Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Did MBAs Enter Online Universities?

It is a fact that online universities did not come into being until too recently. This could be right since the Internet didn’t exist commercially until the 1990s. However, you would be surprised to know that online universities can be traced back to as early as year 1728.

The idea of getting an education even while not in a physical classroom was long considered ages ago. For instance, one can look at the development of a lesson plan by a man back then who was teaching shorthand to people through mailed letters. The man sent the printed lessons to those who were signed up to learn from him.

London's own main university asserts that it was leading the pack when it came to distance learning at the time, for it was the first to boast a correspondence program. Just a little behind was the state university of Chicago, which also took on similar courses at the end of the 19th century. The University of Queensland in Australia, on the other hand, founded its Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911.

There were some changes in the way the education was provided to distance learners when people invented things like TV. Various schools all over the globe started to develop their own program for distance learning from 1970 onwards and are often referred to as open universities. Not long after, Jones International University was established and claimed to be the first regionally accredited online university in 1996.

As for those interested in the history of the MBA relative to this subject, they have to start with the knowledge of the first institution to have a formal school for business graduate programs: Dartmouth. The graduate program was not an MBA then but an MSC, SC standing for Science in Commerce. Soon after, Harvard was already offering MBA classes for just under a hundred starting pupils.

Certain persons had their doubts: at the end of the 1950s, there were already allegations of the MBA classes containing largely off-tangent topics. Indeed, the program was even lambasted as a useless qualification, making it hardly a qualification at all. It was continuously assumed at the time that educators and students of graduate programs were always lacking in quality.

To fight the negative opinions, there were major revamps and improvements to the curriculum. Concentrations became possible soon after. The result was a more comprehensive, balanced program.

Unfortunately, the critique did not exactly stop: it simply changed. The lack of experience of students was widely criticized by detractors. The problem too was that several schools hired professors who did not have experiential knowledge of their subjects.

The MBA became less desirable to HR officers. Modifications were obviously the order of the day. Universities then started to revamp the program to address concerns like soft skills, and globalization that is now reflected in most online degrees.

This neverending modification is required if schools are to keep pace with the world outside the university. For example,
online universities and their conventional counterparts are already moving towards fresh perspectives in business administration. A forward-looking course curriculum should be a fine indication of a good program.