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09.12.2020

Online and International

PhD Samer Ajour enriches the ESB Business School as a guest lecturer with an exciting block seminar.

PhD Samer Ajour offered an interesting block seminar at ESB Business School.

Collection of ideas: the virtual dashboard as an interactive tool

by Sven Rottner

The ESB Business School is truly international even when personal contact and any direct meeting of cultures are difficult. So this semester, the ESB Business School is once more welcoming lecturers from abroad via its guest lecturer program - even though it will be online.

For example, PhD Samer Ajour from the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Barcelona held a block seminar in the BSc Production Management programme. The elective module “Business Management, Management Accounting & Control” is completely in English and is therefore especially interesting for the exchange students currently at the ESB Business School.

Digital dashboards and small groups

On two weekends in November, Samer Ajour and the students worked on exciting projects, which they presented at the final event on December 5. At no time did Ajour hesitate to accept the challenge of becoming a guest lecturer, especially now. He emphasized the special role that active participation plays in purely online events, saying “in online seminars, it is even more important than in the lecture hall to keep people engaged. A classic lecture structure would definitely fail here.”

That's why Ajour continuously involved the students in the seminar. Instead of just reading from a PowerPoint presentation, he illustrated his thoughts on a virtual dashboard. This made it easier for the participants to follow complex issues.

In spite of the spatial separation, a lively exchange of ideas developed. Working in small groups, the students collected new ideas. Ajour regularly re-mixed the groups so that everyone could talk with everyone else and receive constructive feedback.

See you again? For sure!

From Samer Ajour's point of view, the online format did not detract from its international character. “The international spirit was there from the very beginning. It was a very enriching experience to see how uncomplicated communication was. In any case, the seminar was truly international.” There was also a lot of positive feedback from students. Steffen Luckhardt, student of the BSc Production Management, praised the seminar: „Von dem Seminar bin ich wirklich begeistert. Dass ein solch lebendiger Austausch auch in diesen schwierigen Zeiten möglich war, beeindruckt mich sehr.“ „I am really delighted by this seminar. It deeply impressed me that such a vivid exchange is possible in such difficult times.“

With these lasting impressions, Ajour says he will gladly return to the ESB Business School. His next series of seminars is planned for the coming spring. Even though he would have liked to come to the Reutlingen campus this time, he has not given up hope. “If the situation allows, I would definitely like to physically come to Reutlingen,” he says.

Samer Ajour obtained his PhD at the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Barcelona in 2020. His focus is on finance and sustainability. The block seminar was part of the Visiting Lecturers Programme of ESB Business School.