More MBA Programs Move into Online Learning

Just in the past week two top-ranked business schools announced new plans to add online learning components to their MBA programs. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Dartmouth’s Tuck school will deliver some of its introductory prerequisite classes online, helping students prepare for the school’s core curriculum on their own time, at their own pace.

At the same time, UC Berkeley’s Haas School has announced plans to launch three digital classroom pilots. Haas is also using its first foray into online learning as a way to deliver prerequisite courses for its Evening & Weekend MBA Program.

While these are deliberately small baby steps to start, these moves highlight the fact that top-ranked business schools are starting to take online learning more seriously. These moves don’t mean that Haas or Tuck is anywhere near launching a full-blown online MBA program, but it’s clear that the schools’ leaders are sold on the idea of delivering some forms of material online. And, perhaps more surprisingly, it means that the schools’ professors — a group notorious for its unwillingness to embrace new technologies and ways of doing things — are also getting on the online learning train.

According to a recent online news announcement from Haas:

The faculty members have spent months rethinking their courses for the new format. “We’re building in both synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences that take advantage of the online medium,” explains Adam Berman, Haas’ executive director of emerging initiatives, who is leading Haas’ online activities as well as a consortium of UC Berkeley professional schools to explore online education.

We expect that we’ll see more such announcements by schools in the coming months, although the jury is still out on how much of the curriculum can be delivered online without changing the nature of these programs too much. Still, it’s exciting to see these schools shaking up their programs in ways that very few would have expected even just a few years ago.

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