Introduction to the HBS Online Course Platform


[MUSIC PLAYING] At Harvard Business School,
we have a unique approach to online learning. Our online courses
bring the best features of the Harvard Business
School on campus experience to life in a
digital environment. Each course is developed by
leading faculty and features immersive case studies,
interactive teaching tools, and a supportive peer
learning community. We know you’re busy, so our
courses are thoughtfully designed to be flexible,
yet structured to help you gain the knowledge you
need in the time you have. Curious how this
plays out in practice? Let’s take a closer look. Central to each online
program is the case method, a discussion-based
learning model pioneered by Harvard
Business School that puts learners in the
shoes of decision makers and has them tackle real
world business problems. These decision makers
are called protagonists, and come from companies
both large and small across a wide range of
industries and geographies. At the beginning of each case,
a faculty member sets the stage through a short video. To give you some
practice, I want you to analyze a
few short scenarios and ask how you
might create value in those particular situations. The case protagonist then
discuss a business challenge they faced. And we said to ourselves,
what is it that they want? What is it, from
their side, that would make them
feel as though this is a more comfortable scenario
than perhaps they originally considered? And you are asked
to make decisions based on the facts provided. You may hear from
C-suite executives at multinational firms,
entrepreneurs, investors, non-profit leaders, or
small business owners. By hearing directly
from the protagonists, you gain new perspectives and
refine your critical thinking skills. With me so far? Great. That brings me to the second
pillar of our programs– social learning. When you step into a Harvard
Business School classroom, you are expected to engage. The diversity of perspectives
enriches the discussion and is central to
the learning process. In our courses, the
same principle applies. It’s typical to see
learners from up to 50 different countries
in any given course. Let’s explore a
few of the ways you might engage with
others in your program. Peer help. Not quite grasping a concept? This is where you go
to pose a question or to help others who may
need a little extra support. Star or comment on
others’ responses. Instantly give recognition
for an insightful comment or start a conversation. Direct messaging. Chat one on one with another
learner in your program. Profile search. Find people with
similar interests or professional backgrounds. As you can see,
there’s a lot going on but this is intentional. It’s what we call
active learning. The more engaged you
are, the more you learn, which is why we follow a
three to five minute rule for each program. Meaning roughly every
three to five minutes, you’re asked to engage
with the material. That might mean watching
a short faculty video, or completing a poll, or
hearing from a case protagonist and then responding
to a cold call. Oh, the dreaded cold calls. Let’s take a closer
look at how these work. At Harvard Business School,
most case discussions start off with a student being
called on by their professor. The cold call intentionally
puts them on the spot, forces them to articulate
a position given the information
available, and requires them to be concise
in their response. In our online courses, you will
be cold called several times. You will then have a
few minutes to compose a response, which is, of
course, shared with your peers. Some find it mildly
nerve racking. Consider it a chance
to practice one of the most essential
skills in business– the ability to succinctly
state your position in a clear, informed manner. Ultimately, what
we care about is keeping you engaged in
the work of furthering your education and your career. You want to advance, and we
want to help you get there. It’s why we created an online
learning experience that brings participants together
from around the world and gives them real
world business skills. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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