Georgetown MSF Uses Technology to Shape the Future of Classroom Learning
A new “Blended Classroom” allows students in the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business to participate either online or on-campus during weekly live class sessions.
While adding a weekly on-campus component to what started as an online program might seem counterintuitive, it is the beginning of what MSF Director Allan Eberhart sees as the shape of classrooms to come – an environment where students work independently through the “Anytime Media” platform, complete with animated lectures and searchable transcripts, and then gather in the Blended Classroom for case discussions where on-campus students fill the first three rows and the online students “sit” in the “fourth row” — a large video monitor that displays crisp, individual, real-time videos of up to 40 students on what the faculty call the ”Brady Bunch” screen.
Despite their geographic distance, students and professors interact as if they are right next to one another. The goal always has been to deliver the same high-quality educational experience for online students that is characteristic of all on-campus programs at the McDonough School of Business.
“Our program appeals to students who understand the importance of attending a program with high admission standards and a rigorous curriculum, but also need the flexibility to study online because of their work schedules or other demands in their lives,” said Eberhart, who also is a professor of finance.
Moving from an online to a blended format was not what Eberhart had in mind when the program launched two years ago.
“My colleagues and I would lead our MSFLive sessions from a small production room, only to find students logging in from the atrium of the business school building,” he said. “With the students showing such strong interest in being part of campus life, we decided to offer the flexibility to attend class either online or on-campus.”
That eventually led to the conversion of a conference room to the high-tech Blended Classroom in the McDonough School of Business’ Hariri Building.
“Our embrace of technology to deliver an education that is personal, with access to faculty and quality interactions with classmates, as well as flexible makes our program world-class and unlike any other top-tier MBA or MSF program.”
Students also meet in person during the program’s required on-campus weeklong residency early in their program. Before graduation, they travel as a group – most recently to South Africa – for an international consulting project as part of the school’s Global Business Experience.