ROBERT TURRILLInterview with USC (University of Southern California)
business professor, Dr. Robert Turrill.
USC(University of Southern California) is a competitively ranked
American university that offers unique EMBA and MBA programs to
both domestic and international candidates. Their specialty
Entrepreneurship program was one of the first in the nation and
is internationally acclaimed. USC Organizational Behavior business
professor, Dr. Robert Turrill, talks about E-learning programs
WS: Does USC have any upcoming online E-Learning programs?
RT: We just established two programs. One is a master of
medical management for MDs. There will be four on-campus
periods and then a distance-learning requirement between those
on-campus periods. We established a program in Japan called
the "BBT" program in which the Japanese managers do
a year in E-Learning and then come to USC to do their second year
in residence. We dont have any full distance E-Learning
programs yet. Its a rather controversial issue. Most
schools are resisting the idea of having full E-Learning programs,
but there are some who are working on the idea.
WS: What do you think about distance E-Learning MBA programs?
RT: I think they will be partial. Most schools
will probably require that the student spend at least a minimum
amount of time in residence. People are leaving the idea
of face-to-face education very slowly, and plus the fact that
distance learning programs are not cheap! People think that
because its not on-campus that it will be significantly
cheaper, but often times that is not the case. I heard that
it costs about a million dollars per course to develop. Thats
a pretty heavy development cost. The other issue is that
faculty members dont quite know how to do it yet. You
have to communicate with the students, which can be much less
efficient than face-to-face instruction. You cant
have faculty online for 24 hours. How do you hold office
hours? You can do it, but the faculty members are going
to be very concerned about what that means in terms of their time.
What we don_t know is that, for example, if a student wants
to know something and the faculty doesn_t respond for 48 hours,
will the student be dissatisfied? Youll also have all the
same developmental problems that you have with on-campus programs,
such as cost, quality, and a control issue. So, there will
be more distance learning programs, but will they substitute on-campus
programs? I dont think so.