The School of Business + Media is a shining example of how BCIT has adapted and innovated in response to the pandemic. With over 100 programs and 300 courses, the School successfully pivoted to mainly online delivery while continuing to provide students with applied learning taught by instructors who are industry experts.
These industry connections have never been more crucial as students look to gain pandemic-resilient skills in this uncertain time. Looking back, what are some noteworthy lessons learned, both from an education and business perspective, and what are the most important skills for Business + Media students looking ahead?
Applied learning in a hands-off world
Dr. Leelah Dawson, Dean of the School of Business + Media, recalls the collaboration, innovation, and challenge required when BCIT had to quickly and safely pivot the delivery model of its courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had very little time to figure out how to deliver over 100 programs in an online format,” says Leelah.
As Leelah points out, however, all faculty and staff stepped up to share expertise, brainstorm, and implement solutions. She says it was a testament to the strength of the polytechnic institute – providing powerful applied solutions to solve industry challenges and safely deliver flexible, relevant, and future-proof education to learners.
“Heroic efforts were made to deliver courses online where possible, and in such a way that the quality of student learning was preserved”
Programs such as Graphic Communications Technology Management, and Broadcast and Media Communications require training using specialized equipment. When September arrived, BCIT implemented strict safety protocols and guidelines to welcome students back on campus for the hands-on component of their programs.
Challenges giving rise to opportunities
Despite the challenges brought upon by the pandemic, Leelah also witnessed some unexpected benefits.
“It’s given us an opportunity to really think about how we can deliver courses in new ways, to think outside the box, and to reimagine what’s possible – all in an effort to enhance student learning,” says Leelah.
She also says video conferencing technology has made meet-and-greet opportunities with C-suite executives much more accessible. Many are now available to attend classes as guest speakers, which has been hugely valuable for students in building industry connections well before they graduate.
“The CEO of a major Toronto investment firm was able to join our financial planning class via Zoom,” says Leelah. “Opportunities like this were simply not available before due to logistical barriers.”
Strong demand for careers in business and media
Business + Media programs have seen strong demand in recent months, with high enrolments in both full-time and part-time studies, which Leelah attributes to people having more time to (re)consider career options.
“The pandemic has reimagined many sectors. With this, many are looking for opportunities to reskill or upskill in response to the changing demands of the workforce.”
Leelah says the School of Business + Media is more prepared than ever to offer students a career that is pandemic-resilient.
Programs to prepare students for pandemic-resilient jobs
Leelah says demand is shifting rapidly towards programs in which jobs can be performed remotely and job skills are cross-functional, such as digital arts, new media, and design.
“People are looking at programs and thinking about jobs which offer protection from future disruptions, and the School of Business + Media has several to choose from,” says Leelah.
BCIT has also recently developed an e-learning strategy which Leelah says will create personalized, accessible, and flexible programs for students, utilizing technologies like cloud computing and virtual desktops. She also says they are fostering innovation at both ends of the programming spectrum, with the development of a master’s degree, as well as teaching specific skillsets, known as microcredentials.
“Students looking to upskill can earn digital badges and credentials with these short modules,” says Leelah. “Microcredentials will help students stay ahead of the curve and provide them with opportunities for lifelong learning.”
Leelah says that, at the end of the day, the real key to student success going forward is what the Institute’s core strength has been for decades.
“The School of Business + Media has been training students to be resilient since day one, and that will give them the competitive edge they need to take their career to the next level.”
Learn more about programs to prepare you for a career in the business and media sector.