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Harvard To Develop Online Learning Initiative

Harvard Business School plans to join its peer institutions in offering online courses, according to Businessweek. The move is risky for Harvard, a school that has one of the best-known educational brands in the world. Harvard has so far remained quiet about their initiative, which is called HBX. The executive director of the Harvard MBA program, Jana Kiersted, was named head of HBX in June. Her LinkedIn profile says that HBX is “a new team dedicated to delivering high quality business education through innovative online products”.

The courses may take the form of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), classes that are open to a large number of students online.  MOOCs often consist of videos, readings, and problem sets that teach course material, and interactive user forums that allow students to discuss the material with other students and ask professors and TAs questions.
The chief marketing officer for Harvard Business School says that Harvard will likely begin offering courses through edX, a MOOC distributor. The chief marketing officer estimates that classes will become available in Spring or Summer of 2014. Harvard currently offers 17 courses on HarvardX, the university’s edX page, although none of the existing courses are business courses.

The news coverage of Harvard’s developing initiative follows a major announcement from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which has made its entire first year core curriculum available for free. The Wharton courses are available now as MOOCs on the website Coursera, and Wharton offers certificates for successful completion of the courses, although certificates cannot be transfered for credit if a student later enrolls at Wharton or another business school.

Harvard declined to comment about the cost or content of the courses. Harvard Business School is collaborating with the university to determine the final details.

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