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UPenn’s Wharton School Offers Free MBA Foundation Series Classes Online

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has added a new series of massive open online courses (MOOCs) covering many of the fundamentals of business and management that students in Wharton’s full-time MBA program learn, taught by the same professors. The first of the Wharton MBA Foundation Series, “An Introduction to Financial Accounting,” begins today.

Three other courses make up the new series – introductory courses in operations management, marketing and corporate finance – and all are available via the free online platform Coursera. The new series complements five elective courses already on offer from Wharton via Coursera, including courses on sports business and healthcare. All nine are expected to draw students from around the world, and more than 695,000 students have so far enrolled in a Wharton course, Coursera reports.

The courses in the Foundation Series are each six to 10 weeks long, consisting of prerecorded lectures as well as interactive features such as discussion boards, enabling students to ask questions and receive replies from professors or teaching assistants.

“This is the first time that a business school has bundled a collection of MOOCs together in this fashion,” Don Huesman, managing director of the innovation group at Wharton, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “We’re taking our core required classes in the MBA program, with the same instructors, to provide those same core concepts.”

Students in each of the four MOOC Foundation courses can pay a $49 fee to receive a verified electronic certificate indicating that they’ve completed the course requirements, Bloomberg BW reports, although Huesman notes that Wharton does not plan to accept the certificates for course credit from students who subsequently enroll in the full-time MBA program at Wharton. “There’s a very different experience that happens in a two-year immersion in a community of scholars that culminates in a degree,” he told Bloomberg BW.

Learn more about Wharton’s MBA Foundation Series of MOOCs.