A panel of academic experts from Taiwan, Malaysia, and Switzerland shared strategies for the survival and growth of tourism, hospitality, events, and culinary arts (TH&E) education in the post-pandemic era as part of the first THE-ICE virtual International Panel of Experts (VIPoE) 2020.
Virtual panellists Professor Mei-Jung Sebrina Wang (Professor & Dean, International College, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, Taiwan (R.O.C.)), Professor Perry Hobson (Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, Sunway University, Malaysia), and Mr John Daly (Director of Quality Assurance, Swiss Education Group, Switzerland) led a discussion about the future of TH&E education in a post-pandemic world, including strategies implemented during the pandemic crisis and strategies for survival and growth in the medium to long term. From this, a number of key themes emerged:
- Impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning
- The post-pandemic era for TH&E industry and education
- Strategies for institutional survival and growth post-pandemic
Within these areas, the following key takeaways were highlighted:
Impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning
- Enrolments have decreased, and in looking to attract different market segments in future institutions have increased collaboration, collaborators, and tools, as well as investing in different technology infrastructure and therefore increasing investment in training.
- Of the panel attendees polled, 76% said that classroom teaching had been replaced by distance teaching and learning at their institution, and 24% said that their teaching and learning had not been affected.
- Of the panel attendees polled, 71% said that, on average, enrolment numbers are down in their institution by less than 20%, 21% said that enrolments were down less than 40%, and 7% said that enrolments were down less than 60%.
- Collaborations have increased and have manifested in a number of different ways. Local connections have intensified because of the reduced viability of international collaboration, and there has been increased dialogue with an increased number of communities including industry, local and federal governments, peer institutions, and other stakeholders.
- Fixed mindsets about teaching and learning have been, and will continue to be, one of the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities in the pandemic environment.
- There has been a focus on alternative delivery modes, primarily online and blended learning. However, practical education, placements and internships, and the interpersonal focus and social presence that is a hallmark of TH&E is difficult to teach, achieve, and maintain in a socially distanced and/or distance learning environment.
- Internet access and speed and time zone differences are bigger challenges for some regions than others, and this can affect the pacing of both synchronous and asynchronous delivery. Connectivity and availability of IT resources are key challenges for all online and hybrid learning.
- Professor Wang presented the findings of her recent study which showed that in distance/online learning:
- Instructor involvement is very important, and is evident to students from the materials used, teaching style implemented, and supplemental activities facilitated by the instructor/s.
- Interaction intensity and community cohesiveness are low due to the reduction in non-verbal nuances such as social cues and feedback, and the breaking of traditional classroom norms.
The post-pandemic era for TH&E industry and education
- Things will continue to change, and more hybrid models, micro credentials, short courses, and education-industry collaborations are anticipated in the future.
- Tourism will rebound and crisis management, safety and security, creativity, and virtual collaboration should now be built into the curriculum in preparation for the reopening of the industry.
- Institutions which can adapt faster, and which are agile and responsive to stakeholders (students, staff, industry, government) will come out on top.
Strategies for institutional survival and growth post-pandemic
- Engaging students in institutional problem solving, and facilitating internal collaborations and skill shares to support staff and colleagues.
- Providing teacher support through alternative pedagogical resources from national and international platforms.
- Engaging with industry to determine what kinds of new internships could be made available, and how online internships and virtual collaborations could be delivered.
- Segmented pricing policies may be implemented, e.g. different fees for off-campus students who do not use campus facilities.
- Facilitating flexible individualised learning, which may also be borderless, time-limitless, and mobile.
- Aligning education and industry to determine the future talents expected from graduates and building these skills and competencies into the curriculum.
- Considering the physical expectations of teaching and learning online for the wellbeing of students and staff, and ensuring that staff are properly equipped with technology and training.
- Potentially offering virtual exchange programs, in which students can join an online class through an international institution of their choice, and student collaborations across institutions which can be linked to classroom modules, working on a project or challenge that has been set by industry.