Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Tom Head, Feb 12, 2001.
The obvious difference between the on-campus and DL programs at Heriot-Watt is that the DL program has totally eliminated faculty. I don't believe that a program that has no professors can be considered "identical" with a program that does, regardless of whether or not the course content and exams are comparable.
Perhaps the unspoken reason was that they knew that AACSB would turn them down. As I understand it, AACSB looks very closely at issues like the percentage of faculty with doctorates and the percentage of faculty that are full-time vs. adjuncts. So I can't imagine it escaping AACSB's attention that there aren't any faculty at all.
Personally, I kind of like the fact that HW has the equivalent of regional accreditation but doesn't have AMBA or AACSB accreditation. I think that captures something important about the program. While the "degrees solely by examination" model is entirely valid, I think that it also does away with aspects of a "world class" education that can't be ignored.
Well my third try. For some reason the system didn’t take the last two attempts (and, of course, erased my message.
Yes, but a world class program has entrance requirements that ensure that the students have this experience. And even given this, they still require collaborative work among their students. HW does not have any requirement that you have a such experience. You could be a hermit living in a cave and get the HW MBA. I even recall reading an alum's page where he mentions that his son is planning/taking the HW MBA as an undergrad to get the MBA before or concurrent with his undergrad degree. How much experience managing group projects will he have when he graduates?
The projects and collaborative work do not have to be done at school. Many part time MBA programs allow projects that involve the student’s work. They require reports to document the educational experience. HW does not require any experience before entering (Warwick requires 4 years FT work experience, Wharton has a similar requirement). HW does not require its students to document any collaborative work or detailed project work. YOU might be a world class MBA, but the HW program itself is lacking.
The finals and syllabi might be the same, they are not equivalent. HW brick and mortar classes can require project work which is assessed as part of the course grade. From the HW web page:
Still a poor substitute for a major project, but better than nothing.
"When quality has been tested by independent authorities, such as the Israeli Council for Higher Education, the EBS MBA received a five year license from the Israeli government to operate in Israel, and some AMBA accredited schools had negative responses and were told to improve their quality (I understand one Business School has withdrawn from Israel as a result)."
Isn't it amazing how the folks at HW can fool so many into believing they have a quality program.
Bill, you are very confused regarding the program... perhaps I can enlighted you. The graduate school of business at HW University does have academic faculty. They had academic faculty teaching the full-time MBA program before the DL program was initiated, then before it was integrated with the full-time program and now for teaching the full-time, part-time and corporate programs as well as providing DL support. I highly doubt HW would have difficulty obtaining AACSB accreditation (the suggestion is actually quite humorous)
Of course it does. The question is what role those faculty have in teaching the distance education program.
Which schools where given negative responses. I don’t doubt it, but I’d like some names please.
Still beside my point. I never said that the HW MBA was easy: I’m sure it’s quite difficult. I never said that HW was bad at what they teach: On the contrary--I believe you get a thorough grounding in basic b-school subject. I also never said that the HW MBA is not an adequate MBA—they are certainly as good as many RA MBAs in the states—I, however, view those MBAs as deficient too. The curriculum of the HW MBA is missing what I (and it would seem by their curriculum, the top MBA schools) believe is a fundamental part of business education.
Perhaps if we step away from b-school for a second I can make my point.
Consider the fictional WH University and their MS in Biology program. The program requires no previous Bio coursework, no prior lab experience and does not require that students get or demonstrate that they have gained any such experience prior to graduation. A forum participant, Nek, comes and claims that WH is a “world class” Bio program. When someone questions the lack of any lab work, he replies, “Maybe for someone who never worked in Bio that’s important, but here they call me the “pipet king”.
Is Nek a good biologist? Maybe, and maybe not (I’ll leave aside the question of whether just “doing lab work” that might not relate to the specific topics in the curriculum is sufficient). Is the WH program deficient? Yes, of course. It’s deficient because the degree doesn’t mean what it should: it’s only ½ of a biology degree. WH might graduate plenty of people with Nek’s knowledge, but they’ll also graduate plenty of people who don’t know a pipet from a petri dish.
For you HW might be fine (as would the RA programs that require only courses). This doesn’t make the HW MBA world class however.
ps. Ken: You still didn’t answer my question about the HW MBA. While you (and HW) claim the programs are unified, the HW MBA web site for the on campus program makes it clear (as I cited above) that the on campus courses are assessed not only by the final, but also by project work during the semester. So are the programs really the same if an on campus student has projects to do and the distance students don’t?
If you pursue full-time the instructors read you their notes... if you study via DL, you read the notes yourself (sarcasm intended).
The instructors (same as adjuncts) write the course materials, provide tutorial support as requested and, I believe, have a role to play in the examination assessment.
Comparing statistics to biology... thanks Gerstl it all makes sense now.
It really isn't that complicated but let me explain simple terms:
Heriot-Watt believes that what you know, as demonstrated by examination performance, qualifies you for credit. Demonstrate competence across a traditional curriculum and you get a degree. This is not unusual... lawyers, accountants, financial analysts, etc., all have similar methods.
If you don't particularly like it... jolly good for you. The Economist and many other reputable organizations have felt that HWs program is definetly "world-class".
Incidently, I am not a big fan of HWs method of assessment for various reasons but the assertion that it is not "world class" is silly.
And finally, HWs full-time and DL programs are the same... the method of assessment may differ but the content is the same.
I don't argue with the assertion that an assessment of competence across a traditional curriculum deserves a degree. What I do argue with is the assertion that the HW MBA curriculum is a "traditional curriculum" (hence my "Biology without labs" example. They do not require nor do they assess any collaborative or in-depth work.
Is Law and Accountancy the same?
The vast majority of attorneys in the US attend ABA schools where they take courses in practical lawyering (and often clinical courses). What about [for example] the University of London (whose degrees can be obtained in an entirely exam based format) you ask? Well, I'll let you in on a little secret: A U of L graduate is not a lawyer (gasp)! In order to be licenced as a sollicitor or barister in the UK you must complete a multi stage program where the "academic stage" is only one of the stages. For a solicitor (as an example) later stages (vocational stage, legal practice course, professional skills course, training apprenticehip) deal with the practical issues. The fact that some jurisdictions in the US would allow a London graduate to practice without these courses is somewhat due to the fact that much of this is [supposed to be] covered in the academic stage in the US law schools.
Accounting is generally similar. With the exception of a few states (which are, I understand, tightening things up) a period of practical apprenticeship in which the CPA candidate is expected to observe and participate in a variety of accounting situations (audits, etc). In New York, for example, I believe the period is two or three years.
So, you say, the MBA is only the "academic stage" and so doesn't need any practice. Not at all. Since there is no follup to the MBA (as in accounting) this should be part of the degree. It seams that the top US schools (which have group projects and reports) agree with this.
Just a US thing? Well lets look at the web pages for the top european schools (according to Business Week--I've omitted the Canadian schools from the International list to get this):
London B School:
( I especcially like the IMD model)
I wont make a comment on the Economist's ranking because they seem to be unavailable online. I'd appreciate a URL if anyone has one.
When you did your HW MBA, where you required to do case studies and complete projects or where you just required to read the book and notes? Note that the quote:
deals not only with the assessment (which only affect "certain courses" but makes a blanket statement about what will be expected from the students in the program.
Maybe at second rate schools . Good teachers bring alot to the educational experience. I understand that there are online support forums for HW students where faculty answer questions, explain things. Are these worthless too?
Separate names with a comma.