The MOOC Revolution: How To Earn An Elite MBA For Free

by Jeff Schmitt on

online EDUCATIONSo you want an MBA? But you can’t afford to take two years off and invest upwards of a quarter of a million on tuition, books, living expenses, and lost wages?

Boy, do I have a proposition for you!

Now, it’s a little unconventional. And it’ll require a load of self-discipline on your part. When it’s over, you’ll have an Ivy League education on your resume. And it won’t cost you a cent!

Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is. But I got your attention. And that’s one of the first things you learn in a foundational marketing class. And one of the world’s best business schools—Wharton—offers one of those for free through a MOOC.

A MOOC, you say? Isn’t that a slur? Maybe in Jersey. These days, MOOCs are considered by many academics to be the future of education. MOOCs — an acronym for massive open online courses—are courses that can be accessed globally over the internet. Thanks to their flexibility, students covet them.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOOCs

It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what a MOOC is. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, you ‘know it when you see it.’  Most MOOCs rely on set start and end dates, though a few are self-paced. They can be scaled to accommodate tens-of-thousands…or just a select community. Occasionally, students can earn grades and college credits through MOOCs. Most times, they’ll just receive a certificate of completion.

Tests can be proctored, but many MOOCs rely on the honor system. Textbooks are often optional (though some courses come with eBooks and downloadable software). Although professors deliver content through videos and PowerPoints in MOOCs, many engage with students on message boards in real time (and even keep office hours for their online students). Although MOOCs are grounded in distance education, many students form regionally-based online communities to facilitate peer support.

Still, there is one characteristic that marks all MOOCs: They are available to anyone. And that’s why they’re becoming a booming business. Sure, many MOOCs are free. But they’re also drawing millions of students. That’s why platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity are partnering with schools to house content. For example, edX started as a consortium between Harvard and MIT – and has since added the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas to its membership (along with recently joining forces with Google). Coursera was launched by Stanford professors and offers undergraduate and graduate courses from programs ranging from Wharton to Stanford.

BUILDING YOUR OWN MBA CURRICULUM FOR FREE OUT OF MOOCs

And that begs the question: With so much content available for free, do students even need to enroll in college anymore? MOOCs have democratized education globally (provided you have an internet connection). Could students conceivably treat education like a build-your-own IKEA furniture?

Take business school education. For decades, entrepreneurs have counseled professionals to find a mentor and earn your MBA in the ‘school of hard knocks.’ Sounds tempting, but knowledge is power. And it’s very costly to make those same fundamental mistakes in launching a business. So ask yourself these questions: 1) What if these would-be MBA candidates could review course catalogs and identify foundational courses and electives that would fill their knowledge gaps? 2) What if they could use this research to construct a learning plan that would build their knowledge, step-by-step, like a normal curriculum? 3) And what if they could locate these courses on MOOC platforms like Coursera and edX?

It’s a tempting proposition. Imagine taking two MOOCs every eight weeks. You could theoretically finish your MBA in the same time it takes to complete a traditional program. Now, ask yourself these two key questions: 1) Is the right content available? 2) Does it come from a reputable source? The answer is both questions is “Absolutely.” You can find much of the content covered in an MBA curriculum online at little to no cost.

And even David Wilson, the outgoing chief executive of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT test, says it may well be possible. “The next MBA degree may not be a degree but a portfolio of certificates,” says Wilson. “The market will determine the worth of it.”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
  • http://www.nopaymba.com Laurie Pickard

    That’s great! I am actually beginning to put together a group of people taking business MOOCs to track our learning together. Let me know if you’d be interested.

  • John

    You are struggling to express this via language because you are missing the point – you are being fooled by the conman (article author).

    Btw, you do realize that if the academic oligarchy implode then so will these MOOC’s. That ironically makes for an implosion of knowledge in general. No wonder you can not express your opinion via what you call a deficient English language. Oh, the irony.

  • John

    What is the relevance to your “being a South African” ?

  • http://FreedomFiles.Info/ FactsNotFallacies

    “Btw, you do realize that if the academic oligarchy implode then so will these MOOC’s.”

    Nope. As sites like Udacity have demonstrated, MOOC’s do not need to rely on existing universities to be of use to people in the job market.

    Something about your comment tells me you’ve wasted your time on a degree that you are now trying to justify as worthwhile.

  • Lalitha Bashyam Krishna

    As a woman from India where woman is not allowed to complete her higher studies as per her choice, I wish to take an International Executive MBA from my home country without having to spend money since it is not affordable. for me. Therefore I request to know more about the various options available for getting an International MBA to upgrade my knowledge and career.

  • http://FreedomFiles.Info/ FactsNotFallacies

    MOOCs need not depend on present academia. As sites like Udacity have rightfully demonstrated.

    Someone with a small imagination like yours would no doubt have trouble understanding why there is nothing present day universities do that can’t be achieved through more efficient means.

    This is the 21st century.

  • Mike

    it’s something for employers to look at on your resume that shows you still have an interest for learning; while learning new information and gaining knowledge. an MBA is only a title; it’s the thought that counts

  • John

    You do realise that MOOC courses are on university-level subject matter from university faculty.
    Udacity does not offer anything new of different than most other universities. In fact, Udacity only remove the social and real world interaction with teachers and fellow students and then charge for it – Udacity is selling what it calls a “course experience” version of all classes @~$150/month. Therefore Udacity does not provide free MOOCs at all, nor do they allow their MOOC’s to be freely distributed for re-useit, they merely provide a a platform and charge for it. The history of MOOCs far pre-dates the Udacity, edX and Coursera platforms. These 3 companies has to work hard to attract students and Coursera and edX charges money for certificates for their courses (like universities). Udacity ONLY has 38 active courses in its catalog, pontificating Udacity is better than universities is living in denialism mars. And the irnony is that university visiting teachers and a few industry people (that are university educated) work with Udacity to create the MOOC content! The courses are mostly “freshman year” courses, and very few, if any post grad or 3rd year courses.

    MOOC.s are dependent on present academics and on platform provides are after YOUR money as Udacity and the likes have demonstrated.

    I think the conman has sold to the fool in this 21st century. Which one is you?

  • John

    Are you selling Udacity?
    Udacity has demonstrated that they can provide a platform to offer some free and paid courses. Courses are developed by university teachers or university educated trainers.

    Something about your comments tells me that you are offering an ad hominem to try and justify not countering my previous post content. I really hope this is not what you got from a MOOC!!

  • http://FreedomFiles.Info/ FactsNotFallacies

    I sure *wish* I could get paid to point out the obvious. :-)

    “Courses are developed by university teachers or university educated trainers.”

    Even if that were 100% accurate, it’s circular reasoning to claim that they cannot perform the same functions independent of universities.

    I did counter your previous comment. You have relied exclusively on circular reasoning to claim that no post-secondary training can possibly exist without the bloated higher-ed system we have now.

  • John

    “Even if that were 100% accurate, it’s circular reasoning to claim that
    they cannot perform the same functions independent of universities.”

    You were the one claiming that they do already when you wrote =
    “As sites like Udacity have demonstrated, MOOC’s do not need to rely on existing universities to be of use to people in the job market.” =

    Therefore, you have the burden of proof/evidence. You must be new to critical thinking because your post is full of dichotomies and informal logical fallacies. You are the one that needs to demonstrate/argue that your Udacity or any other MOOC based platform “… need not depend on present academia” because it is YOUR CLAIM.

    Your last comment is littered with an assertion fallacy. Repeating it is not living up to your burden of proof, it is highlighting your ignoramus.

    My prediction would be that you must have taken one of these “primitive freshman” university developed paid uncredited MOOC courses because you are clearly rejecting logic in favor of your false beliefs.

    You do realize that MOOC courses are on entry level university-level subject matters from university faculties. Or suppose to be, right?
    Udacity does not offer anything new of different than most other universities. In fact, Udacity only remove the social real world interaction with teachers & fellow students and then charge for it – Udacity is selling what it calls a “course experience” version of all classes @~$150/month. Therefore Udacity does not provide free MOOCs at all, nor do they allow their MOOC’s to be freely distributed for re-useit, they merely provide a a platform and charge for it. The history of MOOCs far pre-dates the Udacity, edX and Coursera platforms. These 3 companies has to work hard to attract students and Coursera and edX charges money for certificates for their courses (like universities). Udacity ONLY has 38 active courses in its catalog – so pontificating that Udacity is better than universities is living in denialism cookoo land. And the irony is that visiting university teachers and a some industry people (that are university educated) work with Udacity to create the MOOC content! The courses are mostly “freshman year” courses, and very few, if any post grad or 3rd year courses.

    MOOC’s are dependent on present academics and on platform provides that are after YOUR money – Udacity and the likes have demonstrated this clearly.

    I think the conman has sold poo to the fool in this 21st century masquerading it a new and shiny gold. Which one is you – conman or fool? So far all you provided was FallaciesNotFacts. You can your handle mixed up due to a broken reason filter that lets the rubbish get through. You probably adopted your reason filter and you or the adopted filter has been install for so long you do not even realize it is broken. That is ok, but it should give you an agtung pause if you are serious about the foundations of your false beliefs.

  • John

    If no one is advertising a free elite MBA, why did you write an aticle titled “She’s Doing An Elite MBA For Under
    $1,000″ and an opening paragraph “will earn her MBA in three years for
    less than $1,000″?
    Why would Laurie’s website read: www [dot] nopaymba [dot] com. and she posts repeated
    responses here defending it mentioning words such as “No-Pay MBA”?
    Why are you refusing to show my posts that I respond to you? Are you trying to deny objective facts by silencing my content?

  • John

    “Even if that were 100% accurate, it’s circular reasoning to claim that
    they cannot perform the same functions independent of universities.”

    You were the one claiming that they do already when you wrote =
    “As sites like Udacity have demonstrated, MOOC’s do not need to rely on existing universities to be of use to people in the job market.” =

    Therefore, you have the burden of proof/evidence. You must be new to critical thinking because your post is full of dichotomies and informal logical fallacies. You are the one that needs to demonstrate/argue that your Udacity or any other MOOC based platform “… need not depend on present academia” because it is YOUR CLAIM.

    Your last comment is littered with an assertion fallacy. Repeating it is not living up to your burden of proof, it is highlighting your ignoramus.

    My prediction would be that you must have taken one of these “primitive freshman” university developed paid uncredited MOOC courses because you are clearly rejecting logic in favor of your false beliefs.

    You do realize that MOOC courses are on entry level university-level subject matters from university faculties. Or suppose to be, right?
    Udacity does not offer anything new of different than most other universities.
    In fact, Udacity only remove the social real world interaction with
    teachers & fellow students and then charge for it – Udacity is
    selling what it calls a “course experience” version of all classes
    @~$150/month. Therefore Udacity does not provide free MOOCs at all, nor do they allow their MOOC’s to be freely distributed for re-useit, they merely provide a a platform and charge for it. The history of MOOCs far pre-dates the Udacity, edX and Coursera platforms. These 3 companies has to work hard to attract students and Coursera and edX charges money for certificates for their courses (like universities). Udacity ONLY has 38 active courses in its catalog – so pontificating that Udacity is better than universities is living in denialism cookoo land. And the irony is that visiting university teachers and a some industry people (that are university educated) work with Udacity to create the MOOC content! The courses are mostly “freshman year” courses, and very few, if any post grad or 3rd year courses.

    MOOC’s are dependent on present academics and on platform provides that are after YOUR money – Udacity and the likes have demonstrated this clearly.

    I think the conman has sold poo to the fool in this 21st century masquerading it a new and shiny gold. Which one is you – conman or fool? So far all you provided was FallaciesNotFacts. You can your handle mixed up due to a broken reason filter that lets the rubbish get through. You probably adopted your reason filter and you or the adopted filter has been install for so long you do not even realize it is broken. That is ok, but it should give you an agtung pause if you are serious about the foundations of your false beliefs.

    Want another go?

  • http://FreedomFiles.Info/ FactsNotFallacies

    “You were the one claiming that they do already when you wrote…”

    Which Udacity does demonstrate. There’s nothing they do that either isn’t or can’t be done independently from traditional universities.

    “You must be new to critical thinking because your post is full of dichotomies and informal logical fallacies.”

    Such as?

    “You are the one that needs to demonstrate/argue that your Udacity or any other MOOC based platform “… need not depend on present academia” because it is YOUR CLAIM.”

    And it’s YOUR claim that colleges are entirely necessary to do everything they are doing. All you have you do is give an example of a service they currently provide that would collapse in the absence of university influence.

    “Your last comment is littered with an assertion fallacy. Repeating it is not living up to your burden of proof, it is highlighting your ignoramus.”

    And that comment is entirely a straw man laced with an ad hominem. Engaging in that is not making you any more persuasive. Name one thing Udacity does that MUST depend on a university institution in some way. So far all their Nano degrees will capable of being done without them so I don’t see why anyone should assume universities are critical to make a MOOC work.

    “My prediction would be that you must have taken one of these “primitive freshman” university developed paid uncredited MOOC courses because you are clearly rejecting logic in favor of your false beliefs.”

    Well you’ve predicted wrong. Currently I have gone for my Comptia A+, Network+, Security+, and GSEC certifications. All taken without the need for any traditional institution of higher education.

    So yes, with my positive experience with those I am a little biased towards the idea that college is the *ONLY* way to train students for practical skills after they’ve completed high school. MOOCs are no different, the upcoming Nanodegrees are direct evidence of this.

    “You do realize that MOOC courses are on entry level university-level subject matters from university faculties. Or suppose to be, right?”

    Not anymore. I’ll mention the Nanodegrees as much as necessary to drive this point home.

    In fact, that’s the only example I need to rebut what you said in the rest of that paragraph.

    “MOOC’s are dependent on present academics and on platform provides that are after YOUR money – Udacity and the likes have demonstrated this clearly.”

    Get with the times man. From the recent NYT piece on Nanodegrees:

  • John

    —“Which Udacity does demonstrate. There’s nothing they do that either
    isn’t or can’t be done independently from traditional universities.”—–

    Repeating your assertion fallacy with circular reasoning is merely begging the question.
    You need to back up your claim that Udacity MOOC’s do not need to rely on existing universities. That would be hard for you since Udacity was founded by the Stanford professor and former Google engineering whiz Sebastian Thrun. But please keep on digging your hole deeper. It is your hole, a whole round one it seems.

    You wrote:
    —- “And it’s YOUR claim that colleges are entirely necessary to do everything they are doing.” —–

    I find it incredible when people claim to know my beliefs without me stating it. How do you do this? Trying to shift the burden using ropes made of assertion fallacies pained in false beliefs must be stifling for you. How do you do it is beyond me!

    ——-“All you have you do is give an example of a service they currently
    provide that would collapse in the absence of university influence.” —

    But I have, you chose to ignore it. Besides, it is not my claim, but yours, even-though I have shown that your absurd claim is grounded in wishful thinking already. You missed it, and still do. Oh, the irony!

    —–“Name one thing Udacity does that MUST depend on a university institution in some way.” —–

    Sure, easy: The university model that you so despise. But wait, here is more and some I already mentioned:
    -Its founder’s university level education.
    -Money (operational costs), not all of Udacity’s MOOC’s or platforms are free.
    -University educated teachers and university educated industry trainers for setting up & building the courses.
    -Students have no real life interaction with other students or the lecturer.
    -No real industry accepted accreditation. Even Nanodegrees are done WITH OTHER COMPANIES.
    -The courses itself needs to be comparative (in name and content and lecturer proficiency) to university courses or else they are useless.
    -Want more? Ironically you can not even live up to the burden of your claim, yet it is easy for me to show your claim patently absurdly easily ridiculously false. And you do not even get it!

    Companies like Udacity is just there to ride the wave of money in education.

    —-“So yes, with my positive experience with those I am a little biased
    towards the idea that college is the *ONLY* way to train students for
    practical skills after they’ve completed high school. MOOCs are no
    different, the upcoming Nanodegrees are direct evidence of this.”—-

    Changing your tune now? Interesting dichotomy or is that a full cognitive dissonance?
    Now that you can not live up to your burden of evidence you are confusing information with evidence. Udacity’s Nanodegrees is evidence that it needs universities and their accreditation. Something that you claim is not needed. Please stop rejecting logic in favor of your absurd false beliefs.

    —–“Not anymore. I’ll mention the Nanodegrees as much as necessary to drive this point home”——

    Claims Claims. More claims from you with no substance. Are you for real?

    The only thing that your NYT piece says is that you are wrong. It says clearly “it’s like a university”, but you deny this by claiming “… need not depend on present academia”.

    Your own evidence that you think supports your claim is actually saying exactly the opposite.

    Please start evidencing your claims or I stop replying. Your choice.

  • John

    Why would a Philosorcerer acknowledge anything outside the all encompassing Philononsense is astonishing. If that point is wrong then it renders itself accurate.

    Welcome to the real world.

  • John

    MOOCs are really freshman entry level courses.
    MOOCs remove the social real world interaction with teachers & fellow students and then charge for it if you want it.
    There are very few MOOC courses available – you need to assemble them self to make up a full 3 year course.
    You do not get any accreditation, no degree, so who will acknowledge you so called studies?
    There is hardly any homework for MOOC courses.
    There is hardly any exams for MOOC courses – multiple choice comes to mind and take it as often as you like till it says pass. Oh dear.

    You mas as well buy a had copy book on the subject you are interested in and then read the book. MOOC differs in that – In stead of you reading the book, MOOC presents a person on a video reading it for you. This is nothing new, no need to get all excited. It’s for the lazy person, and it’s an opportunity for companies to make money off the lazy person. The irony is that the lazy person needs to find the appropriate MOOC course and then also convince industry that says MOOCs courses are worth anything and that it was really completed. Seems like the only good that comes form MOOC is that is makes the lazy person work, and makes money for the company that hosts the MOOC platform.

    This ludicrousness is ridiculous.

  • Hemant Sibal

    I’d be interested in joining a forum and I have been tinkering with this idea for a while now.

Partner Sites: C-Change Media | Poets & Quants for Execs | Tipping the Scales | Poets & Quants for Undergrads