Source: Promo | Sunday, 17.09.2017.| 15:20

Jasna Dominko Baloh, director of DOBA Faculty – You cannot be late for virtual classes

Jasna Dominko Baloh
The beginning of another academic year is drawing closer, and the enrollment is still ongoing at certain faculties. The Maribor-based DOBA Faculty, where future online freshmen can enroll at all available programs until September 30, is one of them.

The DOBA Faculty is a part of the DOBA business group, the biggest private educational institution in Slovenia, which has the tradition, international accreditation of quality, European standards, accredited and exclusive programs and seventeen years of experience in online education. The DOBA Faculty has four accredited undergraduate programs and four master programs in four languages – Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian and English. Accredited Bologna program of both the first (bachelor) degree (Marketing, Social Media and Public Relations, Business, Business and Management in Tourism) and the second (master) degree (International Business, Marketing and Sales and Smart City Management) has been realized for nine years now in the Serbian language.

Jasna Dominko Baloh, director of the DOBA Faculty, discusses online studying, new course programs and the students of the biggest private faculty in Slovenia.

Research shows that over a half of courses in faculties will be based on online studying methods by 2019. Although faculties in the world are joining the digital race at a great rate, it seems that online studying is still a topic requiring additional explanation. What is online studying precisely?

– Online studying entails much more than listening to pre-recorded lectures. It is studying adapted to 21st century students. Online mentors are available to students seven days a week for all questions that can be asked at the forum of the course in a virtual amphitheater where the studies are conducted. Studying in a virtual amphitheater enables you to not only make your own class schedule, but to also save the time and the money you would otherwise lose through using public transportation, being away from work etc. The door of a virtual classroom is always open and can be entered while at home or on a trip, so you cannot be late for a virtual class.

The DOBA Faculty undertook a revolutionary endeavor nearly two decades ago. However, the situation in the region has not changed considerably regarding online studies. How much has the situation truly changed since then?

– We broke the ice regarding online studying 17 years ago and our 3,596 graduates prove that we are still the regional leader. The DOBA Faculty has fully adapted to modern needs in the past few years, which is why we are still the only faculty with internationally accredited 100% online studies in Southeast Europe. This year alone, there are already 74% students in the bachelor and master programs living or working abroad – in Germany, Russia, Dubai, Qatar, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Canada, Belgium, as well as in the countries in the region – Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. The quality of online studying is also proven by the fact that 56% of the graduates of the DOBA Faculty earn more, get promoted or change their job for the better after they acquire the diploma.

We are aware that education in tourism is very important so as to utilize the tourism potentials as well as possible, and the DOBA Faculty offers the only accredited online course in the field of tourism in Serbian, Business and Management in Tourism. How important is it to have educated workforce in this sector?

– The research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council has shown that each dollar spent in tourism contributes or initiates the spending of another 3.2 dollars in a country’s economy. The results of the analysis by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia have shown that, of the 55,000 people directly employed in tourism and hospitality of Serbia, only a fifth has been truly educated for the needs of those sectors. This share should be much bigger, as educated workforce in tourism contributes considerably to the development of this industry in any country. On the other hand, acquiring an academic title is a requisite for big career advancements and three quarters of our students have enrolled for the purpose of online studying, as 64% are already employed in the field of tourism. Our students can potentially be hired in projects of the leading companies in this sector, as our partners are Terme Olimia, Relax Turizem, Terme Krka Novo Mesto, Urbani Spa, Unior, Naravno Zdravilisce Topolsica, Martura and Hotel Diana.

Another new course has been introduced at your faculty, namely, the master program Smart City Management in the English language. The course description says that students will become experts for the future. What do these master studies look like?

– The program is meant for individuals who will be active in shaping public policies and implementing them in the development, as well as in running and managing the cities of the future. The lecturers are renowned experts in the field and the practitioners in the implementation of local solutions in the country and abroad. By working on realistic projects and gaining insight into the examples of good practices of development and management of smart cities in the country and abroad, our students acquire the knowledge they will be able to implement in their environment immediately. At this course, we expect motivated, creative individuals, who will actively participate in the studying process, who are team people, who are looking to develop personally and master the English language.

You have already mentioned that over 3,500 people from the region and the diaspora have completed the undergraduate and master studies at the DOBA Faculty. Considering that the age of your students ranges from 25 to 40, who are they?

– Our students are people hungry for knowledge, those who believe that the learning process has no end. They are aware that the jobs in marketing, social media, public relations, sales, management in tourism and smart city management are the jobs of the future. Our students are employed, but they are looking to advance professionally. They are constantly working on improving themselves, but they are aware that, to achieve this goal, they need a diploma form a faculty accredited in Europe and they therefore enter our virtual amphitheater.

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