Harvard Business School on Friday made its first move into the digital educational realm with a $1,500 online program of three fundamental business courses for undergraduates and recent graduates of liberal arts programs. The school expects 500 to 1,000 students to enroll in the beta version of the program, which will launch this June for rising juniors and seniors and freshly minted college graduates who live in Massachusetts.
哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)终于迈出了进军数字教育领域的第一步。这所著名的商学院上周五宣布，准备面向文科专业本科生和应届毕业生推出一个收费1,500美元、包含3门基础商业课程的在线项目。哈佛方面预期将有500至1000名学生报名参加这个项目的测试版。定于今年6月份启动的测试版主要面向大三、大四学生和刚刚走出校园、居住在马萨诸塞州的毕业生开放。
If all goes well, Harvard expects to make the CORe (Credential of Readiness) program available nationwide in the fall, with as many as 2,000 students, and to roll it out internationally early next year. Students who enroll in the pre-MBA program will take a trio of online classes -- business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting -- all taught by full-time, tenured, and endowed professors at Harvard Business School who have taught in the MBA program.
如果一切顺利，哈佛将于今年秋天在全美范围内提供这个名为“准备就绪凭证”(Credential of Readiness，简称CORe )的项目，届时招收的学生预计多达2000名，同时有望在明年扩大到国际学生。参加这个MBA预备项目的学生将在线学习三门课程：商业分析、管理经济学和财务会计。授课老师都是任教于哈佛商学院MBA项目的全职、终身和特聘教授。
CORe is the first of what will inevitably be a portfolio of online courses and programs from the Harvard Business School, which has been quietly assembling an in-house online learning group dubbed HBS that now numbers 32 full-time staffers. In choosing to enter the digital education space with a paid offering, HBS has decided to pass on the MOOC bandwagon in which rival schools are providing both core and elective courses to hundreds of thousands of users for free.
The school will launch a set of classes in late spring 2014 taught by the school's big guns: strategy guru Michael Porter, Mr. Disruption himself; Clay Christensen; and HBS' top professors in entrepreneurship, Bill Sahlman and Joe Lassiter. They will respectively teach the microeconomics of competitiveness; disruptive innovation, growth, and strategy; and entrepreneurship and innovation. Christensen's course will require four to five hours per week over four weeks, while the entrepreneurship course will initially be limited to Harvard undergrads, graduate students, and postdoctoral and clinical fellows.
In the past couple of years, many business schools have been experimenting with massive open online courses, justifying their investments as a learning opportunity in search of a business model. In January of last year, the University of Virginia launched its first MOOC on growing an entrepreneurial business. In September, Wharton became the first business school to bundle a collection of MOOCs together to deliver much of its core required classes in the MBA program. Stanford's Graduate School of Business weighed in last October with a MOOC on the finance of retirement and pensions.
过去几年来，许多商学院一直在尝试MOOC课程，声称投资这些课程是为了给他们提供一个探索商业模式的学习机会。去年1月份，弗吉尼亚大学(University of Virginia)推出了它第一个MOOC课程，主题是如何助推初创企业发展壮大。9月份，沃顿(Wharton)成为第一所把一系列MOOC课程捆绑在一起，用以传授MBA项目大部分核心必修课的商学院。斯坦福大学商学院(Stanford's Graduate School of Business) 去年10月份推出一个关于退休和养老金理财的MOOC课程。
Online degree programs have also proliferated. Though Indiana University's Kelley School of Business has been offering an online MBA since 1999, newer entrants such as Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina have brought additional credibility to the notion of getting an online MBA. More than 2,000 students have earned Kelley MBAs online, and the school's Kelley Direct online program currently has an enrollment of 728 students.
在线学位项目也在迅速激增。尽管早在1999年，印第安纳大学( Indiana University)凯利商学院(Kelley School of Business)就开始提供在线MBA学位，但卡耐基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon)泰珀商学院(Tepper School )和北卡罗莱纳大学(University of North Carolina)凯南-弗拉格勒商学院(Kenan-Flagler Business School)这些新加入这个行列的学校进一步增加了获得一个在线MBA学位这种想法的公信力。超过2,000名学生已经获得了凯利商学院颁发的在线MBA学位，它的在线项目“凯利直通车”(Kelley Direct)目前拥有728名在册学生。
Until now, Harvard Business School has been on the sidelines, not wanting to either cannibalize or cheapen its existing on-campus MBA program or its executive education offerings. But a small group of faculty and administrators quietly began informal discussions on what HBS should do with digital education some 15 months ago.
"In the earliest conversations," says Youngme Moon, senior associate dean and chair of the MBA program at Harvard Business School, "we simply looked at what was out there. When TV was first invented, they put a camera in front of a stage and taped plays. It's at the point where people are still putting cameras in classrooms to capture lectures."
The HBS group made an early determination to embrace the technology, using it to more deeply engage students rather than delivering a static classroom experience. The school decided in January 2013 that it would have to develop its own proprietary software platform to accomplish those goals.
"We are piggybacking on media companies that have tried to make the digital transition," says Bharat Anand, who was named faculty chair of HBX, Harvard's online platform, last September. "We said there is no way you can replicate the magic that goes on in an HBS classroom. So we created a digital upgrade. We asked, 'What is it that makes an HBS class special? There are two principles: 1) Action learning. We call it the case method but it is an active way to learn. People don't just come in and listen. They participate. People are all in, all the time. You're not a tourist at HBS. And 2) The case method does not start with simple ideas and build to complexity. We throw you into the deep end. We start with complexity and then dive down."
“我们正在与几家致力于数字化转型的传媒公司合作，”巴拉特o阿南德说。去年9月份，他被任命为哈佛在线平台HBX的首席教授。“我们最初觉得根本没办法复制哈佛商学院课堂的神奇之处。所以就进行了数字化升级。我们问自己：‘究竟是什么让哈佛商学院的课堂如此独特？’有两个原则：1) 行动学习。我们把它称为案例教学法，但它其实是一种积极的学习方式。学生们不只是走进教室，听老师讲。他们还从始至终亲自参与其中。在哈佛商学院，你不仅仅是一位游客。 2) 案例教学法并不是以简单的理念开始，逐步增大复杂性。我们一开始就把你扔到深水区，从复杂性开始，然后一个猛子扎下去。”
The group then selected a market segment in which HBS does not currently have an offering. "We began to think about how we could make a real difference," says Moon. "We have MBA and executive education, so the space we began to narrow in on is undergraduates who lack the basic language of business."
What HBS has come up with is a highly intuitive learning platform that is inspired by social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn as well as online gaming portals. Rather than putting a camera in front of a lecturing professor, the school's proprietary software platform mimics Harvard's famous case study approach, replete with cold calls to individual students and grades based on participation in online classrooms.
The school has developed a new series of 15 live cases for the online program, with video snippets of protagonists who grapple with various business challenges at a wide range of well-known companies including Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Disney (DIS), The New York Times (NYT), and Harrah's casinos as well as at smaller entrepreneurial outfits, including a Bikram yoga studio and a Boston ticket reseller. Professors pop up on video to guide a discussion or provide context and perspective.
哈佛商学院已经为在线项目全新开发了15个鲜活案例。在这些视频短片中，主人公正在应对各种商业挑战，其中既涉及众多知名公司，比如苹果( Apple)、亚马逊(Amazon)、谷歌(Google)、迪斯尼(Disney)、纽约时报(The New York Times)和哈乐斯娱乐公司(Harrah's）的赌场，也包括一些规模较小的初创企业，比如一家高温瑜伽工作室和一家位于波士顿的机票代理商。教授们时不时地出现在视频上，引导讨论、提供背景和分析视角。
Anand, a strategy professor who is a two-time winner of teaching awards at HBS, is teaching a class called economics for managers. Janice Hammond, who has taught pre-MBA boot camps to incoming poets (those without significant math backgrounds) at HBS, is teaching the course on business analytics. V.G. Narayanan, who chairs the accounting and management faculty unit at HBS, is teaching financial accounting.
When students log into the HBX platform, they will immediately see a map with pulsating dots, each dot representing another student currently on the platform. Click on any of the dots and a photo of a student pops up on the screen, along with his or her name and bio. Click on the photo and up comes a list of professional and personal passions and interests, from an individual's dream job to their favorite band and role model. Students are asked how they are feeling at the moment, from "confused" or "happy" to "inspired," their moods visible to fellow classmates.
Students can track their progress in each course against their peers. Each cohort will move through the program together, passing through a series of gates, during which assignments, cold calls, and projects must be completed. "You need to keep up with projects and deadlines or you get dropped out of the course," says Anand.
While in the online classroom, a student can chat with classmates, jot down notes, and engage in the discussion. Similar to video game software, a student puts his or her name in a queue and is pinged when a critical mass of classmates appear. "When you get a team of six, a conversation occurs," adds Anand.
The cases at the center of the program range from the impact of a paywall at The New York Times to estimating the likely demand for tickets to a sports event. "We wanted to deal with concepts that start with real-world examples," says Moon.
And then, there is that dreaded cold call. "It's one of the most powerful levers in the classroom," says Anand. "It gets some people terrified to speak in front of their peers. But it's also a way to share learning and gain confidence."
A window will unexpectedly pop up on the screen with a question, along with a box requiring a student's answer in a set period of time. The answer then becomes part of the ongoing discussion in the online class, visible to all the other students.
The CORe program lasts just two months, requiring between seven and ten hours a week from students. Courses can be taken at any time during the two-month period because none of the online sessions will be in real time. Grades for each course will be based on participation and tests, including a final examination. HBS will maintain a transcript of each student's grades and award a certificate of completion to every student who graduates from the program.
HBS decided that the "first wave" of students would be limited to those living in Massachusetts so it can quickly respond to any problems and refine the product for "wave two." The school will make available an online application for the program in early-to-mid April.
"We want this to be accessible but we want serious learners only. The sweet spot is rising juniors and seniors," says Moon. HBS will make financial aid available on an as-needed basis. The $1,500 inaugural cost of the program will likely rise, though Harvard is not saying by how much. The school also declined to say how much it has already invested in HBX or how many online students it ultimately expects to have.