IE Business School Online Masters
Patrick Engelhardt
May 10, 2009

Hello everyone,

As my colleague Julian already mentioned, we are just about to finish our first online period in the IXMBA. So I would like to make a few comments and reflexions about the online classroom, as it constitutes the main part of the program. For the 7 main courses we had during the past 6 months, there were 55 online sessions in total. Every student is supposed to make between 3 and 5 postings a week, answering questions from the professor and commenting answers from his fellow students.

I just finished counting, this made us to read 9871 !!! postings in total for the first part. May sound crazy, yes, sometimes it is, but most of the time it is great fun and you learn a lot from your colleagues.

Did I read all of them? Of course yes … let’s be honest … no surely I missed a few. Sometimes you keep a few messages to read on the weekend, well wishful thinking, you are already engaged in the homework for the next session and you are no longer able to consider them.

What is important about class discussion from my experience? Never start late, if you enter the blackboard only on Thursday, (online sessions generally are open between Tuesday and Friday),  you are lost. You have to catch up reading a few hundred postings and unless you don’t show up at work that day, that’s not possible. I did it a few times, and believe me, you have a nicer sleep during the whole week when you start making a few postings on the first day.

We were told to respect a 5 lines limit for each posting, this is quite important, remember 9871 contributions to read and in some cases to comment, nobody wants to read half a page. Pictures and cartoons are great (thanks Jorge!), small fonts or large fonts are not very sexy as you get even more tired reading the postings, so after some months you make the decision to not read them at all.

What is amazing about the virtual classroom is that while reading the postings you imagine the professor and the students. As we saw each other during 2 weeks in Madrid, we know what we look like and how we speak, so you have that picture in your mind while following the class discussions.

The most important thing about a virtual class is the feedback. It is really essential to take reference to your colleagues in your postings, they will appreciate. Imagine a real class room, you make a comment, the professor looks at you, turns around, doesn’t say anything and moves forward, no reaction either from the other students, well I would feel awkward. The same applies to the virtual world; it is very stimulating and motivating to get feedback. This is also an advice I would give to the professors (if I may ;-)), the IXMBA is a tough and long road, a bit like a marathon in the Alps, and getting at various times some appropriate feedback, is a bit like passing a cheering point in a marathon, it gives you this little, yet so important energy push.

So, that’s all for now out of the virtual world, my next post will be about the real Shanghai in a few weeks.

Patrick


1 Comment

Hello everybody,

I am Portuguese but actually living in Madrid. I am a GMBA student in the same intake as Juan Gutierrez and Virginia Garcia and the other amazing people already mentioned on this blog Hiro, Lena and Borja. 🙂

Once upon a time when I was returning from Greece where was lost my luggage (this is another story :-)-) I arrived late (upss!!:-)) to my first presencial class of the GMBA in Madrid in the CID context. The class was about Leadership. What a great example of leadership – I thought – arriving late in the first day 🙂 – . But well was not my fault…what I want to tell is what a warm reception my fellows did when we just met each other via online.
The CIDs one component of the MBA are so well planned in the educational, social and professional plan that boosts inside of us a sense of a strong community and friendship. As times goes by people get affectionate to each other and this is reflected during the GMBA classes when urgent collaboration and stressful moments comes trough. Even if we do not belong to the same group we help each other. We listen the personal problems and try to give emotional comfort in several personal areas. We share also very good moments during the GMBA not just problems: MBA´s newborns we have had a lot we are a very fertile class :-), beautiful love stories that comes into the air among class mates, marriages… We all share this moments…The online MBA does not convert the human relationships in colder relationships. We learn how to be competitive without feeling anxious to overpass the others with dirty “games”. We all are working hard, we all play hard, and as always some are better than others and this is faced as a positive sign because we all learn with each other and accept this is a very good tool to face the world outside to face our limitations and accept the others with no need to feel bad in a extreme and hard competitive environment. I am saying common sense things but many times very difficult to apply as many people say. The GMBA achieves an amazing goal besides the virtual design, it train us and more than training test our personality in a stressful environment to work inside of the ethical limits that characterizes the future IE MBAs. The system is implemented in order to limit many variables that can stimulate people to go against the rules. The GMBA program is designed specifically and accordingly to the way it must be thought in an online platform and its design is different when compared to a full time program. All of them has advantages and disadvantages, the options must be done accordingly to the personal and professional circumstances. Makes sense that different means of communications require a specific design and different methodologies to give the same inputs in a time record without losing efficacy.

Comment by Catia Cale — May 11, 2009 @ 1:50 am
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