We want you back!
On 18 June Bocconi announced that it will enter Phase 3 starting in September 2020 and that teaching activities will resume both in-person and in-distance. We are certain that our readers are very curious to find out more, so we reached out to Rector Gianmario Verona to help us picture what next semester will look like.
It is paramount to keep in mind that any decision must be compliant with legislation at the national, regional and local level at all times. The directives currently in force are naturally subject to change, depending on future developments.
How will lessons be carried out?
“We plan on resuming teaching activities on-campus, in accordance with social distancing. Assuming a minimum distance of one meter, the capacity of most classrooms would be halved: this clearly implies that it will not always be possible for all students to simultaneously attend in-person lessons.
Large classes will be split into several groups that will attend the same lectures in different time slots. At times this will require getting started earlier in the morning and/or staying on campus past 19.30. The introduction of classes on Saturday is still under consideration.
We are aware that international mobility may still be limited in the coming months and that some international students might be unable to obtain a visa or permit. Moreover, both students and faculty members could be at risk due to their health condition.
This is why we have designed a blended model, integrating traditional teaching methods with remote learning. Students who cannot come back on campus due to serious and proved reasons (e.g. quarantine, impossibility to obtain a visa) will not be penalized, as they will be able to attend lectures online. We have introduced new classroom equipment in order to improve the quality of the videos recorded.
By the end of the month all students will be asked about their status and, depending on how many people are expected to come back on campus, further analyses will be carried out.
Bocconi is looking forward to seeing as many students as possible on campus in September: we want you back!”
What about exams?
“We will reintroduce midterms and we do not expect any deviation from the academic calendar. Generally speaking, students will be able to take traditional exams whenever possible, but online exams will still be guaranteed for all the students who are unable to come to Milan. Each professor will take care of the details concerning their own course.
We remind you that the August and September exams sessions (relative to courses that are part of the curriculum of the past semester) will definitely be held online only (via Respondus)”.
In addition to lessons, will other types of activities, such as conferences and career fairs, resume on-campus?
“For the time being, events are not allowed. Should this change in the future, we expect to organize blended events: students will apply or book a spot until the maximum safe number of participants allowed is reached and the event will also be streamed online.
The same applies to other types of initiatives, for instance, in two weeks students will have the opportunity to attend a virtual edition of Bocconi & Jobs and the graduate Welcome Week – with a special guest. That will be one of the first blended events, and the 400 spots available will be assigned through a lottery”.
How are international programs (Exchange, Free Mover, Double Degree etc.) going to be managed?
“We guaranteed the Exchange program for Double Degree programs and for all degree courses which provide this opportunity in the syllabus.
For the Undergraduate and Graduate students, for whom this experience is optional, we made it partially available by reducing the list of destinations and moving most of them to the Second Semester.
Although we strongly recommend this experience, we are perfectly aware that students may not have incentives to do it compared to the past years due to the lack of certainty of being able to carry it out – which depends on the international situation”.
What is the advantage of digital tools compared to traditional tools and how will the Covid-19 crisis impact Bocconi’s didactics in the long term?
“Digital tools enable us to have smaller classes and this allows professors to improve interaction with students in the classroom, by intensifying the focus on the more complex parts of the course that require more questions and discussion (for example, case studies).
Being aware that digital is the future of Bocconi and that it allows the enrichment of our courses, we have decided to keep some innovations introduced during Covid-19 Crisis for the long term. For instance, the reinforcement of teaching through online lectures and activities on Blackboard”.
What are the main objectives of your upcoming term?
“We are lucky to have a very solid university: indeed, enrollment has not been impacted as much as other universities. However, due to Covid-19, we saw a small reduction in international students, marking the cutback in international mobility that we will experience in the short term. This is a characteristic common to all universities and it is even more serious overseas.
In the upcoming term we would like to keep being an inclusive university, giving everyone the possibility to come here to study. Indeed, we have expanded the offer of scholarships for the upcoming year. In addition to need-based scholarships, we are introducing additional merit awards, such as the “Dean’s list” and the “Excellence awards”.
Another important aspect is digitalization. We would like to take advantage of the innovations we introduced to make a teaching consistent with students’ paths of study and more customized according to the characteristics of individuals, with their potential and their choices. Indeed, the new generation has to become more and more familiar with data science and computer science. So, it is very possible that we will work to introduce a Computer Science Department, to become more specialized in that area”.