The following information was sent by email on January 28, 2020 to all DKU MMS Students from Russ Morgan, Senior Associate Dean.
The nature of the virus and health risk makes it difficult for us to make a definitive plan but we are moving forward with a plan for your studies over the next two months. In making that plan we had a number of objectives including maintaining the quality of your learning and education, continuing to support a collaborative team environment, allowing you to remain on a schedule to graduate in May 2020, and retaining the optionality to continue immersion in China at the Kunshan campus if the health risk permits.
The MMS:DKU schedule and the ability of Fuqua to readily provide online/synchronous courses provides us flexibility in scheduling for the next two months (until the end of March), even though DKU is scheduled to re-open on Feb 17.
With that in mind, we spell out that plan below.
Hybrid Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Connected Classes
- The Market Research class, taught by Prof. Julie Edell, is scheduled for February 3 – February 15, 2020. We plan to deliver that course to you through online sessions that will be at times, live sessions with your ability to participate and ask questions (synchronous), and at other times, recorded sessions (asynchronous). Prof. Edell will also be available for live office hours to have zoom conversations with you as well. As you are aware the time change between Durham, NC and Kunshan, China will mean anything live will need to be either early or late and we are working on a schedule.
- Spreadsheet Modelling, taught by Prof. Patrick Noonan, is scheduled for February 18 – March 3, 2020. We also plan to deliver the course through online sessions in a manner similar to the Market Research class.
- Managerial Accounting, taught by Prof. Hao Xue, is scheduled March 7 – March 21, 2020. Again, we also plan to deliver the course through online sessions in a manner similar to the Market Research class.
Return to DKU Campus for Reconnection and Engagement
- Our current expectation is that you could return to the Kunshan campus after spring break for the start of the Business Communication class on March 30, 2020 and remain there through the Financial Valuation class and graduation. We will monitor the situation, and recognize we may have to deliver the Business Communications and Financial Valuation classes in an alternative format if the risk continues.
We feel this allows you to move forward with more concrete plans for the next two months without being beholden to a potentially moving date of when the restrictions related to the health risk will be lifted. While we can’t control when the risk will abate we can take some measures that allow you to plan more deliberately. Importantly, it also retains the options to allow your re-immersion at the Kunshan, China campus for the last 6 weeks of the program, which we hope will be possible.
Flexibility and Moving Forward
- This has been a shock to us all and requires a great deal of flexibility from faculty, staff, and all of you as we move forward. If any of you desire to take a Leave of Absence (LOA), we will support that with the option to return to the program in January 2021 in Kunshan.
- While you can expect that the online delivery of courses will feel different than face to face delivery, one is not necessarily better than the other. We have a great deal of experience with delivery of courses in a synchronous and asynchronous environment like we have outlined and are fortunate to have a staff and equipment that allows this as an option. Our Weekend MBA students and our Global Executive MBA students have online delivery as a regular component of their classes and our Daytime MBAs, MMS, and MQM students have all experienced online classes as a substitute for face to face when faced with weather events that limited access to campus in Durham.
For the Chinese students, you may remain at home or where comfortable for the online classes. Non-Chinese students may desire to return to their home country during this period and we support that. I understand the non-Chinese students just received their passports and travel will be an option.
Implied next steps are to expect a syllabus from us for the Market Research class and expect that it will begin in an online format on Monday, February 3. Outside of the travel restrictions and passport access, you are in control of where you participate in the classes over the next two months. That includes being responsible for having internet access that hopefully can be in real time for the synchronous classes but at a minimum at regular intervals to interact with your team and review the class recordings.
We hope this provides some clarity around the program for the next two months. Beyond that, we have some time to monitor and adjust but are hopeful you are back on campus at the end of March for your last two classes.