Online or Campus MBA When Lockdown Ends?
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND ITS IMPACT OVER ONLINE AND OFFLINE MODES OF EDUCATION
There has been a huge difference of opinion over online learning as a promising tool for teaching. Many business schools have shifted to the online mode while many MBA students are still arguing over the viability of this platform. Critics and proponents believe that this could be the turning point for online education, where it can prove to the detractors that an online mode can be at par with the classroom mode of teaching.
THE TRADE OFFS- ON CAMPUS MBA OR ONLINE MBA?
The end decision of the above can be made on the trade off scene between flexibility and networking, a student’s lifestyle, commitments and work ethics.
The advantage with online education is that they are mostly self-paced. You can work according to your own speed, need and commitments.
“The advantage is that online study is flexible and personalized”- Federico Frattini, Dean, MIP Politecnico di Milano Business School, Milan. According to him, through online classes, participants can choose when, where how and what classes to attend. They have complete freedom and flexibility and can incorporate courses with their work and family commitments.
But the fact that needs to be given attention is that online courses only suit those who are self-motivated and have a continuous willingness to learn as it requires a lot more commitment to work hours and classes than class room courses. On campus courses are suitable for those who work well in structured environments.
When it comes to MBA, Finance plays a very important consideration. In online MBAs, the cost becomes lower reflecting the reduced overheads, and the services provided by the teachers turning out to be expensive. In another explanation, remote studies promote students to work without giving up on their job and payments.
According to Andrews from Rice Jones, the online education might not win brownie points since students want to be active and fully immersed in an environment that is different to their home, and that they do not only want education, but most importantly the experience, as well.
OTHER MAJOR CONCERNS-
- For overseas students, online education might turn out be a challenge, since live classes from disparate time zones might not be viable to neither the teacher nor the student faculty.
According to Stacy Blackman, online programs have been more suitable and useful to candidates with imperfect work experience and test scores; and most importantly, that acceptance rates are much higher with online programs that they are with offline MBA programs.
- Networking- This is one of the major rising issues against online education platforms. The benefit of a digital degree will have downsides to students who want to form networks. “Many students presume that they would miss out on networking opportunities, due to the belief that face- to face communication creates stronger, more human connections”, says Frattini at MIP.
- The only drawback to online education is its inability to provide its national and international students with a community experience.
However, online programs do offer some opportunities for student interaction, such as on campus residencies and through international educational trips.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hastened this discussion and preference of online and offline mode of study even more. Students demand more flexibility and ease over where, how and when they should pursue their MBA. This has been seen largely at Warwick Business School, where students could choose and shift between offline and online modes of learning, at will.
Answering the queries Cindy McCauley, the Online MBA Director spoke-
“They can start in our Online MBA and then transfer when the timing is better. This is a particularly a strong selling point given the uncertainty of today.”
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