BI has worked purposefully on digitalisation for several years, both with respect to our work processes and the way teaching is organised. In 2020, both had to become fully digital.
Covid-19 and digital teaching: Full-time programmes
No more than four days after BI locked down its campuses in March, teaching was resumed via Zoom. This was the start of a demanding and still ongoing process where BI‘s academic staff have been forced to think along new lines as regards teaching. The Library and Learning Centre was involved at an early stage; in the beginning the focus was on training colleagues in the technical use of Zoom, through workshops, guidance and information. Already in May, the academic environments wanted an increased pedagogical focus, which led to the preparation of workshops related to pedagogical use of digital tools.
This was followed up by a row of intensive courses in how to use Zoom pedagogically before the start of the semester and during the autumn. This gradually transformed into arrangements for experience sharing among lecturers. This readjustment, with a focus on quick digitalization and decisions to provide fewer lectures in real time, have been the drivers behind a major innovation process at BI.
Until March 2020, all teaching basically took place physically in the classroom. BI’s capacity for streaming was very limited. In the past year a major process, which is still going on, was started to upgrade the audio-visual infrastructure in all classrooms at BI and to procure a new video platform to support streaming. This work will be completed in the winter of 2021.
Covid-19 and digital teaching: Executive programmes
To a large degree the academic outcome of BI’s further education programmes depends on the students’ own will to actively participate in the teaching. During the corona pandemic, therefore, BI has focused strongly on improving the quality of the digital teaching to give the students a fully adequate learning experience. An important success factor in this context was the support given to the academic staff in connection with their teaching.
Good examples of this in 2020 was the way the EMBA, EMME and BI-Fudan MBA programmes were conducted. Here, the lecturers were supported by a production team including both coordinators and technical support by the learning centre, which ensured that the member of the academic staff only needed to concentrate on the academic aspects, whereas the production team took care of all technical matters. The feedback from the students, who pay several hundred thousand NOK for each programme, has been good.
In the past year 741 examinations were held at BI. Due to the corona pandemic, 95.4% of these examinations were taken as digital home examinations. With one exception, the remaining examinations were taken as written examinations before BI locked down all its campuses on 12 March.
Implementation of a new digital examination tool
In 2019 BI decided to change its digital examination tool, from DigiEx to WISEflow, primarily to reduce costs and the risk of technical failure during examinations. The objective is to conduct all digital examinations through the new system in 2021.
During the spring of 2020 BI organized a total of 11 examinations through WISEflow, all given by the Department of Economics. In the autumn of 2020, all the departments joined in the further implementation WISEflow, with a total of 45 examinations taken through this system.
The most important focus of the project is the students’ experience. So far, their feedback is positive. With the exception of one examination, the use of WISEflow at BI took place without any major challenges.
Completed degrees and digital diplomas
In 2019 all diplomas and certificates were issued in digital form as standard. Transcripts are no longer produced at BI as students with a Norwegian national identity number will now find these in the Diploma Portal. During the period 1 September 2019 - 31 August 2020, 3,875 degrees were completed at BI.
Digital application process
In 2020 BI decided to place everyone working on admissions in one department. The purpose was to strengthen professional competence, efficiency and robustness. The new department was operational as from 1 January 2020. It has a staff of 15 and is responsible for admissions to full-time programmes, as well as the Executive, Corporate and PhD programmes.
Digital student organization
The work of BISO, the student organization, has been strongly marked by the pandemic. Almost all planned activities were cancelled or changed to digital events, which, among other things, resulted in a strong reduction of the activities during the buddy weeks on the different campuses. BISO, however, organized several digital gatherings and rallies for students who experienced being affected by the cancellations. «The Career Days», which normally bring almost 100 different enterprises to the campus, had to be organized digitally. In spite of very little time for preparation, BISO managed to make the event a big success.
Major development projects in 2020
In 2020, BI invested 121.3 million NOK in development projects. These projects are tools that are intended to help BI realize its strategy. The following are examples of such projects:
Throughout the year, large parts of the organization have been involved in implementation and training related to BI’s new quality assurance system. The purpose of the system is to ensure that the organization has adequate tools to document and measure the school’s systematic quality work, both at institutional and programme level.
To deal with first-line inquiries from potential students, existing students and past students, BI implemented Salesforce as a tool in 2020. The tool already shows good effects and now forms a central part of the platform BI Customer Experience (BICX), which is primarily linked to making student handling and internal work processes more efficient.
In 2020 BI has also further developed and optimized the new and mobile phone adapted student portal that was introduced shortly before the start of the autumn semester in 2018. During the past year, several BI employees have been involved in the development of a new intranet for BI employees, with an ambition of introducing it early in 2021.