Contributor Charles Choi
The online MBA program CEO of Sustainable Ethanol Technologies Julie Goodliffe took is supported by 2U, an educational technology company in Landover, MD, and from her point of view, one of its strengths was its support of a wide variety of learning styles.
“I learn best listening and recording for myself,” Goodliffe says. The videos the instructors recorded were ideal for her. “I could watch and listen to University of North Carolina professors teach whilst writing my own notes, pausing the video to collect my thoughts and record them better than possible in any in-person lecture, and digest the material.”
The synchronous sessions, where instructors and students interacted online in real-time, “were great, but were likely for a different type of learner than me,” Goodliffe says. “They allowed for human interaction and close-up student-teacher relationships, and also forced us to do the work. These sessions were necessary for learners who need instant feedback, in-person challenging, and questions answered.”
In addition, the extensive homework and casework of the programme was great for readers and book-learners, Goodliffe says, “and also reinforced the concepts for someone like me who might ignore such book work if not forced to do it. Those three aspects of every course in the programme – asynchronous videos, synchronous in-person sessions, and extensive book and case homework – seemed to encompass all educational needs.”
“An online programme that teaches solely through emails and text chats has no chance of educating someone like me,” Goodliffe added. “I need challenging material to watch and listen to. I need excellent professors to quickly move through material, illustrating concepts as they would in a lecture, demanding my attention and respect through obvious experience in the subject matter and in teaching it. MBA@UNC does that very well, and also addresses the needs of other types of learners.”