Students curious of how they would fair in one of the more competitive MBA programs will get a free course to test themselves with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business’ new partnership with Coursera.
The University of Virginia recently announced that it will partner with Coursera, an educational platform, to offer online classes and explore the development of web-based courses and course materials. The first course the university will be offering students, straight from the business school’s MBA course catalog, will be a two-part “massive open online course,” or MOOC called “Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses.” Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence Edward D. Hess, who teaches in the business school’s entrepreneurship and strategy area, will deliver the two-part course, which will focus on the common growth challenges faced by existing private businesses when they attempt to grow substantially. Part I, a five-week course, will be offered beginning Jan. 28.
“I hope my course on business growth will reach existing businesses across the world that have survived the start-up phase and are trying to scale into bigger operations. We can make a difference on a global scale,” Hess said in a news release.
Darden is one of the few business schools to offer a course in its MBA program focused solely on the challenges of growing existing entrepreneurial businesses.
Since the course was announced in mid-July, more than 15,700 people have signed up. Registration is available at www.coursera.org/course/growtogreatness. Part II will be offered beginning April 29.
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“I believe the University’s partnership with Coursera will be valuable for three reasons,” said Darden’s Dean Bob Bruner in the same release. “First, as we at Darden aim to impact the global business world, the partnership will broaden our reach by making Darden thought leadership available to a wider audience, for free. Second, as educators, we must explore every opportunity to better fulfill our educational mission. If digital instruction has the potential to improve the quality of the learning experience for our students, then we must explore it. Third, as we explore the opportunities, we will work alongside some of the world’s best universities, creating opportunities for connections and synergies in the pursuit of new knowledge.”
Darden uses the case study method to develop its students into business leaders by presenting them with real-life business situations.
“Face-to-face interactions with a master teacher are critical as we develop students’ know-how (skills for analysis, critical thinking and effective communication) and know-why (character),” said Bruner. “Yet perhaps through online courses, there is an opportunity for students to deepen their mastery in the know-what: formulas, terminology and technical notes that can be studied independently.”
The university does not plan to offer course credits or certificates to students or public viewers who take U.Va. courses, and the partnership with Coursera includes no exchange of funds. U.Va. owns the intellectual property of each course.
Other partner schools of Coursera include Princeton University, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins and the universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“By offering a free course online, which will be open to a worldwide audience, we hope to give thousands of students, who may not otherwise have access to Darden, a glimpse into the school’s high-engagement learning environment,” said Darden’s Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs’ Peter Rodriguez. “We also hope to better understand how online learning might enrich the experience for our students. We are anxious to see how MOOCs might strengthen what we already do so well at Darden.”
– Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets