Online business program slated to start in January

Sep 04, 2003, vol. 28, no. 1
By Diane Luckow

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SFU business is set to offer SFU's first online graduate degree program, beginning in January 2004.

The three-year-old management of technology MBA program, designed for professionals working in the high-tech industry, is the first graduate program to offer a flexible, online option.

“Not every student will prefer to take the degree online,” says executive director Tom Brown. “Students will still have a choice - they can take the fulltime, face-to-face program, the online program or they can do a combination of online and face-to-face.”

Brown says the pressure to offer an entirely online option came from both potential students looking for more flexibility and from the program's business council, which provides curriculum guidance and other support to the program.

Business council members, he says, felt that the online option would permit more businesses to sponsor their employees for the MBA program.

The online program is the first to use the services of both SFU's learning and instructional development centre (LIDC) and SFU Surrey's eLinc. LIDC will train faculty new to online teaching while eLinc will help instructors with course design, the creation of online learning objects such as animations and powerpoint examples, and will also evaluate all courses to ensure that appropriate instruments are in place to test student learning.

Online students will follow the same course content as the full-time program, with the same professors providing the instruction.

Technologies like V-class will help the entire online class to communicate in real time.

They can listen to the instructor, contribute their ideas via microphone and record those ideas as notes using an online whiteboard. These live sessions are also recorded.

“Going online means we can make our successful MOT MBA program available to a much broader audience,” says Brown. “Students anywhere in the world can now take the program.”

He says it will also create opportunities for educational partnerships with other institutions in Canada and around the world.

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