Just ask anyone who participated in the pilot Executive
MBA program last year, What was the programs outstanding
feature? They are likely to praise the balance between in-class
and distance learning.
The pilot program last year consisted of Fisher
evening MBA students24 in allwho began their coursework
in January in a test run of the new Executive MBA
program. Instead of meeting several evenings a week, as they would
have in the regular evening program, the pilot program participants
attended sessions three days each month, a schedule that will
continue through December, 2000. The first part of the program
included core courses in strategic management, organizational
behavior and teamwork skills, managerial economics, marketing
management and statistics.
Mostly working professionals, the pilot program
participants spent a total of 144 hours in class and 54 hours
in distance learning activities, a total learning time of 198
hours during the first six months of the 15-month program.
According to Management
and Human Resources Professor Roy
J. Lewicki, who was one of the architects of the EMBA program
and who taught organizational behavior and strategy courses last
year, a combination of in-class and distance learning is ideal.
The distance learning option offers a convenient mode of
communication during off-campus hours, while the on-campus sessions
provide opportunities for face-to-face interaction that is essential
for bonding and for certain kinds of activities, such as negotiating,
debating, planning and discussing, observed Lewicki. Course
web sites allowed participants to download materials for off-campus
study; discuss or work on group case studies via chat rooms; participate
in simulation activities online, such as a role-play negotiation
assignment; and take online exams at home.
The combined distance and in-class learning
approach was so successful with the pilot participants last year
that they are clamoring for the remainder of the courses, including
the electives, to be offered in a similar format, remarked
Makhija, Associate Dean for
Executive Programs and professor of finance.
The pilot program will continue with four more
core courses and 19 electives through May of 2001. Meanwhile,
the first regular session of the EMBA program will start up in
January of 2001.
top of page