Escuela Internacional de Verano

Visiting professors of the International Summer School share their experience at Universidad de los Andes

Agosto 5, 2020

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Diana Kolbe (EGADE Business School), Jennifer Goodman (Audencia Business School) and Soumyadeb Chowdhury (Aston Business School), together with Helena González (NEOMA Business School), joined the School’s International Summer School from July 6th to 17th, 2020.

The School’s journalist interviewed them to find out their impressions about the School, the students in their courses, their lives as scholars and their experience in online teaching.

  • When and why did you decide to pursue an academic career?

Diana Kolbe

It was not the plan at the beginning, it was more something that happened as I started my Ph.D. in Spain. For me it was the accomplishment of a personal goal, but my tutors guided me and they gave me a lot of advice. I had a wonderful relationship with them, and so I considered taking a job offer at the university and this is how it happened.

Jennifer Goodman

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

I always wanted to be an academic, it was my childhood dream. I like sharing what I have and I like learning from others, this is always the way I have thought about the world around me. So, an academic career was a clear path for me. Once I had done my MA at Glasgow University, I had the opportunity to pursue my PhD and that was a clear indication that this is what I wanted to do. At first, I think it was about sharing and learning, but once I got into the academic world, it has been about learning and learning and re-learning. I think that’s the key message and motivation, to be constantly learning makes me pursue an academic career and makes me more passionate about what I do. 

  • What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?

Diana Kolbe

I think it’s seeing the students’ development, watching them grow. They learn something new every day. I think we have a lot of variety and we have to adapt to new situations, new topics, and be very up-to-date with what we do.

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

I think the most satisfying aspect for me is that I am able to teach and share my knowledge with students and I am playing a role in developing the future generations.

  • How do you think your work and your research contribute to society as a whole?

Diana Kolbe

I think the basic impact we have is on smaller enterprises because in most cases they have no knowledge about how to get started, to get into a foreign market, the use of technology, etc. So, in this research area, I think it’s important to show them that nowadays having a percentage in online channels is not an extra, it’s a must. And if they want to grow they have to adapt to these situations. So this is one impact. Regarding my research, we have a lot of Tecnológico de Monterrey students who begin to create their own enterprises and they ask for help in terms of brands, or certain marketing topics. It’s very rewarding to see how their enterprises actually grow.

Jennifer Goodman

 

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

  • What other research areas would you like to develop in the future?

Diana Kolbe

Right now I’m working on omnichannel marketing and this is what I am teaching here at Uniandes. My main interest is the integration of online and offline channels to create a seamless customer experience. So I have several projects with colleagues from Tecnológico de Monterrey and my tutors in Spain so that’s what I am doing right now.

Jennifer Goodman

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

  • What do you learn the most from the interaction with your students?

Diana Kolbe

I think that in general the role of teaching has changed. Nowadays the students’ role is no longer passive, they are more active and interactive and this is very enriching for us as professors because we can learn so much from our students. They readand they have their insights and they are specialists in certain fields, and in technology… so I think we can learn a lot from them.

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

Our lessons are divided into an hour of class, an hour of groupwork where we use the breakout rooms in Blackboard Collaborate which is very well integrated, and in the final hour, each group presents. During the groupwork all the tasks are related to their current environment. So, for example, I have asked them questions like “What are the barriers to applying blockchain in Colombia?”, and every group comes up with different answers. This helps me to understand how Colombia is adopting emerging innovations. I learned about the organizational culture, I got to know more about government regulations than I couldn’t ever find on the internet. Some of the students are working in the logistics industry and in the healthcare industry, so they bring that passive knowledge with them which is very different to what I have learned in other economies or even in the UK.

So I have learned a lot about policies and regulations which has been rewarding, and has helped me to understand the knowledge gaps.

  • Tell us about your experience in adapting to a virtual learning environment? What are the major challenges and how have you dealt with them?

Diana Kolbe

 

In general I think it has been a very good experience because we have had some great guidance from the faculty staff and I already had some experience of teaching online because at Tecnológico de Monterrey, we had done this before. With COVID, we had to teach the whole semester online but its going fine, we are adapting quite well. I think the greatest challenge was losing the personal contact with our students which I think is part of the class, part of the experience.

Jennifer Goodman

When we went into confinement back in March, I had a busy timetable when we had to suddenly change from offline classes to online classes, so that was quite challenging but now we have had a bit of time to reflect, it’s easier this time around. For example in terms of what activities work and how they should be changed around; should we turn an oral activity into a written activity and vice versa. So I think it’s definitely easier now given the experience we had back in March and April.

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

The experience has been about learning about the virtual environment and learning about how to deliver a summer school course in a virtual environment, because it is more than delivering a module, so what’s important is the fun, the engagement and also the content. But I must say that I am quite amazed by the way it has been reciprocated by the students, their engagement and the way they have adapted to an online environment is quite interesting. And in terms of the experience, the experience of getting all the information, the experience of having our teaching assistant Sarah helping us has been quite interesting and rewarding and at the same time, it has taught me a lot about the Colombian context.

  • What would you highlight from your virtual experience in delivering a course at the UASM International Summer School?

Diana Kolbe

Jennifer Goodman

It’s been a real pleasure to work with the group that signed up for the course, so we have been really focusing on the plastic issue and sustainability challenges. Although the students come from different courses, there is a real interest and motivation among all of them to learn more about these issues. So, it’s been a really nice experience. Everyone has been very professional, I really stand out the students’ interest, enthusiasm, and participation. It’s also nice to have the different experiences, obviously students come in from different stages of their career, early studies and late studies, so being able to combine that experience is also nice in the class to bring some different dynamics.

Soumyadeb Chowdhury

 

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