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Online Here We Come, Says Harvard Business School

HBX screen shot

Harvard Business School (HBS) today announced that it is joining some of its peer business schools in launching an online learning program. Called HBX, the online initiative is one the school hopes will successfully convey its signature case method digitally. HBX’s initial offering, called CORe (Credentials of Readiness), will provide participants with a primer on the fundamentals of business.

“The HBX launch marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to educate leaders who make a difference in the world,” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said in a statement. The program embodies the school’s hallmark highly engaged, interactive learning and will provide an important means of engaging with new and wider audiences, he added.

Three interlinked courses will make up the initial HBX CORe offering, one on business analytics, one on economics for managers, and a third on financial accounting. The courses will be rigorous and are designed for serious and committed learners, HBS Professor Bharat Anand, who serves as faculty chair of HBX, said in a statement.

“The HBX faculty team has thought carefully about how to create an online offering that mirrors the energy you find in an HBS classroom and that allows students to benefit from the diversity and experiences of other students,” Anand said in a statement. It will be consistent with the HBS case method of teaching and will require students to be active learners engaged in solving real-world problems.

HBS says the HBX program will complement the school’s existing MBA and executive education programs. “CORe is designed to provide basic business fundamentals to segments of the population we’ve never directly addressed before: undergraduates, graduate students in non-business fields, and people who have just begun their first jobs in business but want a better foundation so they can thrive earlier in their career,” HBS Professor Youngme Moon, senior associate dean and chair of the MBA program, said in a statement.

CORe is scheduled to launch in June with an initial limited cohort of students drawn from colleges and universities in the greater Massachusetts region.  Applications will be available in April on the HBX website.

HBX will add to the CORe courses later this year with a series of specialized courses for executives. These courses will address topics including entrepreneurship and innovation; disruptive innovation, growth, and strategy; and the microeconomics of competitiveness.

In summer 2014, there are also plans to introduce HBX Live, a virtual classroom that will allow participants from around the world to interact directly with each other and professors as they would in a class on the HBS campus. Together with public broadcasting company WGHB, HBS is developing a state-of-the-art space allowing virtual engagement with up to 60 participants simultaneously for HBX Live. The program will be available initially on an invitation-only basis, and its focus, at least to start, will be on providing lifelong learning opportunities for HBS alumni and enhancing the school’s modular executive education programs.

HBS follows other top business schools that have already begun to embrace online education as a component of their overall offerings. UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business features a completely online MBA program, MBA@UNC, in addition to its campus programs. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School last fall launched a series of MOOCs bundling most of the foundational courses that comprise its MBA core curriculum.  And Stanford Graduate School of Business launched its first MOOC in October 2013.

Learn more about the launch of HBX at HBS.