Will video MOOC’s kill the MBA?

Girl watching education tutorialsMASSIVE online open courses (MOOCs) are using video technology that has the potential to “destroy” traditional full-time MBA programs, according to new research.

The Wharton School report Will Video Kill the Classroom Star? claims traditional, full-time MBA programs are under threat globally as they cost 100 times more to deliver than MOOCs.

The video technology embedded in MOOCs such as short videos, smart testing, social networking and automated grading make them cheaper to produce as they are not reliant on professors to deliver in-class lectures.

According to the study, business schools are estimated to pay professors approximately $US 200,000 per year (up to $US300, 000 if factoring in other costs).

It estimates that it costs about $US1475 in instructional costs to provide one course to a student via a tenured or tenure track professor in a large, full-time MBA program.

However, the report estimates that it costs just $US11.20 to deliver one MOOC course to a student.

In addition to their cost-effectiveness, the authors of the report, Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich, write that MOOCs have “quietly proved effective as a learning technology”.

Students have the flexibility to study when they like and the online content or what they call “SuperText” was delivered in easy to digest “chunks”. Students also seemed to have a preference for video in light of the increasing popularity of Youtube and TED talks.

“However, if used differently, the same technology can be used to strengthen today’s business schools by boosting student learning and leveraging faculty and other expensive assets,” they argue.

The professors recommended that that every faculty member should take an online course related to their area of teaching to understand more about MOOC technology; experiment with elements of MOOC technology and improve student learning; and move into forms of teaching that can’t be captured by MOOC technology.

“At a price point of over $100 per session, a classroom encounter between students and faculty should be a significant event,” they write. “In the future, it will become increasingly difficult to justify this price to the student for a lecture that can easily be delivered via SuperText. To the extent that faculty perceive SuperText as a significant threat to their employment, such focus on classroom experiences provides an advantage unlikely to be eroded.”


Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).