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Would MOOCs pose a threat to MBA programmes?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 9:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 9:05pm

The long-standing model for teaching MBAs and the like has been to bring together aspiring business executives in a classroom setting. But today, the use of technology seems to integrate much into the delivery process of business education.

Most would agree that the rising number of what are becoming known as massive open online courses (MOOCs) pose a potential threat to programmes delivered in the traditional format. Business schools should give deep thought to coping with the fusion of technology and business education.

In a recent book, Disrupt or Be Disrupted: A Blueprint for Change in Management Education, two members of the team of authors – Brooks Holtom, associate professor of management at Georgetown University’s Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business, and Erich Dierdorff, associate professor of management from the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University – warn that it is now time for a change. Many traditional two-year programmes have seen applications declining. Rising tuition costs have also deterred American students, caught in a difficult economic climate, from signing up for an expensive MBA education.

The two authors note the importance of “survival tactics” for business schools, such as building a more relevant curriculum and improving the effectiveness and integration of learning technology. Without a commitment to innovation or renovation, they suggest, the MBA as we know it will suffer from complacency and, ultimately, drift into irrelevance.

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