Sloan To Offer MBA Course Online

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management has announced that it will offer a popular data analytics course for free to the general public in Spring 2014. The course is called Analytics Edge, and it includes real world studies from the 2012 presidential election, the Oakland A’s “moneyball” strategy, and the online dating site eHarmony. Sloan representatives say that the online course curriculum will be the same as the curriculum for the on-campus course. As part of the class, students will submit homework assignments online and watch prerecorded lectures on the course website.

MIT has been a leader in offering online courses since it began its OpenCourseWare initiative, and the university is a proponent of massively open online courses (MOOCs). However, until now Sloan classes have not made an appearance on MITx, the university’s edX online course page. Sloan officials’ decision to offer a course now may be a result of competition with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Harvard Business School. This fall, Wharton made its entire first-year MBA curriculum available on Coursera for free, and Harvard Business school is reportedly developing its own online initiative.

Online courses have experienced some challenges with student retention. This month, the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania published a study reporting that only four percent of students who enroll in an online course will go on to complete it. However, Sloan hopes that the real-world applications of Analytics Edge will lead to a greater rate of student retention. Sloan lecturer Allison O’Hair stated “We’ll have a better idea of whether the power of analytics is enough to get students to sign up–and stick around–for the online course in about six months.”


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