Online MBA Boot Camp Provides Sustainable Competitive Advantage in 12-week Trimester

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1 Online MBA Boot Camp Provides Sustainable Competitive Advantage in 12-week Trimester Hamid Khan, BSME, MSIE, MBA, EDD, PE Professor of Management Our Lady of the Lake University Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 1

2 Fundamentals of Business Administration (or The MBA Boot Camp) This paper discusses the efficacy of taking a hybrid course and moving it to a completely online format. The course is titled BADM 6600 or Fundamentals of Business Administration (or The MBA Boot Camp). We used two premises for the expediency of design and development: (1) migrate all of the material to an online course using Blackboard/WebCT and (2) develop the course in one year using Project Management software and methodologies to facilitate the migration. The six-in-one course covers: Management, Business law, Economics, Accounting, Finance and Statistics) serving as an integrated pre-requisite course for students lacking an undergraduate business degree. Each module was put online individually, tested and then integrated into one course. The time spent in designing the course from scope definition to implementation was monitored by the Project Management software. This paper describes the content design, project management controls and results to date. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 2

3 Design Intent and Construct With many universities experiencing declining enrollment, developing innovative ways to attract students without sacrificing academic integrity is the buzz on many campuses. The target market for OLLU s MBA program is working professionals. One of the differentiators of our program is that it is offered in a weekend format. The course, BADM 6600 Fundamentals of Business Administration is another huge differentiator for us. This is a leveling course for non-business majors. So why offer a course such as BADM 6600? Those working professionals who do not have a degree in business and who want to get an MBA are faced with taking 18 or more hours of undergraduate business classes as prerequisites to entering an MBA program at most universities. For prospective students, this translates into additional cost and time. The School of Business at OLLU developed this course to address these hurdles and deterrents to entering an MBA program. Since our target market is the working professional, we recognize that we are dealing with adult learners and individuals who already have, in most cases, a reasonable amount of business experience. They have more than likely been exposed to many of the concepts, terminology, and ideas normally presented in undergraduate leveling courses. Therefore, it was our hypothesis that they would be able to digest large amounts of information more rapidly than traditional students with no business experience. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 3

4 Background and Methodology of Design When the course was first offered in 2003, the initial format for the class was the hybrid format. Two of the six topics were covered in face-to-face classroom settings (Management and Business Law & Ethics). The other four topics (Economics, Accounting, Finance, and Statistics) were done in an online format using MBA Primer (Thomson Southwestern). Students would take quizzes and then an exam for each topic. MBA Primer is a self-paced format. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 4

5 Reasons for changing format Several reasons for changing format. First, it was author s opinion that the hybrid format was not conducive to tracking and monitoring student performance. Second, it did not provide enough opportunity for interaction between students and the instructor. Third, the responsibility for learning rested solely with the student. Fourth, it was difficult to assess with any degree of certainty how much the student had learned. Therefore, the author redesigned the course as completely online, using WebCT as the platform. 1) Why online? and 2) How was the course constructed as an online course? Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 5

6 How do you prepare a strong foundation? Leveling courses are foundation courses. Meaning they are courses that all undergraduate business students would take. They typically cover the introductory concepts, theories, and terminology of the respective subjects that students will need for upper-level classes. Subject matter experts (SME) within OLLU s School of Business were identified for each of the six topics. The SMEs were asked to identify the undergraduate textbook used for each subject. They further were asked to identify the required chapters that should be covered in each textbook that would provide students with a good foundation in the subject area. Armed with this information the course was constructed by adapting a methodology the author learned from a presentation by Gordon Hodge from the University of New Mexico (UNM). The UNM redesigned General Psychology, the largest and most popular undergraduate course, through a grant from the Center for Academic Transformation (Hodge). Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 6

7 The six foundation level modules It was determined that the sequence of the six topics would be Management, Business Law & Ethics, Economics, Accounting, Finance, and Statistics. The Test Banks for each textbook were loaded into WebCT through the use of Respondus. Each chapter had a test bank of questions. In addition a combined test bank was compiled by using all of the questions from each chapter. Students move through the course in two-week increments. In other words, everyone works on Management, then Business Law and so on. Students are encouraged to take as many quizzes as they like. The 10-question quizzes are randomly generated from the respective chapter test banks. So they will not be getting the same quiz each time. The 100-question final exam is randomly generated from the combined test bank. Therefore, the more quizzes a student takes the higher the probability that the student will have seen most, if not all, of the questions on the final and will have prepared well for the exam. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 7

8 The question of rigor and self paced learning Students read an assigned chapter and then take multiple quizzes. According to the results of the UNM program, the repetition results in a higher retention of the information (Hodge). The more quizzes they take the more prepared they are for the Final Exam. Like the course itself, the grading in the course is quite different. Each of the six topical areas is independent of the others. In order to be admitted into the MBA program, without conditions, a student must pass each of the six areas. A final exam is given in each area. Students must receive a 70% or higher on a final exam in order to pass the area. So, students getting a 70% or higher in each of the six areas, are admitted, without conditions into the MBA program. Students failing to get a 70% or higher in one or more areas must take the undergraduate course for that area, prior to being admitted into the MBA program. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 8

9 Student progress monitoring This format allows the instructor to monitor student progress very easily. An instructor can observe quiz scores and intervene if a student is getting consistently low quiz scores. Also, the course was set up to have a discussion area for each topic. Therefore, students can post questions concerning the material or questions concerning quizzes in the discussion area. Students can also interact with the instructor and other students through . After the design methodology was set in place, the time allowed for completing the modules and the implementation plan were modeled by the following way. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 9

10 Project implementation plan Activity Description Preceding Activity Activity Time (days) A Graduate School Approval None 5 B Course construction Plans A 15 C Projected Students Study A 10 D Lead Faculty Availability Check A 5 The Platform faculty E Internal Feasibility Report B, C 15 F VPAA/EVP Approvals B, C, D 10 G Design of Individual Modules F 170 H Publish on Blackboard/ Dry Run E, G 35 Precedence Matrix Plan Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 10

11 PM Gantt Chart from Precedence Relationships Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 11

12 Activity on Node (AON) Diagram with Critical Activities and Path Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 12

13 The Network Diagram of for Resource and Critical Path Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 13

14 Original Time Estimates (In Days) Activity optimistic most probable pessimistic expected time Variance a m b t=(a+4m+b)/6 [(b-a)/6]^2 A B C D E F G H Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 14

15 Project Implementation Schedule with Slack Times Activity erliest earliest latest latest slack on critical start finish start finish LS-ES path? Y/N A Y* B Y* C N D N E N F Y* G Y* H Y* Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 15

16 Probability of success The above PERT schedule uses critical path activities to help determine the variance of the overall project. The project variance is ( ) = 104 days Project standard deviation is sq.rt. of 104 = 10.2 days Expected date of completion of the critical path is ( ) = 245 days. In order for the school to find the probability that this project will be finished on or before the December 31 deadline or in 235 working days, we need to determine the area under the normal curve, where the standard equation can be applied as follows: Z = (Due date Expected date of completion)/ Standard deviation = ( )/ 10.2 = -.98 where Z is the number of standard deviations the due date or the target date lies from the expected date (to the left of the mean). Referring to the normal table we find a probability of success is or 33.6%. (very low) The project cannot be completed with these estimated times. It was in trouble if it should be completed in to be completed in 235 days (available time of about 8 months.) Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 16

17 Revised Time Estimate in Days Project Coordination and Control Activity optimistic most probable pessimistic expected variance a m b t=(a+4m+b)/6 [(b- a)/6]^2 A B C D E F G H Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 17

18 Revised On Line Schedule and Slack Times Calculation of Risk and Probability of Success Activity erliest earliest latest latest slack on critical start finish start finish LS-ES path? Y/N A Y* B Y* C N D N E N F Y* G Y* H Y* Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 18

19 Revised probability of success by the due date (235 days) The above PERT schedule uses critical path activities to help determine the variance of the overall project. The project variance is ( ) = days Project standard deviation is sq.rt. of = days Expected date of completion in the critical path is ( ) = In order for us to find the probability that this project will be finished on or before the December 31 deadline or in 235 working days, we need to determine the area under the normal curve, where the standard equation can be applied as follows: Z = (Due date Expected date of completion)/ Standard deviation = ( )/ = 2.92 where Z is the number of standard deviations the due date or the target date lies from the expected date. Referring to the normal table we find a probability of success is or 99.8%. For the due date of completion in 235 days. The project was in fact completed in time and published in Blackboard before the year end in eight months, and was successfully delivered on line the following spring semester and every semester afterward. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 19

20 Initial Pass Rates The results presented are for Fall 2005 Trimester. There were a total of 46 students enrolled at the beginning of the trimester. Four students dropped the course before the end of the trimester leaving a total class enrollment of 42. Of these 42, three students stopped participating after the first two modules and were not counted in the final statistics. Initial Percent Pass Rate of TRI I 05: Management 96.8% Business Law 100% Economics 66.7% Accounting 84.2% Finance 88.9% Statistics 86.7% Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 20

21 EVALUATION CHECKLIST DESCRIPTION what was evaluated BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT for eval CONSUMER that was impacted RESOURCES used VALUES inhibited and exhibited PROCESS used OUTCOMES assessed GENERALIZABILITY demonstrated Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 21

22 Further research on sustained competitiveness It is important to establish competitive advantage in program evaluation. Honest program evaluation and review techniques will make weak programs of today, a strong program of tomorrow. The outcomes based program evaluation used earnestly and honestly provides strategic initiative for sustainable competitive advantage. Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 22

23 Online result : Continuous improvement scenario Subject TRI I TRI II TRI III TRI III TRI II Area Management Business Law Economics Accounting Finance Statistics Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 23

24 The Running Feedback Score-Card from webct/blackboard environment Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 24

25 EXAMPLE: ECON MODULE ON LINE COORDINATION AND CONTROL Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 25

26 The Evaluation Taxonomy Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 26

27 Student Evaluation as the Indicator of Success (Measure of Effectiveness) Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 27

28 The Measure of Effectiveness (MOE) Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 28

29 Evidence of Better Satisfaction The Full Semester Course (Less Pressure) Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 29

30 Evidence of Better Student Satisfaction Longer Semesters Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 30

31 Thank you Concluding Remarks In defense of on line teaching ( WebCT and Blackboard )Effectiveness. The answer is not in the box (classroom), it s in the band (On line) (with apology to the movie Antitrust ) Copyright 2009 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 31

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