January 24, 2013

MBOE program goes digital

The Master of Business Operational Excellence program practices what it teaches.

The Executive Education program has gone lean and paperless.

Taking a leap into the digital age, MBOE course materials, which included nearly a dozen binders and books and hundreds of pages of information, are now condensed onto iPads. The iPads were distributed to all the students in the current cohort.

It is the first Fisher program to provide iPads to students and utilize iTunes University as the course platform.

“Students can now access all materials on the iPad using iTunes University, type in notes, and then access them anytime without flipping through pages within a huge binder,” said Mrinalini Gadkari, a senior lecturer in operations management, who teaches in the program.

For faculty, staff and students, it has improved accessibility and networking even when students are not on the Fisher campus, according to Peter Ward, the Richard M. Ross Chair in Management and director of the MBOE program.

"As faculty, we are learning to use the capabilities of iTunes U and various apps to make the classroom experience more interactive and also to allow us to visit students at their own workplaces, no matter where they are on the globe,” Ward said.

It is making work much easier for all involved in the program students, faculty and staff.

"We have decreased waste in both paper and more importantly, time consumed," said Gary Butler, a member of the MBOE faculty. "Tests are graded and returned to the student faster and with more quantitative feedback.  Shelf space for lecture notes  is reduced. Lecturing off of the iPad notes give me much more flexibility in the classroom.  Socrative tests are used for immediate student reflection."

The digital transition was led by Bob Mick, MBOE program director. Jacob Bane and Randy Spears, of Fisher’s Information Technology Services, developed the iPad program.

“It’s not just a repository for materials, the entire program is integrated and interactive,” Bane said. Students can do self-assessments and evaluations to test their knowledge on the materials. MBOE faculty also have the ability to poll students to find out if they are understanding the material and lectures.