“We are trying to scale up in a measured fashion,” explains Anand. “We don’t want to go to massive numbers very quickly. The summer cohort is when we expect larger numbers of students from colleges to take advantage of it. You want enough thickness on peer group conversations so that when someone poses a question it gets answered quickly and that requires a large cohort. But at the same time you don’t want a cohort that is so large it becomes impersonal. We believe that 500 is the right number, 300 to 500.”
PROGRAM IS BASED ON A CASE STUDY APPROACH TO LEARNING
Unlike many other online business courses, students must apply for admission to CORe and not everyone is invited to attend. CORe participants are graded in each course based on quizzes, their level of participation in class discussions, and a final three-hour, computer-based exam to be taken at a Pearson test center. Grades are based on “pass,” “honors,” or “high honors.” Students who have taken the program say it requires between 10 to 15 hours a week of work.
The program is largely taught through case studies of issues and challenges at such organizations as Amazon, PepsiCo, the New York Times, and the American Red Cross. But there also are lessons from managers at small, local companies, including the Bikram Yoga studio near campus. All of the courses are taught by tenured HBS faculty. Harvard awards a certificate of completion to each graduate and says it will maintain transcripts of the grades. Top performers receive an Honors or High Honors designation, similar to what Harvard MBAs get when they graduate from the school.