The Twittering B-School Profs

by Jeff Schmitt on

Harvard's Michael Porter is arguably the most influential business school professor of his generation

Harvard’s Michael Porter is arguably the most influential business school professor of his generation

A Look at the Top Business School Professors on Twitter

 

Move over Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian! There’s a new generation of tweeters ready to unleash their legions of followers on the world. And they’ve sprung up from the most unlikely source: Business school!

Hyperbole aside, 140 characters just isn’t for celebrities anymore.  In fact, star educators are drawing quite a loyal following on twitter. Recently, LDRLB (pronounced Leader Lab) listed the Top 50 Professors on Twitter. Based on Klout scores, the listing features professors ranging from Harvard’s Clayton Christensen to Stanford’s Bob Sutton.

So which professors are worth following? This week, Bloomberg Businessweek enlisted the help of Glen Gilmore, a Rutgers social media professor and a member of Forbes’ Top 50 Social Media Influencers in 2012. Here are Gilmore’s abridged thoughts on various celebrity professors’ twitter feeds:

Clayton Christensen: He engages in conversation with his followers. However, Christensen also notes that he tweets “with occasional assistance from the Fellows at the Forum for Growth and Innovation.” As a result, followers may not necessarily be interacting with Christensen himself.

Richard Florida: Author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida is distinguished by his sharing of others’ work with his nearly 168,000 followers. However, he does not use hashtags, which hinders his reach.

Michael Porter: His account is a platform to share his latest work, though he regularly engages with followers. Despite only following 54 accounts, Porter has drawn over 70,000 followers, a testament to the respect he holds in the academic world.

To read Gilmore’s insights on other business school thought leaders, click on the Bloomberg Businessweek article below. A listing of twitter handles for the Top 50 business school professors is under LDRLB below.

Sources: Bloomberg BusinessweekLDRLB

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MOOC Technology Will Force MBAs to Change

 

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Tipping point.” Coined by Malcolm Gladwell, a tipping point refers to that moment when the masses coalesce around a concept, product, or delivery channel, disrupting the status quo and forever changing a business model. For years, outliers have claimed that higher education would grow segmented and decentralized like cable television. Textbooks were too one dimensional. Brick-and-mortar facilities limited the number of students. Degree programs had grown too time-consuming and expensive. Now, many experts believe that MOOCs represent the tipping point that will democratize everything.

Not so fast…

This week, Geoffrey Garrett, dean of the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales, debunks these alarmist calls in a column for The Financial Times. Garrett believes that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) will drive change, but they’ll never replace the existing educational model. He cites Apple’s iTunes as an apt comparison, with MOOCs serving as the music and platforms like Coursera acting as the media players:

“Apple did not change the way music was made, but it did revolutionise how people consumed it. While MP3 files are much lower quality than high-fidelity stereo, they are so much more convenient.”

In Garrett’s estimation, MOOCs will enhance, not replace, MBA programs. First, universities are already investing in MOOCs themselves to build their brands globally with prospective students. While MOOCs may be an ideal medium for granting certificates, platforms (and potential competitors) like Coursera recognize that their expertise does not extend to developing content and granting degrees.

Online degrees also represent a potential threat to educational institutions. Georgia Tech University has already slashed the cost of one Master’s program by 84 percent, believing lower overhead and more students will offset the reduction. However, Garrett doesn’t believe online programs will degenerate into low cost commodities. In his opinion, professionals will still pay a premium for quality, flexibility, and convenience, particularly if the online program contains the same content, expectations, and instructors.

In fact, the technology driving MOOCs and online courses may actually return teaching to its roots. Garrett notes that students can now watch videotaped lectures, freeing class time for interactive discussions, group projects, and learning-by-doing. In other words, the technologies fueling MOOCs and online courses are actually opportunities that can only augment the student experience:

“Business schools’ best defence against Moocs is to use online efficiencies to refocus on what has always been the highest value addition of our degrees – the magic that happens when great teachers get up close and personal with talented and motivated MBA students.”

Source: The Financial Times

(Editor’s Note: Check out The Guide to the Best MOOC Courses in Business)

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