‘CASE LEARNING REALLY WORKS’
“The case method of learning really works and people love it. I tell people all the time that the case method was 100 years ahead of its time because if you think about online learning today it is about storytelling. The case method effectively teaches business concepts by storytelling, by putting you in the shoes of a protagonist. I have come to believe it’s really the only effective way to teach online.”
The cohort nature of HBS’ programs may put off some who want more flexible, on-demand online coursework. Mullane acknowledges that some potential students may prefer other options in long distance business education. “At first, you might consider that a negative because of the lack of flexibility,” he says.
“We are not on demand. You have to sign up for a start date and a cohort. So you have a bounded time from start to finish, and we do that to drive students through the coursework at the same pace. Once people do it, they really value it significantly. They develop relationships with their fellow learners and many of them go far beyond the course and into the real world with long-term friendships.”
HARVARD EXPECTS TO LAUNCH FOUR NEW ONLINE COURSES IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF THIS YEAR
The one time HBS invited students enrolled in its online courses to a live event on campus in 2017, some 500 people showed up for the one-day conference to meet their peers face-to-face. “When we did it virtually last year, a lot of people complained. We will do it in April this year for current and past participants. I think we will have to put a cap on it because the pool of people is larger, and I suspect we won’t be able to handle all the people who want to come.”
Looking ahead to the near future, Mullane says the school has four new courses teed up in the first quarter alone Two of them are on leadership, and then there is another global business course that takes a look at business and strategy from a global economic perspective.
“The other thing you will see in the next couple of years is that we are finding ways to integrate back into the MBA program some of the stuff we are doing online,” says Mullane. “That will be an important milestone. I suspect that will happen more here over the next couple of years.”
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