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UC Berkeley’s Haas School to Launch New Digital Courses

The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley this summer plans to leap online with the introduction of three pilot digital courses that will make use of cutting-edge technology to teach students outside of the traditional classroom. One class is a prerequisite for the school’s Evening & Weekend MBA Program, another is a popular MBA elective for both fulltime and evening and weekend students and the third is an undergraduate course.

“Digital education is revolutionizing how we teach, including our traditional courses. It already affords us new and deeper ways to customize how students absorb material and how they link it to their own interests,” Haas Dean Rich Lyons said in an article on the Haas website about the new courses. “This is the future. We need [to] shape it─and be a leader,” he added.

The first online course, “Data and Decisions,” will be rolled out in June for Evening & Weekend MBA students. “Professional Judgment in Accounting,” an undergraduate course, will begin online in July, and “Power and Politics,” a popular MBA elective, will be offered online to fulltime and evening and weekend students in the Fall B semester.

Haas specifically chose both quantitative and qualitative courses as well as faculty with different teaching styles for the pilot courses, according to Jay Stowsky, Haas senior assistant dean for instruction. Different vendors will implement each of the three courses to give Haas the opportunity to compare effectiveness of different approaches to online education development, he added.

Faculty and administrators hope the online courses will provide some advantages over traditional classroom courses, such as the ability to tailor material to individual students’ needs and interests and the opportunity to encourage participation by students who might not be as likely to speak up in class.

“This is a much safer environment that pushes them to contribute a lot more,” says Associate Professor Cameron Anderson, who teaches the “Power and Politics” class. “I think there is going to be a ton more participation.” He also hopes students may actually learn more from one another than in the in-class version of the course because they will be required to have more group discussions on their own.

Finally, Anderson hopes the digital courses will give students the important advantage of being able to go at their own pace. “I’ve heard from my students that my class is like drinking from a fire hose,” he says. “This online approach allows for self-paced learning that I think will benefit students in their busy, time-constrained lives.”

Funding for the pilot digital courses comes from a $1 million matching gift from Steve and Susan Chamberlin, MBA 87, former members of the Haas faculty.

Learn more about Haas’s launch of digital classroom pilots.

 

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