Harvard Business School, one of the top business schools in the world — and arguably the most well-known — is fast developing its own online learning setup which the institution believes will make HBS a household name for accessible, high-quality online business education.
The move is likely to cause a stir in the online education market, which is slowly beginning to undergo a revitalization phase. The introduction of Harvard Business School to the online learning paradigm is likely to cause a shakeup if only because HBS is one of largest educational brands worldwide, report Louis Lavelle and Erin Zlomek of Business Week.
John Fernandes, the chief executive of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, was quick to state that this move does not mean that face to face education is coming to an end — and far from it — but that this is a major coup for the online education market.
"Few details are available, but the effort, known as HBX, has been underway at least since June, when Jana Kierstead, executive director of the Harvard MBA program, was named to head the new initiative, according to her profile at LinkedIn (LNKD)."
It is likely that the courses will be offered to the mass majority using edX, the popular provider of MOOCs spearheaded by Harvard and MIT. The commencement date rumored is either Spring or Summer of 2014, as revealed by Brian Kenny, the chief marketing officer of the Harvard Business School.
MOOCs are fast becoming popular for bringing advanced education to the masses. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the highest ranked universities in the world, put a large portion of its curriculum online in the form of MOOCs, making world-class courses accessible to anyone for free. Now, with Harvard Business School following suit, it is highly probable that other Ivy League universities will follow the examples set by these prestigious institutions, making education much more accessible to the general public.
Massive Open Online Courses have become hugely popular around the globe, primarily because of the ease with which courses can be delivered to students located anywhere with an internet connection. Offering courses for free has also removed the price barrier that has kept millions of potential students away from top-quality education.
As edX, Coursera and other online education platforms mature — and as more individuals and businesses look to the increasingly-legitimate online higher education market for advancement — HBS may have chosen the right time to enter the MOOC market.