The hallowed halls of Harvard Business School are about to open up to the world — virtually, at least. The elite institution is reportedly working on an online learning initiative, called HBX, that would mark its first foray into the world of massive open online classes (MOOCs).
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the school has been working on the program at least since June and will likely offer courses through edX, the non-profit online learning platform created by Harvard and MIT. Harvard already offers more than a dozen courses through edX but none are business school classes.
HBS isn’t the first business school to offer a MOOC: Stanford Graduate School of Business is set to launch a course on NovoEd this month, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School offers courses on Coursera and other B-Schools have hopped on the MOOC bandwagon as well. But HBS’ global brand means it will quickly find an eager audience online. As John Fernandes, the chief executive of the business school accreditation group Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, told Bloomberg Businessweek, its decision to offer MOOCs could be a “watershed” moment for the institution.
“They’re going to get high visibility with students all over the world,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s going to displace face-to-face education, but it’s going to be a big piece of the pie.”
The school has not yet shared which courses it plans to offer, what kinds of costs might be involved or how it plans to make money.