01 Dec 2013

HBX: Expanding Our Reach


In the last few years, the landscape for online learning has changed dramatically. Using new and ever more powerful technologies, the market is shifting rapidly, with many dozens of organizations, aggregators, and educational institutions working to bring their offerings to a wider audience.

Recognizing the potential of online learning, both to reach new audiences and to strengthen its engagement with alumni, the School is developing HBX, its own online platform. While sharing best practices with edX (a joint venture of Harvard and MIT) and HarvardX, HBS has outlined several distinctive guiding principles for its entry into this arena. First and foremost, the endeavor is closely tied to the School's mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, and every aspect of HBX will be designed to elevate the School's standing and reputation. Additionally, the platform is intended to enhance rather than compete with or substitute for current offerings. Finally, the platform will be built on a robust and self-sustaining economic model.

“We are committed to leveraging technology to develop highly differentiated offerings that set the standard for excellence in online business education and pedagogy.”
Professor Bharat Anand, HBX Faculty Chair

The strategic focus of HBX centers on the potential for impact. For new audiences, this will equate to transformational educational experiences delivered around the globe. For faculty members, HBX offers a powerful new means for disseminating their ideas to a broader audience.

One product HBX plans to launch next year is a suite of pre-MBA courses drawn from HBS's pre-matriculation and Analytics programs. It will be designed for serious and committed learners, typically undergraduates taking their first job after graduation, and focus on the fundamentals of business. This offering, like all HBX offerings, will require students to actively engage in the course and demonstrate mastery of content through rigorous exams, replicating the School's emphasis on participant-centered learning. Further down the road, the HBX team is developing a virtual classroom that provides opportunities for alumni to reconnect with each other and the School; signature courses featuring outstanding faculty members; and an online ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

With support from the HBS Fund for Leadership and Innovation as well as individual donor funds, HBX is a tangible representation of the School's commitment to excellence in online management education.


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