Harvard Business School Offers its First MOOC

Harvard Business School has finally revealed the first subject it will offer as a massive open online course, or MOOC, as they are commonly known. More than 10,000 students have already registered for “Innovating in Healthcare,” which begins March 31 on HarvardX, the university’s online learning platform.

This course focuses on creating successful global business innovations in health care that can better meet consumer and societal needs. According to the course description, at its end, students should understand how to evaluate opportunities and the elements of viable business models for different kinds of health care innovations.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports it will be the first HarvardX class taught by a dedicated HBS professor, Regina Herzlinger, who was also the first woman to be tenured and chaired at the business school.

A major hurdle of online education—its solitary nature—is one Herzlinger hopes to overcome by integrating something called Project Lever, a “sort of EHarmony for building businesses” into the edX platform.

Project Lever will match students with the best resources for their research projects, and in Herzlinger’s course, students will use Project Lever to connect with classmates whose skills complement theirs, Businessweek explains. Herzlinger’s online students will have to write a business plan in a team of four to seven people connected through Project Lever.

A second major stumbling block in online learning is the attrition rate. Some studies show 95% of students drop out before completing the course. Herzlinger hopes that team-based learning will combat that issue.  “When students are on teams, they become much more committed to both each other and the class,” she says.

Plans are underway for Harvard Business School to launch HBX, its own online learning channel, this spring.

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