridge to Business and Leadership Experience courses have become staples of Nichols’ Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) division. But during the past semester, which finished in mid-December, students found an unprecedented array of options for attending class.
“The courses are the same. The format is different,” notes GPS Executive Director Kerry Calnan. As part of GPS’s new HyFlex format, the two courses met on campus one evening a week in an interactive classroom at the Fels Student Center.
At the same time, a number of students at remote locations connected via videoconference, from their workplace to home. They appeared on screens at the front of the room and interacted face-to-face with the rest of the class. Students who were not free during class time could also take the class asynchronously online.
“In the past, students would either come to campus for the seven weeks of the course or take the entire course online,” Calnan explains. “This past semester they were able to decide weekly which format they wanted, based on their schedules and learning styles.”
“One student driving to the Nichols campus got stuck in a traffic jam,” Calnan continues. “So he went home, joined the class remotely, and never missed a beat.”
The Leadership Experience course enrolled 35 students. Calnan recalls one class focusing on a simulated climb of Mt. Everest and utilizing resources from Harvard Business School. Teams of five students—including combinations of those inside and outside of the classroom—took on different roles with the task of reaching the summit in five days.
Bridge to Business—aimed at students with limited business experience and divided into modules covering management, marketing, Excel and data analysis, economics, and accounting and finance—attracted 24 participants on- and off-campus.
The GPS spring semester, which starts later in January, will expand to four HyFlex offerings—including an additional section of Bridge to Business as well as the course Financial Decision Making.
“I’m hoping to bring the delivery of all of our courses into this format,” Calnan concludes.