Definitely it’s about flexibility. You’re not in a packed classroom at 8 or 9 am in the morning awaiting anxiously the professor. Will he ask for a quiz or will he ask me to do the presentation of today’s case, I really had no time to prepare because of the birthday party last night at a friend’s home?
You can decide when you connect to the online platform to join your team in preparation of the next presentation or to discuss in the forums with the professors the latest case on CSR in a MNC. You are free to start the quiz which suddenly pops-up on your screen within the next 24 hours. But, of course, within limits!
An online Masters program at IE Business School, either the MBA programs International Executive MBA or the Global MBA or the specialized programs in Biotechnology Management, Sports Management, Digital Marketing or Supply Chain Management, provides you with such flexibility but you also need to expect academic rigor and you’re expected to bring in a lot of self-discipline.
All of our online programs share a common platform where you can use blackboard, discussion forums, virtual library for your team and class discussions. The access is 24/7 and as participants are coming literally from all around the world you most likely will find somebody online to discuss the cases. Yes, we follow the case study methodology as medium of instruction as well as we do it in our face-to-face classes. To make this methodology work we split the classes into teams who discuss the case during a couple of days before taking their conclusions to the class discussion with the professor and the other teams. As you will have team members from different regions in the world, you discuss with them asynchronous, i.e., you post your comments whenever you have time to do so and your team mates will do the same. The team leader of each case will coordinate the consensus before getting into the class discussion. In the class discussion you work under the same scheme but individually discussing with the whole class about the topics suggested by the professor.
Of course, everything is done within a certain time frame (one week per case and you might have up to 3 cases in parallel per week) but taking into account this time frame, you’re flexible to connect and post comments at any time. Within a week you have enough time to review your technical notes (provided with each case) and make your own research on Internet adapting this dedication to your professional and personal commitments.
In the Global MBA we also added live video conferences each Saturday as this program has less stipulated face-to-face periods. It certainly goes against the flexibility of the program, but it is a perfect way to be in touch with your classmates and interacting in real-time with the professor and your class. Also you might be the person to run the presentation through your web cam. Ever done that?
As mentioned previously, self-discipline is another important character of online programs – and, to be frank with yourself, most likely the factor which makes it more difficult to step headfirst into this exciting new learning experience. You have to be constant and very few excuses are valid not connect on a daily basis to the online platform to at least follow the discussions of the cases. However the appealing and intense exchanges on the cases and the continuous contact with your class mates, nearly makes forget you that you’re in an online program.