Why 50,000 People Are Signing Up To Take This Business Course

Translating those ideas and concepts online has led to several adjustments in the way he would normally teach the course. Hess learned, for example, that while frequent quizzes were critical to reinforce learning, multiple-choice tests were not ideal. “I learned that the best way is to have students fill in the blanks. We don’t use Powerpoints in most case study classes, so I had to learn the science of how to format them in colors that would make more of an impression.”

‘IT’S MADE ME THINK DEEPLY ABOUT WHAT I DO IN MY COURSES’

In July, he began redesigning his MBA course for the new platform. He’s done one taping trial to get used to the cameras, the format, the use of the Powerpoints, and the pacing of the lecture. He begins five days of filming in Darden’s TV studio in the third week of October.

“There’s is a lot to think about,” says Hess. “How do I talk, behave and make relevant content which I think is very important for a business builder or owner interested in growing businesses? How do you reach people with varied interest and different cultural backgrounds? How do you keep them engaged because they can vote with their click or their feet at any time? So it’s made me think more deeply about what I do in my courses.”

The school has no idea how much it will cost to put Hess’ part one and part two of the course online.”Our view is that this is strategically important, and worth what it takes to get going,” adds Bruner. “The world of Massive Open Online Courses is brave and new. Like a number of famous innovation efforts in business, we’re handling the development of our MOOCs on a “bootleg” basis, where volunteers simply rally around the project and do it.  In the long run, bootleg production is not sustainable.  But after this learning launch, we’ll have an idea of what a MOOC costs to produce and what compensation would be appropriate.”

For now, Hess is just dumbfounded that so many people want to take the course, although Hess is the first to tell you that all of them might not show up on Jan. 28th when the first class goes up.

HIS WIFE HAS BET HIM $100 THAT 50,000 PEOPLE WILL EVENTUALLY SIGN UP FOR THE FREE COURSE

Even so, in August, when 15,000 students had registered for the course, Hess’ wife bet him $100 that by early September, he would have 25,000 students. “I told her, ‘You’re crazy.’” But the list hit 26,000 soon after that and Hess had to payoff the bet. She now has another $100 on the line, betting that some 50,000 will eventually flock to the course. “She’s enjoying the extra spending money,” laughs Hess.

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