By Steve Kolowich
Massive open online courses are not currently cannibalizing tuition-based programs at top business schools, according to an enthusiastic report from the University of Pennsylvania. Rather, MOOCs could become a recruiting tool for tapping new pools of potential students.
Business schools that offer MOOCs should also figure out how to charge the many students who sign up for the online courses without intending to complete them, write the authors of the report.
The report looks at data and survey responses from students in nine MOOCs offered by Penn’s Wharton School. The researchers found that 78 percent of the students were from outside the United States, and 35 percent of the U.S. residents taking the business MOOCs were foreign-born. Among the Americans, 19 percent were members of underrepresented minority groups, compared with 11 percent among M.B.A. students as a whole.
“Our data suggest that, at least at present, MOOCs run by elite business schools primarily attract students for whom traditional business-school offerings are out of reach,” write the authors.
Rather than undermine the existing business model, MOOCs may help Wharton and other business schools recruit outside the normal pipelines, the researchers speculate. “These three groups—students from outside the United States, especially developing countries, foreign-born Americans, and underrepresented American minorities—are students that business schools are trying to attract,” they write.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/will-moocs-undermine-top-business-schools-or-help-them/53021 ]