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Carnegie Mellon To Launch Blended-Learning MBA

A Pennsylvania university has revamped its master's in business administration program to allow students to complete portions of the program both online and on-site. The blended-learning model, designed to provide students more flexibility, will begin in the fall 2013 semester, and applications are being accepted now.

The program at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, is called FlexMBA. It uses a three-pronged approach to learning: on-campus sessions, online classes, and online self-paced activities. Students who enroll in the FlexMBA program will be placed in sections of 20 to 30. They will receive the same coursework, personal leadership coaching, career services, team interaction, and faculty found in traditional MBA programs.

Students will use a learning management system developed by technology staff at Carnegie Mellon that features access to archives of classes, documents, notes, and videos. It also provides virtual study spaces for small groups and tools for scheduling of online meetings. In addition, the LMS includes a communication and notification system for use by faculty and students.

The FlexMBA program, which allows students to complete the program in a part-time capacity over 32 months, requires students to:

  • Finish two courses during each seven-week mini semester;
  • Attend Access Weekends, three-day on-site sessions that include lectures, testing, career services, group development and presentations, and access to alumni programs from the region. Students will attend a total of 15 Access Weekends during the course of the program. Each weekend will include approximately 40 to 60 students;
  • Participate in online self-paced learning activities; and
  • Attend weekly live-video classes once a week for 90 minutes to discuss coursework and connect it to real-life situations using case discussions. Both students and faculty will be visible using video-conferencing technology.

Virtual classrooms allow students and faculty to interact with each other, and provide document viewing and sharing tools, as well as recorded presentations.

"The new FlexMBA model draws on our school's experience earned over nearly two decades of successful graduate-level distance-learning programs and combines that knowledge with our expertise in traditional full- and part-time MBA education," said Michael Trick, senior associate dean for education at the Tepper School. "Maintaining quality and consistency across all our MBA delivery platforms is paramount. The flexibility of the FlexMBA format makes it convenient for students anywhere in North America to access our curriculum and faculty."

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university with approximately 6,203 undergraduates and 6,290 graduate and doctoral students. It employs 1,423 faculty members, and the campus sits on 143 acres.

For more information, visit tepper.cmu.edu/flexmba.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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