The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), the first ‘African-born’ school to be triple accredited, is also the first South African business school to offer its MBA in realtime online. What this means is that the physical classroom is transferred to anywhere in the world. Students want the option to pursue an MBA at a reputable business school where they can learn anywhere and not be held back due to their location or work related travel commitments, says USB MBA programme head Martin Butler. He says that advanced technology will ensure that students from around the world can attend classes via live streaming and web-cams either on their laptop or smart phone and join fellow students attending the physical face-to-face in-classroom tuition to participate, raise insights and questions and contribute to group assignments.
“The new technology offers a richer student experience where they don’t simply consume content but interact, co-create and take responsibility for their learning irrespective of their location. This interaction also offers students
a new advanced technology skill set which they can apply in their own careers,” he says. Butler adds that blended learning should not be confused with online learning, which has been successfully implemented over a number of years. “Online offers a platform where the student learns in isolation at their own pace, mostly watching a video where they have the option to review tuition sessions at their own convenience. “USB’s new offering is synchronous
whereby the community of learners, collaborate at the same time when attending the classroom session online.
Our students meet for live sessions, either physically or via video streaming technology, all at the same time. We
call this a ‘glocal’ classroom since it’s simultaneously global and local.” Butler says that the wonderful thing
about the business school is that lecturers learn from the students as much as they learn from the lecturers
and using technology to engage is no different. Prof Piet Naudé, USB director, says an MBA is after all these years still a good qualification, because it is an ‘interesting form of knowledge advancement’.
“We have people from history, drama, accounting and medical backgrounds in our MBA classes. The reason why it
is still a good qualification is probably because it is the best general management orientated degree available,” he
says. And with the new real-time online MBA offering from USB, even more people will be able to gain access to this sought-after degree.
*USB was recently ranked the top school for the fifth consecutive year in the 2016 Professional Management Review (PMR.africa) annual survey of accredited business schools offering MBA and MBL degrees in South Africa.