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Eight top-ranked universities and business schools join forces to create a European network of online credited elective courses for undergraduates

The ECOL initiative underscores the importance of building a common European online curriculum that can be expanded and developed over time, following the EU principles of innovation, digitalisation, sustainability and inclusion.
The picture shows a screen shot of the deans of the participating schools and universities at a virtual meeting.
The deans of the eight participating schools and universities discussed the ECOL network in a virtual meeting. Photo: Esade Business School.

A group of eight top European universities and business schools has joined forces to create a “European Common Online Learning” (ECOL) network in response to the COVID-19 outbreak’s educational impact and with the aim of driving innovation and accelerating digitalisation while keeping the value added of different educational approaches. This initiative also underscores the importance of building a common European online curriculum that can be expanded and developed over time, following the European Union’s principles of innovation, digitalisation, sustainability and inclusion.

‘COVID-19 forced us to adapt and reinvent ourselves in order to guarantee the best educational experience possible for our students, developing new learning models and approaches. Some of these changes are here to stay,’ said Josep Franch, Dean of Esade Business School. ‘Our aim is to offer an outstanding remote learning experience, which can be compared with the excellence of campus-based international experiences and make us more competitive in the global arena.’

Fostering innovation through a common online learning offer

The ECOL network will provide a permanent offer of online credited elective courses that will co-exist with their current academic offer for undergraduate students from the network. These courses are especially designed for online teaching and delivery in a synchronous way. They will be innovative in their content and pedagogical approach, including lectures, seminar discussions, and team projects, aiming to develop the student’s teamwork competencies and cross-cultural perspectives aimed at developing the students’ interpersonal and intercultural skills, in addition to the technical ones.

In this way, besides on-site international mobility programs, which will resume its normal operations, undergraduate students from the network will be able to take at least one credited online elective from another top European institution.

‘This is an exciting new way for our students to get international exposure. Through ECOL, even those students who are either unable or unwilling to spend a semester abroad on student exchange have an opportunity to get a foreign study experience, with faculty and class mates from another renowned European business school,’ says Timo Korkeamäki, Dean of Aalto University School of Business.

Partners in the network are European universities and business schools representing the best in class in their countries. All of them belong to the PIM and CEMS alliances and have a wide history of institutional cooperation, through double degrees, joint degrees, joint projects and a large pool of undergraduate students exchanged over decades.

The members of the ECOL network are Aalto University School of Business (Finland); Bocconi University (Italy); Copenhagen Business School (Denmark); Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (The Netherlands); Esade Business School (Spain); HEC Paris (France); University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), and Vienna University of Economics and Business WU (Austria).

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