Thursday, 28 June 2012

Track B: The challenges of mature global distance learners: Lessons from the MUBS online MBA's

Link to abstract
Presenters: Dr Simon Best & Dr Kristian J Sund, Middlesex University

What a lively and thought-provoking session! Kristian and Simon shared their experiences of teaching and managing the MBA in Shipping and Logistics and the MBA in Oil and Gas respectively. The MBA in Shipping and Logistics was launched in 2009 and was designed to equip current and future maritime leaders with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to manage their business successfully. The programme focuses on major topics such as maritime administration, ship finance, risk management, maritime economics and trade, maritime law etc. The online mode of delivery has provided a wealth of experience for teaching and administrative members of staff. Kristian placed particular emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of the tutor, the administrative requirements for successfully running such an international programme and the importance of authoring high quality learning materials.

Simon provided an overview of the MBA in Oil & Gas, which was launched in 2011 and is delivered exclusively online over 24 months. The programme is designed and delivered so that students can accelerate their professional development without having to pause their career or take long periods out from their work which in many cases takes place on oil rigs. He also shared with the audience his belief that face-to-face and online teaching are almost mutually exclusive in terms of some of their key teaching prerequisites.

It was very interesting to compare the experiences of running two exclusively online programmes and draw on their similarities and differences. Perhaps most importantly, Kristian and Simon outlined future research plans on factors that lead to students satisfaction and achievement; they intend to look into the quality of tutoring and devise ways of measuring the quality of online tutoring. They are interested in both quantitative and qualitative aspects of student learning for example type of posts, frequency of student participation and response time to students. The session was well-received and contributions from the audience highlighted the relevance of the teaching practices currently developed at the Business School.

Mike Mimirinis, CLTE

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