Published on 2012/08/03

Online MBAs Growing on the Backs of Non-Traditional Students

A recent survey released by the Canadian Virtual University—a group of 12 universities specializing in online education—reported that there were almost 200,000 registrations for online MBA courses in 2009-2010.

“It’s pretty much the talk of the town at every meeting,” Stephen Grundy, a board member of CVU and vice-president academic of Royal Roads University, told The Globe and Mail. “The trend is for schools to be moving in the direction of more online delivery, but carefully.”

Some of the most common challenges to the expansion of online degree programs center on skepticism of online education—especially from faculty—and the high attrition rates of online programs. However, the Executive Director of Laval University’s Faculty of Administrative Sciences said going online is not so much the goal as serving consumer needs.

“Going ‘distance education’ is not the objective,” he said. “The goal is to respond to the needs of students.”

Pedro Marquez, the dean of the Faculty of Management at Royal Roads University, told The Globe that well-structured learning environments will thrive, no matter their location.

“The key to successful online teaching is building a strong pedagogical model behind it.”

The model is certainly appealing to older students, who work while completing their education. Ranjan Bains, a 35-year old student with Athabasca University, studies between 20-25 hours a week while working.

“I wanted the flexibility of studying when I had the time,” Bains told The Globe.

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