MSIH Innovates The Hybrid Classroom – Social Distancing at the Extreme


Israel was fortunate to begin inoculating its population as soon as the vaccination became available. Through a streamlined acquisition process and very efficient deployment, the country is one of the first to emerge from the Coronavirus Pandemic. While most of the rest of the world remains on lock-down, Israel has been easing its restrictions, culminating this week, with a return to the classroom of university students across the country.

A few weeks ago we reported that 1st year MSIH students were making the best of a bad situation by finding ways to unify as a class, despite their geographic distance. This week, for those in Israel, that came to an end; for the first time since the class commenced studies back in July last year, they met in a classroom – albeit socially distanced.

6,000 Miles Away

But the classroom social distancing tells only half of the story. Through travel restrictions that have been in place for most of the year, about half of the class has never made it to Israel. So, while their classmates were social distancing in room 204, the other half of the class, virtually present at the lecture, were more than 6,000 miles away.

In the first class of its kind ever held at MSIH, Dr. Benzi Samueli, (himself an alumnus of MSIH), taught the first year class in Endocrinology. Half of his students shared the classroom, while the other half joined the lecture through zoom.

“We are fortunate to have teachers and students who make innovation in education easier to implement,” explained MSIH Associate Director, Dr. Ben Taragin. “Although it was a little early in the morning for some of our students, Dr. Samueli’s enthusiasm and some caffeine makes the early hour more tolerable.”

The Hybrid Classroom will continue until all students can finally make it to Israel.

“It has been a very interesting year,” says school Administrative Director, Leaura Navi. “We’ve had to improvise in so many ways, and the hybrid classroom is just another example. Still, even with the challenges, we managed a 96% Match Rate, so we must be doing something right!”