Interactive video within MOOCs: Impact on b-schools

“SuperText” may be a threat or an opportunity

“SuperText”—the interactive video and assessments within MOOCs—may be a threat or an opportunity to full-time business schools and MBA programs.

It depends on which path officials take in deploying the technology, says the “Will Video Kill the Classroom Star?” report from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Written by Wharton professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich, the report defines SuperText as the short, asynchronous video content paired with assessments. Students taking MOOCs seem to enjoy learning from these short video segments, which are often more concise and engaging compared to the average lecture, Ulrich says.

“SuperText has the potential to improve the student experience and reduce costs,” he says, referring to how it could lead to a less expensive per-student cost and dramatically fewer faculty. “In the face of an emerging technology with substantial benefits, MBA programs must deliberately choose a pathway to follow or risk diminished demand for their services.”

Though the supply of SuperText materials for b-school courses is limited, Ulrich says “several compelling offerings” are likely to be developed in the coming few years.

Among the advice for business school officials is to build a clear strategy that maps SuperText applications into learner segments. The question is not whether a school should offer a MOOC or not, but rather what groups the school wants to engage, the professors say.

Then, SuperText offerings can be created specifically for those populations. For example, a MOOC can be targeted to newly admitted students with a focus on spreadsheets or statistics, or it could cover highly specialized content for enrolled students. SuperText assessments could also be used to support placement and waiver decisions. 


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