International Virtual Course: Pandemic is not an obstacle in implementing International scale program

Although implemented virtually, the SBM ITB summer school program was finished well through the pandemic of Covid-19. Not only did it change method, but this program also changed its name from Summer School to International Virtual Course (IVC). With Andika Putra Pratama as the Person in Charge, this program had been running from November 7th to December 13th, 2020.

While done in the online method, many international students are still interested in joining this annual program. This fact can be seen from the various student countries of origin. “In SBM itself, there are students from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippine. And the Singapore students also come from various countries like Nepal, Myanmar, and Australia,” said Andika Putra Pratama when asked about the origin of the participating countries in the IVC program.

As one of the executors, SBM ITB tried to make this virtual program have a similar experience with the offline one. The Lecture, Group Discussion, Presentation, and Tasks were carried out following the previous year’s module. The difference is the method and more unique tasks that help students show their creativity, like vlogging about new cultural knowledge from a specific country.

Evidently, the inability to meet physically brings a positive impact in this international program.  Foreign lecturers do not need to come directly to Indonesia so that SBM ITB could get guest lecturers from more countries. For this years, the guest lecturers came from the USA, Germany, Swiss, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Beyond this event’s success, the International Virtual Course must face some challenges through the online method.  Andika Putra Pratama revealed,” Because this class aimed to facilitate students learning and cooperate according to their respective backgrounds, ways of working, and their perspectives when we do it virtually, the challenge lies in the limited human touch. We can’t see each other’s faces.” Furthermore, Andika explained that students’ commitment to following all of the courses was one of the challenges. “The students came from several countries and didn’t know one another before, so building up the commitment is very challenging, plus this class is conducted during the weekend,” he added.

Initially, this program is supposed to be canceled due to pandemic constraints that hit almost all countries in the world. However, after going through various considerations, ITB still decided to run this program even without physical activity. As a result, this year, the International Virtual Course was held shorter, namely for 4-5 weeks on Saturdays and Sundays under the Cross-Cultural and Conflict Management course for SBM ITB students focusing on learning about different cultures and how to manage conflict about it.