UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business recently announced it plans to tap into cutting-edge teaching technologies with the launch of three digital courses on a pilot basis beginning this summer. Funds from a $1 million matching gift from Steve and Susan Chamberlin, former members of the Haas faculty, will cover the costs of these pilots, as well as similar initiatives at other UC Berkeley professional schools.
Data and Decisions, the first online course debuting in June, is a prerequisite for the school’s Evening & Weekend MBA Program. In the undergraduate program, Tiffany Rassmusen will teach Professional Judgment in Accounting online starting in July.
The school also reveals that associate professor Cameron Anderson will begin teaching his popular MBA elective Power and Politics course online. Anderson believes that format will work better at creating a level playing field for students who may be less likely to speak up in class. “This is a much safer environment that pushes them to contribute a lot more,” Anderson says. “I think there is going to be a ton more participation.”
Adam Berman, Haas’ executive director of emerging initiatives, who is leading Haas’ online activities, had this to say:
“One of the biggest advantages is this: when I go in and teach a class, I’m teaching the same thing to all 30, 60, or 100 students and I don’t fully know whether my students understand the material. Online there’s not only a way to understand whether students are progressing but also which concepts are challenging for students to learn. This will allow faculty to tailor instruction to each student. That’s a huge difference.”
Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean for instruction, notes that the Haas School specifically selected quantitative and qualitative courses for this initial digital launch, as well as hand-picked faculty with diverse teaching styles. Three different vendors will implement the pilots, he adds, so that Haas may better learn which approaches to developing online courses are most effective.
“Digital education is revolutionizing how we teach, including our traditional courses. It already affords us new and deeper ways to customize how students absorb material and how they link it to their own interests,” says Dean Rich Lyons. “This is the future. We need to shape it─and be a leader.”