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Berkeley Executive MBA Program Helps Launch iPad Learning Platform

The business school at the University of California, Berkeley will be deploying a new mobile learning platform in its executive MBA program. The Haas School of Business is working with EmpoweredU to develop the software.

EmpoweredU, founded by serial entrepreneur Steve Poizner, has developed a cloud-based learning environment to allow institutional users to deliver their curriculum online in a mobile format — in this case, Apple's iPad. Recently, the program ran a pilot program that let students test the new technology.

The iPad platform lets the instructor stream online content, do course site creation, set up online lectures, perform test administration, and grade assignments. Both instructors and students can do user publishing; perform live chat, messaging, and other forms of peer-to-peer interaction; run discussion forums; and set up student portfolios. The software can run in and outside of a wireless environment.

Students in the executive MBA program are working professionals. Cohorts meet over long weekends every three weeks for 19 months. Haas administrators said they are expecting the new mobile platform to allow their students to stay in touch with each other between sessions and help them juggle their coursework with other life commitments.

"Our executive MBA program will be the first degree program to experience the benefits of this mobile learning experience," said Adam Berman, who heads the Haas School’s initiatives in learning technologies. "For senior professionals on the go, having this kind of technology means getting the most out of their MBA experience, using their time most efficiently, and deepening their ties to their classmates."

The new platform will initially be limited to four courses: finance; leading people, marketing, and building trust based on relationship. As semesters unfold, additional courses will be added.

Similar technology is being used by the University of California Los Angeles Extension program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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