Habakuk feels this would not only leave the country’s schools better placed to deal with emergency situations, but also simplify the sharing of best practice between teachers and schools and enable students to access rapidly evolving virtual learning solutions.
''From the first week of distance learning we can see very clearly just how different the level of preparedness has been between schools in Estonia to implement digital studies. The wide range of resources available for virtual studies has caused a great deal of confusion'', says Habakuk.
Suggestion: switching to a single platform
In developing the Estonian education system we would take a big step forward if we made the transition throughout the country to one of the world’s foremost open, cloud-based virtual learning platforms, which can be translated into Estonia and with which everything needed can be easily integrated: content produced in Estonia and elsewhere and e-courses, while also taking into account the differences that exist between schools.
Habakuk suggests to plan and implement this major step before the start of the next academic year. ''An effective resource is also a doffing of the hat to the work of teachers, who need professional IT support now more than ever,'' says Habakuk.
Habakuk means an environment in which students can find everything they need: a calendar, the learning outcomes, the study programme, the teaching materials, feedback options, assessment, group discussions, recorded lectures, recommended reading and more.
''An environment in which students can do virtual group work during classes, ask questions, make notes in electronic teaching materials, take tests and exams and upload homework; a place where the teacher can monitor the progress of the students’ independent work, share answers to any questions that come up and access everything they need for teaching and everything the students need for studying from their mobile phones, tablets and computers,'' says Habakuk.
EBS chose a virtual learning platvorm in half a year
It took six months for Estonian Business School to choose a suitable virtual learning platform in 2017. In practice this meant that after the decision on 13 March 2020 to make the transition to virtual studies, none of the students or teaching staff at EBS had to install and learn to use a single new piece of software or make any changes to their timetables. Lectures, seminars and workshops are all taking place at the scheduled times and to the planned volume, and all of them can be watched back.
''The 100% transition to virtual studies of the 1400 students at our university and the 120 students at our secondary school was effected in both Tallinn and Helsinki in just one day without the need for any external assistance,'' says Habakuk.
Estonian Business School (EBS) is the oldest private university in the country. A total of 1400 students study at the university at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral levels, who have the opportunity to further their knowledge at any of the 60 partner universities to EBS around the world.