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DR. 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 at USC.


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 don’t have any full distance E-Learning programs yet.  It’s 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 it’s 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.  That’s a pretty heavy development cost.  The other issue is that faculty members don’t 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 can’t 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? You’ll 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 don’t think so.

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