UCLA Anderson Embraces Online Learning, Introduces FEMBA Flex Option

UCLA AndersonUCLA Anderson became the latest highly ranked business school to incorporate online learning into how it delivers it curriculum. Anderson has just announced its new FEMBA Flex program, a new way for students to complete its existing FEMBA (short for “Fully Employed MBA”) program through a combination of online and in-person learning. The new program will launch in the fall of 2012.

Convenience is clearly a selling point of the new program, perhaps best summed up by this headline on the school’s website: “Make fewer trips to campus, get 100% of the UCLA Anderson MBA experience.” The new program will only require four weekend campus visits per quarter for core classes, with the remainder of learning taking place through the school’s online learning platform.

According to the FEMBA Flex website:

All core courses in FEMBA Flex blend the on-campus classroom experience with web-based lectures, interactive group work, and web-assisted learning tools. The on-campus classes will require only four weekend visits to UCLA per quarter, beginning Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and ending on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. This schedule enables those who live outside of the immediate LA area to drive or fly to campus on Saturday morning and return to their homes on Sunday evening. Los Angeles International Airport is close to the UCLA campus and has frequent weekend flights to and from all major cities in California and the West.

It will be interesting to see how prospective students respond to this option. One of the main selling points of UCLA’s existing FEMBA program is that it offers the same curriculum, taught by the same professors, that the full-time MBA program delivers. If FEMBA Flex offers something even more different from the traditional Anderson MBA experience, will students view it in the same light? The convenience is a big selling point, though, and for anyone who has tried to drive across Los Angeles (even on a weekend), that factor may be enough to make the new program very popular among prospective students.

If you’re interested in learning more about “hybrid” courses that combine online and in-person learning, take a look at this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that describes some of the pros and cons of this model of learning. It shows a lot of promise, but it’s still very new, so you can expect a great deal of evolution to come over the next decade.

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