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如何免费上顶尖商学院?

2014-01-16    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

感谢大规模开放式在线课程的流行,有志之士现在不用参加GMAT考试、不用辞职、不用交学费,就能参加沃顿和斯坦福等顶尖商学院提供的免费在线课程,攻读MBA,免费获得顶尖商学院的优质教育。

So you want an MBA, but you can't afford to take two years off and invest upwards of a quarter of a million on tuition, books, living expenses, and lost wages?

如果想要一个MBA学位,但你耽搁不起两年的光阴,也无力承受高达超过25万美元的学费、书本费、生活费,以及工资损失,怎么办?

Boy, do I have a proposition for you.

少年,请容许我给你出个主意。

Now, it's a little unconventional. And it'll require a load of self-discipline. When it's over, you'll have an Ivy League education on your resume. And it won't cost you a cent.

听好了,这个方案有点不落窠臼,它要求你具备很强的自律性。一切结束后,你就可以在你的简历中骄傲地写上接受过常青藤院校教育的经历。而且,它不会花费你一分钱。

Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is. But I got your attention. And that's one of the first things you learn in a foundational marketing class. And one of the world's best business schools -- Wharton -- offers one of those for free through a MOOC.

听起来好得令人难以置信?也许是。但我已经引起了你的注意。这是你在一节基础营销班上最先学到的知识之一。沃顿(Wharton),世界上最好的商学院之一,通过MOOC免费提供这些课程。

MOOCs -- an acronym for massive open online courses -- are courses that can be accessed globally over the Internet. Thanks to their flexibility, students covet them.

MOOC是“大规模开放式在线课程”的英文首字母缩写,意指可以在全球各地通过互联网访问的课程。拜其灵活性所赐,广大学子都对它垂涎三尺。

It can be hard to describe what a MOOC is. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, you "know it when you see it." Most MOOCs rely on set start and end dates, though a few are self-paced. They can be scaled to accommodate tens-of-thousands or just a select community. Occasionally, students can earn grades and college credit through MOOCs. Mostly, though, students receive a certificate of completion.

很难用言语来描述MOOC究竟是什么模样。套用大法官波特•斯图尔特的话说就是,“看到它时,你就知道了。”大多数MOOC依靠设置好的开始和结束日期,但也有少数由学生自定进程。它容纳学生的规模既可扩展至数万名,也可以是一个条件苛刻的小规模社区。学生们偶尔可以通过MOOC获得成绩和大学学分,但在大多数情况下,他们最终会收到一张结业证书。

Tests can be proctored, but many MOOCs rely on the honor system. Textbooks are often optional (though some courses come with eBooks and downloadable software). Although professors deliver content through videos and PowerPoint in MOOCs, many engage with students on message boards in realtime (and even keep office hours for online students). Although MOOCs are grounded in distance education, many students form regionally based online communities.

考试可以在监督下进行,但许多MOOC依靠信用制度。教科书往往是非强制性的(虽然一些课程配备了电子图书和供下载的软件)。尽管MOOC的教授主要通过视频和PPT文件授课,但许多教授也在留言板上跟学生实时互动,甚至还为在线学生专门留出了一部分上班时间。尽管MOOC以远程教育为基础,但许多学生组成了以地区为基础的在线社区。

Still, there is one characteristic that marks all MOOCs: They are available to anyone. And that's why they're booming. Sure, many MOOCs are free. But they're also drawing millions of students, potential future customers for universities. That's why platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity are partnering with schools to house content. For example, edX started as a consortium between Harvard and MIT -- and has since added the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas to its membership (along with recently joining forces with Google (GOOG)). Coursera was launched by Stanford professors and offers courses from the likes of Wharton, Columbia, and Yale.

不过,所有MOOC都具备一个显著特征:面向所有人。这正是它们如此红火的原因所在。诚然,许多MOOC都是免费的,但它们正在吸引数以百万计的学生,这些学生恰恰是高等院校未来的潜在客户。这就是为什么课程时代( Coursera)、edX和Udacity等平台正在与大学开展内容合作。比如,edX最初与哈佛大学(Harvard)和麻省理工学院(MIT)结盟,后来又增加了加州大学伯克利分校(University of California at Berkeley)和德克萨斯大学(University of Texas),谷歌公司(Google)最近也加入了这个联盟。课程时代由斯坦福大学(Stanford)的教授发起,提供来自沃顿、哥伦比亚(Columbia)和耶鲁(Yale)等大学的课程。

That raises the question: With so much content available for free, do students even need to enroll in college anymore? MOOCs have democratized education globally (provided you have an Internet connection). Could students treat education like IKEA furniture?

这种局面引发了一个问题:既然这些平台免费提供这么多优质内容,学生们还有必要进入大学学习吗?MOOC促进了全球的教育民主化进程(只要你连接上了互联网)。学生可以像对待宜家( IKEA)家具那样对待教育吗?

Take business school education. For decades, entrepreneurs have counseled professionals to find a mentor and earn your MBA in the "school of hard knocks." Sounds tempting, but knowledge is power. And it's very costly to make those same fundamental mistakes in launching a business. So ask yourself these questions: What if these would-be MBA candidates could review course catalogs and identify foundational courses and electives that would fill their knowledge gaps? What if they could use this research to construct a learning plan that would build their knowledge, step-by-step, like a normal curriculum? And what if they could locate these courses on MOOC platforms like Coursera and edX?

就以商学院教育为例。几十年来,企业家一直劝告专业人士寻找一位导师,在一所“需要经历千锤百炼的学校”攻读MBA学位。听起来很诱人,但知识就是力量。如果你在创业时犯了那些相同的根本性错误,你就一定会付出惨重的代价。所以请问自己这些问题:如果这些潜在的MBA候选人能够审视课程目录,同时确定有助于填补自身知识漏洞的基础课程和选修课程,如果他们能够利用这种研究来构建一个学习计划,从而像一个正常的课程体系那样,一步步地建立起自己的知识体系,如果他们能够在类似课程时代和edX这样的MOOC平台上找到这些课程,那将会怎么样?

It's a tempting proposition. Imagine taking two MOOCs every eight weeks. You could theoretically finish your MBA in the same time it takes to complete a traditional program. And you can find much of the content covered in an MBA curriculum online at little to no cost.

这是一个诱人的提议。试想一下,如果你每8周参加两个MOOC课程,理论上你可以使用与完成传统项目相同的时间,完成你的MBA学业。你几乎无需花费任何代价,就可以在网上找到MBA课程要求的很多内容。

Even David Wilson, the outgoing chief executive of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT test, says it may well be possible. "The next MBA degree may not be a degree but a portfolio of certificates," says Wilson. "The market will determine the worth of it."

甚至连即将离任的研究生入学管理委员会(Graduate Management Admission Council,GMAT考试主管机构)首席执行官大卫•威尔逊也认为,这一幕很有可能。“下一代的MBA学位可能不是一个学位,而是一组证书,”威尔逊说。“市场将决定它的价值。”

You can now take the foundational MBA curriculum from leading institutions for free. And that doesn't count the dozens of elective courses available in areas like finance, marketing, and sustainability (far more electives, in fact, than would be available at an expensive executive MBA program). So is this worth considering?

你现在可以免费参加顶尖院校提供的基础性MBA课程。这还不包括几十个其他领域的选修课程,比如金融、市场营销和可持续发展(在线免费的选修课其实要比一个昂贵的在职MBA项目传授的内容多得多)。那么,这是否值得考虑?

Let's take a look at the advantages (besides not paying tuition). Face it: No one cares where you earned a degree once you get your foot in the door and prove yourself. Completing your MBA requirements via MOOCs could show employers that you're a disciplined, forward-thinking first adopter who has the self-control to be trusted to work on your own. With MOOC drop-out rates hovering around 90%, your approach would also demonstrate that you possess the grit to survive difficult circumstances.

让我们来看看优势(除了不支付学费)。请直面现实:一旦你进入职场,并证明了自身价值,没有人在乎你是在哪里获得的学位。通过MOOC完成MBA学位能够向雇主显示,你是一位颇具自律性、思维超前、敢于率先尝试新事物的人,你拥有值得信赖的自我控制力,完全可以独当一面。MOOC课程的辍学率徘徊在90%左右,而你竟然能够善始善终,这也充分证明你具备在艰难环境下生存的韧性。

And disregard that quaint notion that MOOCs are watered down curriculum. Leading institutions are using their teaching and research stars -- not adjuncts or TAs -- in their MOOCs. At Yale, Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller will lead a MOOC on financial markets in February. Similarly, Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs, who moonlights as a special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is holding a MOOC on sustainability beginning in January.

请无视那些声称MOOC正在降低课程要求的古怪想法。顶尖商学院正在安排教学和科研明星(而不是兼职教授或助教)参与MOOC课程。在耶鲁大学,诺贝尔经济学奖得主罗伯特•希勒将在来年1月份负责一个关于金融市场的MOOC课程。与之类似,哥伦比亚大学教授,联合国秘书长潘基文特别顾问杰弗里•萨克斯即将主持一个计划于1月份开始的可持续发展MOOC课程。

Why? For one, the best teachers are usually the most innovative and passionate faculty members. And MOOCs are the new frontier in education. They bring together thousands of students from around the world -- more students than professors might reach in years of teaching. And MOOCs are still in their infancy with plenty of room for growth. Why wouldn't a forward-thinking professor not want to be part of such a trend? What's more, institutions realize that MOOCs are a way to show their best face to the world. They are a vehicle to build their brands and attract students. As a result, schools are taking extra pains to make sure these courses work. Bottom line: You will probably receive higher quality instruction on a MOOC than in a classroom environment. And that gives you another advantage over your brick-and-mortar peers.

为什么呢?其一,最好的老师通常也是最具创新性、最富激情的老师。MOOC恰恰是教育的新前沿,来自世界各地的数千名学生通过这个平台聚集在一起——往往超过教授在多年执教生涯中可能能够接触到的学生总数。MOOC仍处于起步阶段,具有充分的增长空间。一位有远见的教授难道愿意放弃这样一个躬逢其盛的机会么?更重要的是,这些高校意识到,MOOC是一个向世界展现自己最好一面的途径,是一个打造自身品牌,从而吸引学生的媒介。因此,这些学校正在不遗余力地确保自己的课程能够取得预期的效果。总而言之,你在MOOC上或许将接受比教室环境下品质更高的指导。这是相对于那些坐在实体课堂听课的同学,你将获得的另一个优势。

Another benefit? You can enjoy all of these benefits without quitting your job, losing two years of work experience, and shelling out six figures for tuition. In fact, you won't even need to study for your GMAT, pony up for an MBA admissions consultant, or face those daunting odds of getting into a top 10 business school.

还有别的好处吗?有。你可以在无需辞职、无需失去两年的工作经验、无需支付高达六位数学费的情况下,获得所有这些好处。事实上,你甚至没必要死磕GMAT考试,聘请一位MBA入学顾问,也不必胆战心惊地计算被排名前10的商学院录取的几率。

To be sure, there are drawbacks. You won't be able to flaunt your GPA. If you struggle with English, you won't find many courses with foreign language subtitles on Coursera or edX. Despite message boards and interactive discussions, MOOCs still lack that face-to-face give-and-take that facilitates learning, particularly when case studies are involved. In a class of hundreds (or thousands), you'll probably receive little personal attention or support. And just being on your own is difficult. It takes significant drive to complete assignments and tests. Without structure, it is easy to lose interest, particularly when free classes mean you have no skin in the game. What's more, MOOCs put you at the mercy of technology. And, despite their earnest efforts, professors are still adapting to teaching out of a studio.

当然,参加MOOC课程也有缺点。你将没有机会炫耀你的平均绩点(GPA)。如果你的英语不够好,你就无法参与课程时代和edX提供的许多带有外语字幕的课程。尽管有留言板和交互式讨论,但MOOC平台依然缺乏那种有利于学习的面对面互动,尤其是涉及到案例研究的时候。在一个数百、甚至数千人的课堂上,犹如沧海一粟的你或许得不到任何关注或支持。仅仅一个人学习,这本身就是一件难事。完成相关作业和测试需要足够的驱动力。由于没有约束机制,你很容易失去兴趣,特别是当免费课程意味着你没有切身利益参与其中的时候。此外,MOOC会让你陷入任凭技术摆布的境地。尽管教授们怀抱满腔热忱,但他们依然在适应录影棚的上课环境。

Most important, MOOCs can't deliver the real draws of business school: The network and internship. Theoretically, MOOCs can give you the tools to run circles around your more pedigreed peers. But their internship opportunities and alumni network will give them a huge head start (even if you keep working). Fair or not, degrees matter. Without certification from a renowned educational brand, few employers will trust that you've mastered advanced coursework.

最重要的是,MOOC无法提供商学院真正吸引人的东西:人际关系网络和实习机会。从理论上讲,MOOC可以给你一些工具,赶超那些人脉更深厚的同学。但说句老实话,他们的实习机会和校友网络将为他们提供一个极好的开端(即使你不断努力,也恐怕望尘莫及)。此外,无论公平与否,学位依然很重要。如果你没有获得一家知名教育品牌的认证,很少有雇主相信你已经掌握了先进的课程。

So should you take the plunge? That's up to you. But consider this: In 2014, Harvard will join Wharton in making foundational MBA courses available online. With that, you can expect a MOOC arms race among the top business schools.

那么,你究竟应不应该冒险尝试一下呢?这取决于你自己。但请参考下面这则消息:2014年,哈佛大学将加入沃顿商学院的行列,准备在线提供基础性MBA课程。有鉴于此,顶尖商学院之间的MOOC军备竞赛预计将隆重上演。

That said, here's a word of warning: MOOCs won't stay free forever. Sure, top institutions are building their brands by giving students a taste of their content. Eventually, they'll need to tie their open source ideals to a revenue stream. Otherwise, MOOCs could potentially disrupt and cannibalize their existing businesses.

尽管如此,还是需要提醒你一下:MOOC不会永远免费。没错,顶尖商学院正在给予学生机会,领略自己课程的风采,以打造学校的自身品牌。最终,它们需要把各自的开源理想与收入流联系在一起。否则的话,MOOC有可能破坏和蚕食它们现有的业务。

By giving content away for free, educators have opened the same Pandora's Box that media outlets did nearly 20 years ago. Customers began to expect free content. And it resulted in a consolidation and decentralization of that market. A decade from now, academics may view the present as the heyday of MOOCs. To continue this model, educators will eventually need to charge for the content or reduce access or quality.

就像媒体在近20年前所做的那样,通过免费奉送内容,教育工作者已经打开了潘多拉魔盒。客户开始期待免费的内容。它导致这一市场进一步整合和分化。10年后,学者们或许会把目前视为MOOC的鼎盛时期。为了延续这种模式,教育工作者最终将需要为内容收费,减少课程的访问时间或质量。

So if you're going to enroll in a MOOC, do it now. Paywalls and restrictions are soon to come.

所以,如果你打算参加MOOC课程,事不宜迟,现在就报名吧。付费墙和种种限制估计很快就要来了。(fortunechina)



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