The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) will be the first South African business school to offer its MBA in real-time online, transferring the physical classroom space to anywhere in the world.
Students from around the world will be able to attend classes via live streaming and web-cams either on their laptop or smartphone. They will be able to join fellow students in the classroom participating, asking questions and contributing to group assignments.
The head of the USB MBA programme, Martin Butler, on Tuesday said students wanted to be able to pursue an MBA at a reputable business school from wherever they were and not be held back due to their location or travel commitments.
“The new technology offers a richer student experience, where they don’t simply consume content but interact, co-create and take responsibility for their learning irrespective of their location,” Butler said.
“This interaction also offers students a new advanced technology skill-set, which they can apply in their own careers.”
He added that this blended learning was different from online learning, which had been implemented successfully over a number of years already.
“Online offers a platform where the student learns in isolation at their own pace, mostly watching video where they have the option to review tuition sessions at their own convenience.
“USB’s new offering is synchronous whereby the community of learners collaborate … Our students meet for live sessions, either physically or via video streaming technology,” Butler said.
“We call this a ‘glocal’ classroom since it’s simultaneously global and local.”
A statement from the university added that all students were required to attend certain blocks in person, “making this a truly blended programme of real world and online contact”.
Butler added that during a pilot programme lecturers had experienced interaction and collaboration between off and on campus students.
“The wonderful thing about the business school is that we learn from our students as much as they learn from us and using technology to engage is no different.”