Online Coursework and Hult

3 05 2013

This open letter from the San Jose State University’s philosophy department, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, has been floating around the internet for the last few days and is igniting controversy- is it’s argument that live faculty are necessary for real university classes legitimate, or is it simply a case of turf protection?

Clearly, if it’s simply a matter of information transfer, having live-taught classes with full professors is probably a waste; books are a much more efficient medium for data, and software tutorials and simulators are better for teaching the preliminaries of hard skills; beyond that, the basic questions that come up and the sort of nuts and bolts of practical application can be taken care of by teaching assistants. Lecture-based learning is functionally obsolete- why take a lecture class from Dr. Joe from the University of Wherever when you can watch a lecture by the greatest living (and in some cases deceased) scholar in the world? In the case of this letter, they’re reacting against the Justice course taught by Michael Sandel… one of the foremost ethical philosophers on the planet. It’s easy to see how he could be a tough act to follow. (And I’ve watched a few of the lectures… back in my English teaching days, one of my colleagues used excerpts from them in his classes for advanced students.)

 

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CSR and Strategy: Mixed Signals?

2 05 2013

Module C has drawn to a close here at Hult, and most of my classmates have said goodbye, off to one or more of Hult’s other global campuses. I’m not rotating- Shanghai Campus offers plenty of good classes, and while it could have been fun, it just struck me as an unnecessary expense that I can’t afford right now. Anyway, I’m probably more valuable here (as an “old hand” to Shanghai life) than I am elsewhere right now. Module C of the Hult MIB program is mainly focused around two core classes, Strategy and CSR, that essentially serve as the capstone classes of the Hult core curriculum. After going through the basics of accounting and management in Module A, and tearing through finance, economics and marketing in Module B, these last two classes (before the electives of Module D and action project in Module E) put it all together, framing how the material we’ve covered so far goes together to create a corporate strategy, and the ethical implications and considerations that should be taken when designing and implementing one. Having now gone through the Hult core curriculum, it’s become obvious to me how much the school’s roots in management consulting influence it- the whole thing is essentially a course in how to be a consultant- a useful set of tools to take into any business role.

The two professors we had for these classes- Dr. Cheng-hua Tzeng, from Taiwan, and Dr. Farzad Rafi Khan, from Pakistan, couldn’t have been more different… except that they shared a very surprising bond- both earned their Ph.D.s in Strategy and Organizational Management at McGill under management theory legend Henry Mintzberg, and even shared the same cubicle as grad students! It was uncanny- and apparently coincidental- that they ended up teaching the same students, at the same time, at Hult… yet what a contrast.

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