Focus on our online courses
From the beginning of the health crisis, the Luxury Hotelschool reacted to allow the Bachelor's and Master's students to continue studying as normally as possible. Online courses were already part of the school’s culture, which includes in its Bachelor a hotel management certificate in collaboration with Cornell University. Taught entirely online on Canvas, the content is delivered asynchronously: students must consult videos, study articles and work on a mini project at their convenience. Supervised by a teacher, these online courses use a forum in which students must participate - this is part of their evaluation - but also several live sessions by videoconference to exchange ideas and ask questions.
In the Bachelor's as well as in the Master's, academic contents are made available on Moodle, the online learning platform or Learning Management System (LMS) of London South Bank University which validates the two degrees at the Luxury Hotelschool. Moodle allows students to access presentations, academic papers and videos. During lockdown, lecturers can record their lessons on their slides with Powerpoint, managing the timing of the presentation that students can watch later. Lecturers can present the research papers to be studied and explain the assessments required to validate the course. Always asynchronous, this technique cannot replace an entire course but made it possible to organise the last sessions when the rest of the lectures had been given before quarantine.
Most of the Luxury Hotelschool's lessons have been transferred from the classroom to Zoom . The main features for animating a course are screen sharing, conversations, file sharing and above all, subgroup management. A 3-hour session on Zoom must be punctuated with frequent activities to avoid monotony, for example: Introduction of the theme, activities and objectives by the lecturer who shares slides in full screen. Discussion around a topic, the lecturer can display a question or a case on the screen, students can use a button to "raise their hand". The theoretical part of the course must be shortened as much as possible. Students must have access to the readings before class through the school’s online library. During the whole session, it is important that the student’s cameras remain turned on to measure attention and get visual feedback. The lecture should make good use questioning techniques to maintain student’s engagement. In the second part of the course, the lecturer can organise an activity in small groups, a presentation on an academic theme or a case study. Zoom allows us to create virtual breakout rooms in which students can be assigned individually or randomly. In each virtual room, participants can share their screen. The lecturer then goes from one room to another to guide the groups. In these activities, we use Google Docs  to make students work together, for example on a common presentation. Google Slides allows students to work on the same presentation. Each student can add or modify content on the slides, the other students seeing what others do live. This powerful tool allows great online interactivity. At any time, students have a button to "ask for help" from the lecturer who can join their room. The lecturer can also send recommendations in the form of messages to groups or directly modify the presentation and add comments... The last part of the course is devoted to the presentation. All students must participate and the lecturer can give immediate feedback. The online course ends with the program for the next course and the work to be done.
Working in small groups on a common document is essential. Even if the classes do not exceed 20 students at the Luxury Hotelschool, participation is made easier online with groups of 4 or 5. Students love it and the random distribution allows great diversity in the groups, much appreciated in this period of lockdown. Students ask for more and the school has scheduled several additional sessions such as workshops for the final assessments, or a serious game on 2 weeks for 40 students… It is not uncommon for a session scheduled for 3 hours to actually last 3:30 or 4 hours, which is extremely rare for an in-class lecture.
"These changes in no way affect the quality of the lectures as we were perfectly ready since online education had already been put in place at the beginning of last winter during the transport strike", underlines Arnaud Bouvier, President of Luxury Hotelschool Paris. "Students and teachers are very involved and the quality of our academic education is intact. We even plan to schedule online seminars next year, for example during placement, to help trainees analyse their experience on the job. " Located at 69 boulevard Haussmann in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the Luxury Hotelschool is a family-run educational institution in which relationships between students, lecturers and administration are strong and conviviality is essential. To maintain the link, the school organises as well large-scale videoconferences bringing together all the students. These conferences are essential to present the planning of the coming weeks, or talk about placements and year validation... Finally, to maintain a good atmosphere and challenge students, everyone participates in an interactive quiz on Kahoot about luxury brands and palaces, a very user-friendly interactive experience that can also be integrated into a lecture as well, or for the more serious version on Socrative.