- Harvard’s business school on Tuesday rebranded its online platform, HBX, as Harvard Business School Online.
- The name change, and Harvard’s willingness to lend its name to the platform, signals that online learning is entering the mainstream.
- Harvard Business School’s dean was initially sceptical of online education but has since said he’s gained a “slow acceptance” of it.
Harvard University’s business school changed the name of its online-learning platform on Tuesday. And though it may seem like just a small tweak, it could signal a big change in online education.
The school announced that HBX, the online platform launched in 2014, had been rebranded as Harvard Business School Online.
Harvard Business School’s willingness to lend its name to the platform suggests that online learning has entered the mainstream and that administrators’ initial scepticism about the program has been overcome. Nitin Nohria, the dean of Harvard Business School, said in 2010 that the school would never enter the arena of online education in his lifetime – since then, he’s gained a “slow acceptance” of it.
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“Harvard Business School Online has allowed us to extend the reach of the school to people wherever they are in the world,” Nohria said in a statement. “Through this innovation we have brought much of what is special about the HBS experience to life online, helping us to achieve our educational mission in an entirely new medium.”
Since its launch, the online platform has served more than 33,000 students, most of whom participated in the pre-MBA Credential of Readiness, or CORE, program. The platform also offers certificates in finance, accounting, and other subjects. Courses last four to 12 weeks and cost $US950 to $US4,500.
The platform’s original name of HBX aligned itself with other X-branded online-course providers such as EdX and MITx, an approach that Inside Higher Ed described as “conservative.” But Tuesday’s rebrand, linking the online platform with Harvard Business School’s name, suggests “that online education has well and truly arrived,” said Joshua Kim, an Inside Higher Ed blogger.
Students of Harvard’s online business classes are likely to be satisfied with the change as well. A survey of nearly 1,000 students by the market research firm City Square Associates cited by Inside Higher Ed found that about 80% said that taking a Harvard business course online improved their professional lives for the better, and about 25% said they earned a promotion or title change after taking a course.