There are online programs that are available from the world’s best. But do they need to be customized for maximum learnability by Indian students. Are we used to a different style of learning (more teacher led) than what can be delivered through online programs. How is NCU making this a success?
The online program provides flexibility and variety to the students. They can access these courses from their mobile devices and can choose the courses they would like to do. Typically, the decision to do a particular course is based on available time, job requirements, personal/professional interest etc.
These courses do not require a student to sit in class and therefore are suitable for those who cannot devote time for classroom learning.
The content in these courses is very good but the question remains – “Is the online learning adequate for a student to apply the learnings at the workplace?”
At Center for Leadership, we follow a blended learning program to address this question. The students view online courses outside of class as part of their coursework at the 1 year PG Diploma in Leadership and Management. This is then augmented by detailed examples, case studies and problems discussed in-class. The discussions contextualize the theory to the Indian environment and challenge the students to apply the learning versus just an online test post watching the videos. And of course students are taught related concepts that are not included in these online courses.
These courses offered in this mode are Business Foundations and Business Analytics developed by the Wharton School and available on the Coursera platform. The Business Foundations is taught first to understand the basics of business. At this stage students are not expected to have any prior knowledge – the course starts off very basic and then builds on concepts and theories.
Business Analytics is a step after the foundations are clear. In Analytics, students not only learn data and how to make choices in the business world which are data driven, but also how each segment of management uses data. It teaches the students how to ask the right questions and what analytics to apply for solving these problems.
Each of these courses offers a Wharton Certification and includes a capstone project as well. The capstone projects require the students to solve a real business problem for a company which is evaluated by an external jury at every step. This gives the student a great exposure to real application and also learnings from the feedback they receive.
Therefore online courses provide the foundation on which students develop their management knowledge with the assistance of a faculty member. This method of teaching, management courses, is unique and sets NCU apart from other Universities in the region. Students get the best of both worlds – a certification from an Ivy League University and additional knowledge needed to be productive at the workplace.
“Wharton Certifications are an integral part of our curriculum. We have Prof. Tushar teaching us alongside the Coursera videos and that makes the class more interesting. We got a global perspective of the course and could relate it to the Indian context too.” says Abhishek Goswami, Founding batch student of the 1 year PG Diploma in Leadership and Management.
Perhaps we are pioneering a change in how faculty teach management courses in India.