The COVID-19 pandemic led to the virtual delivery of the course on Foreign Direct Investment Policies (September 7–18). Instead of one week of full-day sessions, it consisted of ten half-day sessions over two weeks to adapt the course to the more challenging conditions of virtual delivery, notably the problem of professional distractions—most of the participants were connecting from their workplaces.
This year the course attracted 18 participants, most of them from the Western Balkans and Caucasus regions. They were young professionals working in public investment promotion agencies, national banks, and ministries of economics and finance.
Internet Connectivity as Major Challenge
The participants rated the course highly—their scores averaged 4.7 out of 5; they especially appreciated the range of topics covered and the mix of training methods, which included not only lectures but also workshops and participant presentations. Many noted in their comments that what they had learned would be helpful in their future work.
The major problem for the course was that many participants had internet connectivity challenges. This made it difficult for some to connect to the course, and during the course most could not switch on their video cameras, which limited both the interactivity of the course itself and the possibilities of informal peer-to-peer communication and networking. As course participants often come from countries with less developed IT infrastructure, poor internet connectivity might affect negatively participation in virtual courses for some time.
Olga Pindyuk, wiiw