Tuck initiative broadens use of online resources
By Zack Doherty
Published on Friday, May 11, 2012
The Tuck School of Business has begun an initiative to provide expanded online resources to its introductory business courses for students enrolled in its MBA program. Since the effort’s implementation in the fall, professors have begun to use video lectures, online quizzes and discussion boards to improve and supplement their curricula.
The initiative marks an effort at Tuck to make educational materials more readily available and accessible to students, according to Dean of the Tuck School of Business Paul Danos. Using these technologies, Tuck faculty and administrators seek to enhance students’ learning as well as to reach individuals who may decide to participate in the program remotely, Danos said.
The expansion of online resources corresponds to two distinct programs, according to Danos.
In the first, online material is made available exclusively to Tuck students enrolled at the graduate school.
The second program is a collaboration between Tuck and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Students who participate in this program earn a master’s degree in health care delivery science through a system that combines residential periods at the College, interactive courses online and “continuous, team-based, experiential learning facilitated by Dartmouth faculty and learning coaches,“ according to the program’s website. This dynamic enables students to participate in the program from off-campus sites while pursuing professional careers, according to Danos.
The master’s program and the initiative to expand online resources take advantage of new approaches to learning, Danos said. Because computers and other technologies have become so prominent, educational institutions should modify their teaching mechanisms that embraces these new devices.
“Today’s students learn in a way that is vastly different than someone of my generation does,” Danos said. “Their way of learning will continue to rely increasingly on the web, and teaching in classrooms is going to have to consider that. What we’ve done reflects the ways in which campuses will change as a result of these technologies, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
According to Danos, most colleges and universities have incorporated new technologies in some way. Institutions such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have incorporated new teaching methodologies and led efforts in online education, according to Danos.
Such changes will enhance education and are virtually inevitable for all colleges and universities, Danos said.
“All of the top schools I know, whether in business or other areas of study, are going to have to make decisions about how much of this technology they want to use,” Danos said. “The technology is available now, it’s not as exotic as it used to be. It’s a lot easier to deliver even interactive courses at a distance.”
Among the concerns associated with the increasing reliance on technology in the education sector is a fear that such methods will diminish the emphasis on classroom teaching, Danos said. However, he said these initiatives are actually likely to benefit the classroom experience.
“There is no doubt that this technology is never going to totally drive away campus life, but it is going to change it and give it alternatives,” Danos said. “The [schools] that decide that they want to be involved will have more options in the ways in which they can offer education.”
Marketing professor Praveen Kopalle said he uses the online technologies in his classes to introduce fundamental concepts, offer tutorials and provide reviews of class materials. By using the approach made possible by the new technology, he is able to help students learn and relearn concepts from class and encourage them to apply these concepts to real-life situations, he said.
“The idea here is that you want to leave the basics out of the way so that the classroom discussion can be left for much more value-added learning,” Kopalle said. “This way, we can focus on more applications and in-depth discussions.”
According to Jessica Zofnass Tu ’13, the introduction of online resources has made it easier to understand content, particularly when learning material she had not encountered in the course of her undergraduate education.
“I thought it was tremendously helpful because I had no previous experience in these subjects,” Zofnass said. “Being able to watch the video lectures and take notes at my own pace helped me to really understand the basic concepts so that I could go into class the next day with a strong foundation for the more complex material.”
Danos pioneered the pilot program at the start of the 2011-2012 academic school year. He expects to continue and expand the initiatives for the upcoming academic year, which will begin this summer.