Mays Business School at Texas A&M University educates over 6,400 students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. It ranks among the top US public business schools and is accredited by AACSB-International - the premier accrediting agency for business schools.
Its mission is to be a vibrant learning institution that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders and to keep being a world-class provider of education.
With its strong emphasis on global education, Mays was determined to find a solution that enabled them to maintain high teaching standards while delivering hybrid and remote programs.
Jared Bleak, senior advisor for the Center underlines the importance of getting it right. “Online learning is super-important for business schools. So we need to get better and better at it.”
This led to an in-depth examination of the available possibilities. “While there are different platforms out there that are being used for meetings and conferences, we didn’t feel they were optimal for use with executives,” says Greg Marchi, Chief Learning Officer and Assistant Dean for the Center of Executive Development. “They were designed as meeting or conference platforms. They weren’t designed to be teaching platforms.”
To achieve this mission, the institution decided to extend its educational offering to remote and hybrid learning while maintaining the highest teaching standards, they installed a flexible weConnect virtual and hybrid classroom.
“What I really appreciate is the ability to be myself in a classroom as opposed to sitting in front of a computer screen,” says Bleak. “It affords the opportunity to engage with participants like they are there and use my physicality to create connections. That’s a critical thing in our virtual environment.”
Moving from the drawing board to an actual educational delivery system as sophisticated as weConnect could be an issue. But in practice? “There was obviously prep time for faculty members, myself being one of those,” says Welch. “But once we were utilizing the facilities, there was a very quick learning time, a great overview, great acceptability, unparalleled customer service… And really, only half a day was utilized in prepping to use the service.”
The new possibilities offered by weConnect fit perfectly with their learners needs. “Clients are saying it’s far more cost effective, they’re not having to incur lodging and ensuing expenses. So I see it as a permanent addition to what we have previously been offering.” says Welch.
And looking forward? “We’re looking at what we might be doing 6-12 months into the future,” notes Marchi. “We’ve had a conversation with Barco about how technology is going to evolve, how the user is going to become more demanding with technology. So the best way to future proof is always to think about flexibility, creativity and innovative thinking in your team and your partners.”
Chief Learning Officer and Assistant Dean for the Center of Executive Development