Tokyo-Based GLOBIS Offers Blended Learning MBA Program

Technology has shown promise for improving education in recent years with the introduction of MOOCs, which have enable education cheaper and much more accessible. But that has come with criticism over usefulness and completion rates. In Japan, GLOBIS has made an effort to improve on the MOOC by introducing a new program early next year that will offer education online that aims to blend both the online and offline worlds.

Online education, especially, massive open online courses (MOOCs), has sparked a heated debate with enthusiasts having nothing but praise, claiming that it makes higher education more available. They've even been described as enabling anyone to get a $50,000-a-year education for free, according to Tom Friedman of The New York Times. But critics who watch from a distance have slammed online ed as consisting only of lecture videos and multiple-choice tests, meaning that students are both passive and isolated.

In addition, the most fun and motivating part of the education process, face-to-face interaction, lacks online. As if that is not enough, despite millions signing up for MOOCs, 90% end up dropping, meaning that in terms of audience engagement, MOOCs have a long way to go.

But consensus about the best path for MOOCs has emerged in recent times – a "blended model" which unites the advantages of the Internet, anywhere/anytime access and real-time online interactivity, with the intellectual stimulation, companionship and healthy peer pressure of interaction in the offline world — a model GLOBIS is eager to employ.

According to Yoshito Hori, Founder and President of GLOBIS, an online Japanese-language MBA will be offered from April 2014 by the Tokyo-based business school. It will be a well-crafted series of SPOCs — Small Private Online Courses — designed to blend the best of the online and offline worlds.

GLOBIS was drawn to the idea after a survey they conducted in institutions that offered online courses showed people confessed that staring at a tablet or PC eventually gets boring, driving GLOBIS to decide on a course that included physical interaction with other people. They first made sure that the online part of their MBA was highly interactive with small private classes. Discussion-based case-study method has always been the way of teaching at GLOBIS, and now their group discussions can now be moved online with no reduction in quality large thanks to broadband and new communication technologies.

With chat programs that enable students currently not speaking onscreen to bring up questions and topics in a sidebar, the setup makes it easy to identify potentially interesting points and keep the discussion powering forward. GLOBIS believe that an online discussion can sometimes be even better than a real classroom discussion, but in a bid to kill boredom in online classes, GLOBIS has made it possible for students to attend real classes in any of our five campuses around Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai and Fukuoka).

A "clicks and mortar" approach has been adopted by GLOBIS' all classes and credits are interchangeable between the online and offline courses.

GLOBIS believe students taking the conventional MBA online course have an advantage in that if they can't attend a class in school, they can comfortably catch the same class online instead.

GLOBIS believes that a skillfully "blended" small private online course (SPOC) will enable colleges to reach far more people without any sacrifice in educational quality.

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