In March, right in the middle of my second semester in the Master of Finance programme at Frankfurt School, the COVID-19 crisis became more severe and the campus in Frankfurt had to be closed temporarily. The whole semester schedule (lectures, group works and exams) had to be moved online from one day to the other. Frankfurt School immediately provided all professors, students and staff with Zoom accounts. Thereby, we were able to continue with our lectures and prepare for the upcoming exams.
The first lectures were still a bit strange compared to the experience on campus. Professors as well as students had to adapt to the new situation. Everyone had to find the perfect spot at home with proper lighting for the camera and a nice background. Sometimes there were still people walking through the picture, birds singing or police sirens howling in the background.
For in-class group works during the lecture we were split into breakout rooms, a feature of Zoom that allows to divide the class into small groups. In those groups we worked on short Excel cases or questions to deepen the discussed topics. After the discussions, we met with the other groups again to share our findings.
Not only our lectures, but also the exams took place online in the last semester. This was a completely unknown experience to most of the students and professors. Until then, we were used to sitting in a classroom with pen and paper in front of us and utter silence in the room. Lots of questions needed to be answered beforehand on how the online exams will look like, how to get partial credit for calculations or what to do, if the internet connection suddenly breaks down. With hindsight, everything worked out very well for the first experience with online exams and the grades turned out to be quite good.
In addition to the lectures, Frankfurt School hosts lots of other events where students can listen to presentations from industry experts and connect with each other. Usually, these events also take place on campus but in times of COVID-19 this was no longer possible. Within a short period of time, the Student Services department managed to move these events to the virtual campus as well. This allowed us to participate despite the fact that all students were sitting all over the world now. They also gave a great variety for those students that were more or less “locked” in their apartment because of local restrictions.
With the new semester just kicking off, I remain curious about how things will evolve and when we will return to the circumstances that we used to call “normal” before COVID-19. But until then, I am deeply convinced that Frankfurt School will do its best to offer the best possible learning experience and campus life. Even though it is a bit more digital now.