MOOCs and the Future of Management Education

The growing number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered at the top business schools is something of a hot button topic these days. Harvard Business School joined the fray this past spring, but rather than using an existing platform such as Coursera to launch its courses, HBS elected instead to create its own proprietary digital platform, HBX.

In a new Harvard Business Review blog post, HBS graduate and former faculty member Pankaj Ghemawat takes a look at what business schools don’t get about MOOCs, which, he argues, is basically that the future of management education will be a combination of these new and traditional teaching methods, not a battle for superiority between them.

As an example, Ghemawat points out the difference in approach between HBS and the Wharton School, which last year announced it would offer a Wharton MBA Foundation Series that would allow students all over the world to learn the same material a first-year Wharton MBA student would. Harvard Business School, meanwhile, is using its MOOCs to target pre-MBAs.

Professor Ghemawat, who has also taught a MOOC for IESE Business School on the Coursera platform, sees the strengths of each of these approaches but calls them seriously incomplete.

“Both schools treat MOOCs as complements to their existing offerings, rather than as substitutes—complements that are disconnected from what goes on in their traditional classrooms,” says Ghemawat, who suggests a recombining of efforts would be more beneficial.

His post covers arguments from the traditional-minded elite business schools’ position, and offers thought-provoking counterpoints to each assertion. As we move further into the digital age of management education, a deeper understanding of the power and possibilities that MOOCs can provide is in order. I invite you to follow the link above to learn more of Ghemawat’s thoughts on the issue.

You may also be interested in:

Harvard Business School Offers its First MOOC

Harvard Business School Enters Online Learning

Weigh Trying a MOOC Before Your MBA


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